God, Hope & Helping Others
January 11, 2014 by Karen Sanders, staff writer
(NaturalHealth365) The statistics are grim. In 2013, the American Cancer Society expects over 1.6 million new cases of cancer in the United States with cancer deaths at around 580,000 Americans per year. The organization adds that breast cancer alone will strike roughly 1 out of 8 women – at some point in their life.
However, there is occasion for hope. Medical researchers, who continue to explore the potential of both pharmaceutical and herbal substances to prevent and treat cancer, report that extracts from the leaves of the ancient ginkgo biloba tree could serve as a valuable weapon against this devastating disease.
Ginkgo biloba is one of the best-selling – and most thoroughly-studied – herbal supplements in the world. It is a powerful antioxidant, and has antibacterial and antifungal effects as well. The University of Maryland Medical Center, which credits the herb with opening constricted blood vessels and helping to decrease the stickiness of blood platelets, reports that its neuroprotective effects may help it fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Herbalists and natural healers use ginkgo to improve memory, alleviate headaches, increase concentration, boost the immune system, detoxify the body and improve circulation.
Two of ginkgo biloba’s major constituents – its groups of terpenoids and flavonoids – have powerful antioxidant properties in their own right. Antioxidants scavenge destructive free radicals in the body, prevent damage to cell DNA, and can head off the oxidative damage that scientists believe contributes to the development of heart disease and cancer. The flavonoids in ginkgo biloba include quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamneten; catcehins — the same compounds that give green tea its healthful properties – are also present.
In addition, ginkgo biloba contains the steroid-like substances beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol, which are anti-inflammatory agents. Finally, ginkgo biloba contains condensed tannins known as proanthocyanidins. Animal studies have supported proanthocyanidins’ ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
In one well-known 1995 study, published in Radiation Research, ginkgo biloba extracts reduced clastogenic factors in the blood plasma of salvage personnel involved in cleanup after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Clastogenic factors are biomarkers of oxidative stress that appear in the blood of people who have been irradiated. After two months of treatment with ginkgo biloba extracts, there was regression or complete disappearance of the clastogenic factors in the subjects’ blood plasma.
Editor’s note: NaturalHealth365 continues to do extensive research on how to best protect ourselves in the ‘nuclear age’. Exposure to radiation is a serious health concern and we plan to reveal an exact protocol for preventing cellular damage – coming soon.
In a scientific review, published in 2003, in Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology, researchers noted that cell and animal studies have supported the ability of ginkgo biloba’s terpenoids and flavonoids to fight cancer due to their antioxidant properties and gene-regulating effects. They stated that one of ginkgo biloba’s terpenoids, ginkgolide B, inhibited the reproductive abilities of highly aggressive breast cancer cells.
In a study published, in 2006, in Oral Oncology, researchers found that ginkgo biloba extracts induced apoptosis – or cell suicide – in mouth cancer cells by activating a substance called caspase-3. Noting that apoptosis had been confirmed by DNA fragmentation, the team described ginkgo biloba as a possible chemopreventative agent.
In yet another study, a month of treatment with ginkgo biloba inhibited mucosal lesions in 30 patients with gastric cancer. After measurement of tumors with an electron gastroscope, it was found that the extracts reduced the area of the tumors by a dramatic 73 percent.
Additional studies have supported ginkgo biloba’s ability to combat a variety of other cancers, including ovarian cancers. However, more clinical research into ginkgo biloba’s chemopreventative effect is needed.
Ginkgo biloba is available in extracts standardized to 24 to 32 percent flavonoids – also called flavones glycosides – and 6 to 12 percent terpenoids, also known as triterpene lactoids. You can find ginkgo biloba capsules, tablets and tinctures at health food stores on online; you can also purchase dried ginkgo leaves and brew them into a tea.
Ginkgo biloba can interact with prescription medications; naturally, you should check with your doctor before using it, especially if you take anticoagulant medications. Don’t use ginkgo biloba to treat cancer, unless you are under the supervision of a doctor. Ginkgo biloba side effects are uncommon, but can include nausea, headaches, dizziness and rash.
Ginkgo biloba can not only sharpen your concentration, improve your memory and elevate your mood – this detoxifying and beneficial herb may also hold the key to stopping cancer in its tracks