Quality Control in Herbal Manufacturing
Some people have apparently read that
licorice root may be contraindicated in the treatment of cancer.
Chinese medicine uses small amounts of licorice root in nearly
every formula because of its natural cortisone-like effect.
This alleviates the odds of possible allergic reactions to
other herbs in the formula. Taking licorice root singly as
a supplement is not usually recommended unless that individual
has a specific need for concentrated amounts of licorice. Clinical
studies on licorice suggest that extremely high doses over
a period of several weeks are required before androgenic and
other symptoms appear.
It is important to mention this because
the Eclectic formula, Trifolium
Compound, contains licorice. This formula is virtually
identical to the Hoxsey Elixirex and to Dr. John Christopher's
Anti-Cancer Formula. Traditionally, this formula was prepared
as a syrup because the sweetness aids assimilation and tonifies
people who are weakened by disease or aging. Many people
with poor digestion do not assimilate herbs administered
in capsule or tableted form and some do not benefit as much
from teas as from syrups.
My own clinical uses of substitute products, i.e., red clover
formulas based on the original Eclectic preparation, is that
they were less effective when the same herbs were provided
in capsule form. This formula is probably the most strenuously
researched formula in American herbalism. For many decades,
there was jealous competition to acquire Harry Hoxsey's secret
cure for cancer. The AMA was the first to try to purchase the
formula and when Hoxsey failed to agree to their terms, the
AMA began the most vicious and personal assault on any individual
in medical history. Hoxsey was relentlessly persecuted; he
was arrested more than a hundred times, and his formula eventually
became a matter of court record. Only then did it become clear
that the formula was identical to that used by countless others.
Finally, the Office of Technology Assessments
hired a consultant, Patricia Ward Spain, to research the
formula. She reported that nine of the ten herbs in the formula
possessed anti-cancer effects. Her report is a matter of
Congressional Record and has been a main thrust for developing
the Office of Alternative Medicine and recently the most
welcome new funding.
This said, I would never claim that any
formula is a "cure" for cancer. All protocols,
whether allopathic or holistic, should properly be regarded
as treatments. Cure is a big word and implies that recurrence
and metastasis would never develop. In actuality, the value
of a treatment is generally measured in terms of years of
survival, not quality of life during those years nor cure.
In the opinion of most people, cure is rare. It occasionally
occurs but is almost always attended by the intangible suggestion
of "miracle." God cures, herbs alleviate symptoms.
For the record, the Planetary Formula now
sold by the name of "Red Clover Combination" used
to be sold as "River of Life." It is a different
traditional formula, more Thomsonian than Eclectic. There
are many herbalists producing and selling comparable blood
cleansing formulas, even chains of health food stores with
the classical name. When Michael Tierra took chaparral out
of River of Life, he changed the name of the formula to Red
Clover Combination. I feel this is somewhat misleading as
the formula is different from trifolium compounds, which
are also produced by many herbalists.
For the sake of clarity, let me say that the Planetary Formula
is an absolutely superb blood cleanser. I have used it extensively
for many years, both for myself and others. It will relieve
many of the symptoms of blood toxicity: anger, irritability,
redness, itching, and even the hazards associated with poisoningwhether
from venoms, die off, chemotherapy, or environmental causes.
Like most herbal medicines, Red Clover Combination is not
intended for permanent use. Unless there are new causes of
toxemia, the formula is generally only used for six months.
In acute cases, I have used as many as 72 tablets in a single
day and then reduced the dosage when the crisis began to
abate. The indications for this use would be gangrene or
venom. One person was spared an amputation after using Red
Clover Combination. He took six tablets every half hour while
being prepared for surgery. The surgery was canceled when
it became apparent that the herbs would work. Another person
was bitten by a brown recluse spider. The beginnings of radiating
purple lines appeared. She took 72 tablets on the first day,
then dropped to 36 on the second, then 24, then 12, and finally
6, the recommended dose.
Recommended doses are conservative. The manufacturing standard
(for herbal preparations) is basically that little or no
harm would stem from swallowing an entire bottle at one time.
In the case of Red Clover Combination, risks would be limited
primarily to bilious reactions. The formula stimulates the
liver so that the appetite could increase as might peristalsis.
In this regard, the formula can be used to purge the body
of toxic fire.
Red Clover Combination (RCC)
has a specific use for blood purification and is an ideal
formula to use periodically to cleanse the body of toxins.
Toxins are hot and the formula is cooling. It can be used
as a purificatory ritual once a year, preferably after summer
to rid the body of accumulated heat. It can also be used
following any specific exposure to toxins. If the level of
toxicity is extremely high, it can be used in combination
with Hepato-Pure (HP), another Planetary Formula. This is
a very intense liver dredger and the reason for combining
RCC with HP is to prevent reabsorption of toxins that are
dumped from the liver after taking HP. It can also be used
in combination with Women's Treasure (WT) when menstrual
periods are attended by clumping of the blood and darkness
of color. Again, these formulas are not intended for permanent
use. Most people can discontinue HP in 2-6 months and WT
in 2-4 months.
For the record, I have never suggested Hepato-Pure to anyone
without protecting the liver with milk thistle. All thistles
have liver protection benefits, but milk thistle is specific
for protecting the liver from damage caused by exposure to
chemicals, including carcinogens.
Now, back to the formula that triggered this rather long
Compound preparations are widely available. As noted,
I found the tableted and capsule forms difficult to assimilate.
To understand how and why this is, we have to consider two
points. First, there is the issue of what is called "digestive
power." Some people actually eliminate whole capsules
without any signs of their having passed all the way through
the gastrointestinal tract. This is a metabolic weakness,
one often linked to cancer as it relates to poor catabolic
functions. Second, there is the eternal question of "active
constituents." In scientific medicine, as opposed to
traditional medicine, it is important to identify the chemical
constituent that produces the desired effect. For instance,
is it an alkaloid, such as sanguinarin or hydrastin, or perhaps
a tannin or acid? If this constituent can be isolated, it
can be synthesized and sold for much more than the herb.
This is the basis of some chemotherapeutic drugs like vincristine
and vinblastine, cytotoxic agents derived from the Madagascar
To make a good herbal product, the manufacturing process
must address the active constituents and these must be soluble
using the method employed by the herbalist. In other words,
although there are clinical studies showing that
Venus fly trap is a potent anticancer herb, the studies
were done using sterile extracts and intravenous injections.
Nothing in the studies suggested that a capsule containing
the same herb would be effective.
So, if we need to avail ourselves of the active ingredients,
we need to know whether they are water or alcohol soluble
and how best to administer the herbs. That is issue number
one. Issue number two is how to make a safe product. According
to ancient herbal traditions, all herbs are synergistic.
They work best in combination with other herbs. Tibetans
go one step further. By clairvoyant observations dating back
at least 800 years, they found that the active ingredient
of all herbs is light. The manufacturing process must not
destroy this subtle and invisible lightor, just as importantly,
the other constituents that buffer the organs from damage.
This is a high standard for herbal practice. Since not many
herbalists have the particular clairvoyance needed to create
formulas, most rely on tradition and clinical observations.
They modify the formulas when they find a particular need
for such and great advances sometimes occur under these conditions.
My own Golden
Myrrical is one such formula, but it was not plucked
out of thin air. It was based on sound principles that endure
fashions in medicine.
The trifolium formulas are similar. There are the basic ingredients,
ones that include the crucial berberines. People used to
use barberry and now many prefer Oregon grape root. It is
substituted using time honored principles, including the
tenet that Nature is generous and provides many alternatives.
There are at least 2500 herbs that have been found useful
in treating cancer. Historically, some people added potassium
iodide to the herbal formula. Recently, people have used
Irish moss, alfalfa, or recommended supplemental amounts
of something like Lugol Solution.
If considering herbal products, do not neglect the sourcing
of herbs; methods of productions; and use. Some herbalists
use fresh herbs that are organically grown or wildcrafted.
My own experience with these products is that they are superior.
To tell you how serious the quality control issues are, I
will relate a true but uncomfortable story from my Clinic
days. We had a fairly good size herbal pharmacy, called Mountain
Medicines. We dated everything we received and rolled over
the bulk herbs every few months. We sold these at drastically
under our original cost to a local herb producer (whose herbs
I no longer use because I doubt the freshness because of
my own experiences.) In effect, the larger the producer,
the greater the risk that the herbs will be second or third
quality, even adulterated as with the hugely popular St.
John's Wort. Importers pour hypericin over any kind of cut
up herb and because lab tests will prove the presence of
the active constituent, the herb will be deemed to be authentic.
I am told, for instance, that almost all violet products
used in aromatherapy are actually made with spinachand
this is legal because they go to the perfumery industry and
from thence to aromatherapists and others whose intent is
to use real violets.
By knowing the grower, these tragic substitutions can be
averted. By using correct producing processes, which sometimes
include the need for both water and alcohol extraction, cheaper
and less effective shortcut products can be avoided.
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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000, 2001, 2005