Friday, December 07, 2007


Black Cohosh Stops Breast Cancer Growth

A new laboratory study, published in Phytomedicine, suggests that extracts from black cohosh, an herb most commonly used to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, may stop breast cancer cells in their tracks. This adds more evidence to a small but growing body of research suggesting that black cohosh could have a use in breast cancer prevention.Black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizome), is a perennial plant native to North America, is a member of the buttercup family. It has long been a popular alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in many countries. In the UK, 9 million days’ worth of black cohosh supplements were purchased in 2004.The inhibition of the growth of breast cancer cells was related to an induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis).
"These results corroborate the results of our previous studies indicating that the growth inhibitory effect of actein or an extract of black cohosh is associated with activation of specific stress response pathways and apoptosis," wrote the researchers, referring to their studies published earlier this year in Anticancer Research and the International Journal of Cancer.Although the results are promising, further research is needed to determine whether the herb can be effectively used as a breast cancer chemopreventive agent.
Sources: November 13, 2007
Phytomedicine October 31, 2007 [Epub Ahead of Print]
Anticancer Research March-April, 2007;27(2):697-712
International Journal of Cancer November 1, 2007;121(9):2073-83

The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History

If you’ve ever questioned whether your doctor really knows what he or she is talking about, these shocking medical practices of years gone by will give you some fodder for your suspicions.Although they may sound unbelievable, these medically approved remedies were at one time all the rage.
1. Children’s soothing syrups. Used for teething and nursing infants, and also to “cure colic, cramps, dysentery, canker sores and pain,” these syrups were “soothing” because they contained morphine, chloroform, codeine, heroin, opium and cannabis.
2. Mercury. This toxic metal that can cause heart and lung problems, psychotic reactions, delirium, tremors, chest pain and more, was used for centuries to treat everything from cuts to constipation.
3. Heroin. If you had a cough in the late 19th century, a dose of heroin would fix it. This now illegal, extremely addictive drug was originally developed and sold by Bayer … as a cough suppressant.
4. Lobotomies. During the first half of the 20th century, lobotomies were used to destroy the prefrontal cortex of the frontal lobe of your brain. (This is the area of your brain that controls thinking, personality traits and decision-making.) They were used for years to treat everything from schizophrenia to depression, anxiety and moodiness -- until it was discovered that it often caused mental retardation.
5. Hard-core diet remedies. In the 1950s and ‘60s, women took diet pills that were made of amphetamines to lose weight.Curious about the other five insane medical practices? The link below has the full list.

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