Wormwood Herb Cancer

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What is Wormwood?

Wormwood is an herb. The above-ground plant parts and oil are used for medicine.

Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating.

Wormwood oil is also used for digestive disorders, to increase sexual desire, and to stimulate the imagination.

Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counterirritant to reduce pain.

In manufacturing, wormwood oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. It is also used as an insecticide.

Wormwood is used in some alcoholic beverages. Vermouth, for example, is a wine beverage flavored with extracts of wormwood. Absinthe is another well-known alcoholic beverage made with wormwood. It is an emerald-green alcoholic drink that is prepared from wormwood oil, often along with other dried herbs such as anise and fennel. Absinthe was popularized by famous artists and writers such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Manet, van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway, and Oscar Wilde. It is now banned in many countries, including the U.S. But it is still allowed in European Union countries as long as the thujone content is less than 35 mg/kg. Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.

Wormwood Extract Kills Cancer Cells

Medieval as it sounds, scientists are testing a recipe of wormwood and iron on breast cancer cells, and so far the results are encouraging. In a new study, researchers report that artemesinin–a derivative of the wormwood plant–kills iron-enriched breast cancer cells but doesn’t harm many healthy ones. Artemesinin’s destructive properties are triggered by higher than normal levels of iron in cancer cells.

Many experiments have found that artemesinin turns deadly in the presence of iron. In Asia and Africa, artemesinin tablets are widely and, in many cases, successfully used to treat malaria, because the parasite has a high iron concentration. Cancer cells can also be rich in iron, as they often soak up the mineral to facilitate cell division. The cells bring in extra iron with the help of transferrin receptors, special receiving points that funnel the mineral into the cell. Although normal cells also have transferrin receptors, cancerous ones can have many more.

To test artemesinin’s effect on breast cancer cells, bioengineers Henry Lai and Narendra Singh of the University of Washington, Seattle, enriched segregated normal breast cells and radiation-resistant cancerous ones with holotransferrin, a compound normally found in the body that carries iron to the cells. Then the team dosed the cells with artemesinin. As the pair reports in the 16 November issue of Life Sciences, almost all the cancer cells exposed to holotransferrin and artemesinin died within 16 hours. The compounds killed only a few of the normal cells. Lai believes that because a breast cancer cell contains five to 15 more receptors than normal, it absorbs iron more readily and hence is more susceptible to artemesinin’s attack.

“This looks very promising,” says Gary Poser, an organic chemist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Still, he adds, “other researchers need to replicate these results.” The next step, says Poser, is to treat a mixture of normal and cancerous cells, instead of segregating the two. Lai and others are also interested in artemesinin’s effect on other cancers.

Wormwood is an herb. The above-ground plant parts and oil are used for medicine.

Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, depression, muscle pain, memory loss and worm infections; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating. Wormwood is used for Crohn’s disease and a kidney disorder called IgA nephropathy.

Wormwood oil is also used for digestive disorders, to increase sexual desire, and to stimulate the imagination.

Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for osteoarthritis (OA), and healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counterirritant to reduce pain.

In manufacturing, wormwood oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. It is also used as an insecticide.

Wormwood is used in some alcoholic beverages. Vermouth, for example, is a wine beverage flavored with extracts of wormwood. Absinthe is another well-known alcoholic beverage made with wormwood. It is an emerald-green alcoholic drink that is prepared from wormwood oil, often along with other dried herbs such as anise and fennel. Absinthe was popularized by famous artists and writers such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Manet, van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway, and Oscar Wilde. It is now banned in many countries, including the U.S. But it is still allowed in European Union countries as long as the thujone content is less than 35 mg/kg. Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.

Wormwood: The Parasite-Killing, Cancer-Fighting Super Herb

What do Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso all have in common aside from their incredible painting abilities? These three artists all shared a love of absinthe, a botanical spirit made from wormwood, anise and fennel.

Absinthe is currently illegal in the U.S. as well as many other countries, but it’s still available in Europe. You may have heard of wormwood because of its inclusion in this famous European beverage, but did you know that it also holds an ability to aid many common and serious health concerns?

It’s true. Wormwood is actually used to eliminate intestinal worms, especially roundworms and pinworms. This is exactly why it’s commonly recommended as part of a parasite cleanse.

Just how powerful is wormwood? Well, it’s owed thanks and praise for being the source of the key ingredient for the herbal drug artemisinin, which is touted as the most powerful anti-malarial on the market.

And it doesn’t stop there. Scientific research also shows that wormwood can even kills cancer cells. Wormwood tea can also be used to treat anorexia, insomnia, anemia, a lack of appetite, flatulence, stomach aches, jaundice and indigestion.

Wormwood herb is used in alcoholic beverages while the wormwood star is mentioned in the bible. Truly an intriguing plant to say the least, but can this herb really kill parasites and cancer? Studies say yes, and the positive medicinal effects keep on coming.

Of course, there is good reason for caution with wormwood products (like absinthe) as well, but once you learn about thujone, you’ll see why not all wormwood products are created equally.

What Is Wormwood?

What is wormwood exactly? Artemisia absinthium is an odorous, perennial that belongs to the Asteraceae or Compositae family, more commonly known as the daisy family. This artemisia plant releases an aromatic odor and has a spicy, bitter taste.

Many species of the artemisia family tend to have medicinal properties. It’s related to Artemisia vulgaris, or mugwort, another medicinal herb.

The wormwood plant is native to Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. Today, it also grows wild in the U.S., most commonly along roads or paths.

Also called shrub wormwood, Artemisia absinthium is a shrubby plant that typically grows to be one to three feet tall. It has gray-green or white stems covered by fine hairs and yellowish-green leaves that are hairy and silky. The leaves of the plant have glands that contain resinous particles where the natural insecticide is stored.

Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), also known as sweet annie, sweet sagewort, annual mugwort or annual wormwood, is a common type of wormwood native to temperate Asia but naturalized in parts of North America.

Wormwood can be used either fresh or dried. All the aerial portions (stem, leaves and flowers) of the plant have medicinal uses and wormwood tea is commonly consumed for a range of ailments.

The essential oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops by steam distillation. One study of the essential oil of Artemisia absinthium found that it contains at least 28 components representing 93.3 percent of the oil. The main components are β- pinene (23.8 percent) and β- thujone (18.6 percent).

Thujone is the potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling the herb in alcohol increases the thujone concentration, which is what makes absinthe such a debatable liquor of choice.

Wormwood’s biologically active compounds include:

  • acetylenes (trans-dehydromatricaria ester, C13 and C14 trans-spiroketalenol ethers, and others)
  • ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • azulenes (chamazulene, dihydrochamazulenes, bisabolene, camphene, cadinene, sabinene, trans-sabinylacetate, phellandrene, pinene and others)
  • carotenoids
  • flavonoids (quercitin 3-glucoside, quercitin 3-rhamnoglucoside, spinacetin 3-glucoside, spinacetin 3-rhamnoglucoside, and others)
  • lignins (diayangambin and epiyangambin)
  • phenolic acids (p-hydroxyphenylacetic, p-coumaric, chlorogenic, protocatechuic, vanillic, syringic and others)
  • tannins
  • thujone and isothujone
  • sesquiterpene lactones (absinthin, artabsin, anabsinthin, artemetin, artemisinin, arabsin, artabin, artabsinolides, artemolin, matricin, isoabsinthin and others)

Benefits

Whether you’re using wormwood tea, extract, tincture or ointment, the benefits of this therapeutic herb are vast.

1. Beats Malaria

Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and invades human red blood cells. Artemisinin is an extract isolated from the plant Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood.

Artemisinin is an herbal drug that’s the most powerful antimalarial on the market. It’s known for quickly reducing the number of parasites in the blood of patients with malaria. The World Health Organization recommends artemisinin-based combination therapies as first-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria.

Recent experiments have shown that artemisinin is effective against the malaria parasite because it reacts with the high levels of iron in the parasite to produce free radicals. The free radicals then destroy the cell walls of the malaria parasite.

2. Fights Cancer Cells

According to recent studies, artemisinin can battle iron-enriched breast cancer cells similar to the way it eliminates malaria-causing parasites, making it a potential natural cancer treatment option for women with breast cancer.

Cancer cells can also be rich in iron since they commonly soak it up to facilitate cell division. Researchers in a 2012 study tested samples of breast cancer cells and normal breast cells that had first been treated to maximize their iron content. The cells were then treated with a water-soluble form of artemisinin, an extract of wormwood.

Results were quite impressive. The normal cells showed little change, but within 16 hours, almost all of the cancer cells were dead and only a few normal cells were killed. Bioengineer Henry Lai believes that because a breast cancer cell contains five to 15 more receptors than normal, it absorbs iron more readily and hence is more susceptible to artemisinin’s attack. 

3. Gets Rid of Parasites

Wormwood is used to eliminate intestinal worms, including pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms. Pinworms are the most common worm infection in the U.S. with pinworm eggs spread directly from person to person. Roundworms, or nematodes, are parasites that also infect human intestines, and tapeworms are long, flat worms that infect animal and human intestines.

A 2018 animal study published in the Journal of Helminthology indicates that wormwood induced worm paralysis, death and ultrastructural alternations.

And a study conducted in Sweden shows that for the purpose of deworming farm animals, a combination of wormwood, mugwort, chicory and common tansy are believed to have anti-parasite properties.

4. Treats Crohn’s Disease

In Germany, a double-blind study examined the effectiveness of an herbal blend containing wormwood at a dose of 500 milligrams three times per day versus a placebo over 10 weeks in 40 patients suffering from Crohn’s disease who were already on a steady daily dose of steroids.

This initial stable dose of steroids was maintained until week 2, after that a defined tapering schedule was started so that by the beginning of week 10 all the patients were steroid-free.

Researchers found that there was a steady improvement in Crohn’s disease symptoms in 18 patients (90 percent) who received wormwood in spite of the decrease of steroids. After eight weeks of treatment with wormwood, there was almost complete remission of symptoms in 13 (65 percent) patients in this group as compared to none in the placebo group. This remission lasted until the end of the observation period, which was 20 weeks (12 weeks later), and the addition of steroids was not necessary.

The results were truly impressive and suggestive of wormwood being able to decrease or eliminate the need for steroids in Crohn’s disease patients. Additionally, results indicate that wormwood has positive effects on mood and quality of life, which is not achieved by other standard Crohn’s disease medications.

5. Contains Antimicrobial and Antifungal Abilities

In vitro studies have shown that the essential oils of wormwood have antimicrobial activity. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that wormwood oil exhibits a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against several bacterial strains, including E. coli and salmonella.

Every year, salmonella is estimated to cause 1 million food-borne illnesses in the U.S. alone, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths. E. coli is another concerning type of bacteria that can cause a range of issues from diarrhea to urinary tract infections to pneumonia and other illnesses.

Not only can wormwood kill bacteria, but it’s also been shown to kill fungi. Research shows that essential oil distilled from the aerial parts of Artemisia absinthium inhibited the growth of a very broad spectrum of tested fungi (11 to be exact). The wormwood essential oil also showed antioxidant properties during testing.

Another study published in Planta Medica concludes that A. absinthium oil inhibits the growth of Candida albicans. This is the the most common type of yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina, and it may affect skin and other mucous membranes.

6. Treats SIBO

Many people turn to natural and alternative treatments when it comes to problems with their gastrointestinal health, and for good reason. Studies show that herbal remedies like wormwood tea or capsules are as good or even better at fighting small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO symptoms.

Today’s typical treatment of SIBO is limited to oral antibiotics with varying rates of effectiveness. A 2014 study had 104 patients who tested positive for newly diagnosed SIBO take either a high dose of rifaximin or an herbal therapy daily for four weeks.

The herbal products were specifically chosen because they contained antimicrobial herbs like wormwood, oregano oil, thyme and berberine extracts, which have been shown to provide broad-spectrum coverage against the types of bacteria most commonly involved in SIBO.

Of the patients who received herbal therapy, 46 percent showed no evidence of SIBO on follow-up tests compared to 34 percent of rifaximin users. Adverse effects reported among those taking rifaximin included anaphylaxis, hives, diarrhea and C. difficile colitis, while only one case of diarrhea and no other side effects were reported in the herbal therapy group.

The study concluded that herbal therapies are at least as effective as rifaximin for eradication of SIBO. Additionally, the herbal therapy with wormwood appears to be just as effective as triple antibiotic therapy for individuals who don’t respond to rifaximin.

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Scientists study the ability of sweet wormwood in fighting breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women across the world. As per an estimate by the World Health Organisation, 570,000 women died from breast cancer in 2015 alone. Although genetic factors and the female sex hormone oestrogen play a role in the occurrence of breast cancer, several other factors like increased iron content in the body might also enhance the risk. Now, a new study by researchers from the Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, have explored how a chemical present in the medicinal herb sweet wormwood can kill breast cancer.

In a healthy body, iron plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of cells. Cancerous cells demand more iron to proliferate in the body. Hence they have many receptors of transferrin, a protein that helps transport iron, on the cell surface. Studies have shown that artemisinin, a chemical compound present in the medicinal herb sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), reacts with iron, present in the haemoglobin in red blood cells, to form free radicals. When formed inside the cells, the carbon-based free radicals promote cell death by reacting with the proteins and lipids present in the cell. Hence, artemisinin can kill cells containing iron in large quantities.

In this study, published in the journal BMC Cancer, the researchers have detailed the molecular mechanism behind how artemisinin prevents invasion and migration of breast cancer to other parts of the body. They treated breast cancer cells with artemisinin and recorded the effects, including changes in the gene and protein expressions.

The study revealed that small dosage of artemisinin was enough to inhibit breast cancer cells. Migration of cancer cells from its origin to other parts of the body causes cancer to spread rapidly, and it is a challenge to stop this. However, the study showed that cells treated with artemisinin had high quantities of E-cadherin, a protein that promotes cell-cell adhesions and thus prevents the migration of cells.

The study also showed that treating cells with artemisinin alters the expression of genes involved in development, proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells. In a healthy body, ‘tumor suppressor genes’ in our cells slow down the rate of spread of cells and protect us from cancer. Treating cells with artemisinin enhanced the expression of these genes. The researchers also observed increased expression of cancer-causing oncogenes after treating the cells with artemisinin.

Our body has a mechanism of destroying cells that are no longer needed or harmful, in a process called apoptosis. Cancer cells subvert the process of apoptosis and hence result in uncontrolled cell growth. The present study revealed that artemisinin induces apoptosis in cancer cells, thus arresting the progression of cancer. For the first time, the researchers have shown that it inhibits specific enzymes called HDACs (histone deacetylases) that promote the growth of cancer cells. Reduced quantities of HDACs was recorded in the artemisinin-treated breast cancer cells.

The outcome of the study indicates that the well-known anti-malarial drug artemisinin bears a strong potential to be used as an anticancer agent. “Our findings provide rational insight for the further evaluation of artemisinin as a safe, efficient and selective drug in the treatment and prevention of human breast cancer”, conclude the authors of the study.

Sweet Wormwood – Scientists (Re)Discover an Herbal Ally in the Fight Against Cancer

It’s no secret that the natural world holds many surprises, and this has never been more true than in the ongoing fight against cancer. As scientists and researchers study the underlying causes of cancer, searching for treatments and cures for this dreaded disease, they often find themselves turning to the very foundation of life itself – nature.

The plants and herbs that are part of God’s design often hold the key to many advances in the fight against cancer. Embarrassingly, many of these plants and herbs were well known to our ancestors, and they formed the basis of many natural healing techniques.

Over the centuries, as science and progress marched ever faster into the future, these healing herbs were ignored and forgotten and drugs with many side effects took their place. It is only recently that research into cancer treatments and cures have rediscovered the healing power of these herbs and plants.

The latest of these recent rediscoveries is Sweet Wormwood, an herb used by the ancients to treat malaria. But recent studies are showing that Sweet Wormwood may be an even more effective treatment for a variety of different cancers.

What is Sweet Wormwood?

Sweet Wormwood, or to give it its Latin name – Artemisia Annua, is a plant that is native to Asia and Eastern Europe. The Chinese have used it as a healing herb going back as far as the 2nd century AD.

In fact, in the 1970’s archaeologists excavating the tomb of a Han Dynasty prince found a stone tablet describing the use of Sweet Wormwood as a treatment for malaria. This sparked interest in the herb, and in its use in natural healing.

Researchers found that the extract from Sweet Wormwood, Artemisinin, was indeed a successful treatment for Malaria. This prompted scientists to explore further, and to investigate Sweet Wormwood’s other healing properties. What they found was surprising, to say the least.

Cancer, Iron, and Artemisinin

All cells within the body require the presence of iron for division and replication. To attract the necessary iron, cells have what are called ‘transferrin receptors’.

Now, one of the fundamental characteristics of cancer is its abnormal process of cell division and replication. Cancerous cells typically divide and replicate at greater speeds than healthy cells.

To accomplish this, cancer cells need greater stores of iron, and so develop a greater number of ‘transferrin receptors’. For example, breast cancer cells have 5 to 15 times more ‘transferrin receptors’ than normal healthy breast cells, and thus accumulate greater stores of iron.

Researchers into the effects of Sweet Wormwood on cancer cells found that they could increase the amount of iron in cancerous cells by using a compound known as ‘Holotransferrin’.

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

The Artemisinin extract of the Sweet Wormwood plant is a natural enemy of iron rich cells, which is why it is such a successful treatment for Malaria. Boosting the iron levels in cancer cells causes the Artemisinin to bind with the cell, halting its division and replication, and forcing it to self-destruct.

The research proved that Artemisinin killed more than ¾ of the cancer cells, while leaving the healthy cells untouched.

What this Means for Cancer Patients

Studies into the effectiveness of Sweet Wormwood as a cancer treatment are ongoing, but the outlook is good. The research indicates that this treatment may be particularly effective for more aggressive forms of cancer, where cell division and replication is more rapid and the cancer cells will be more dependent on iron to survive and thrive.

While the current research is concentrating on breast cancer, all indications point to Sweet Wormwood therapy being effective against a wider range of cancers, including pancreatic cancer and leukemia.

Once again it seems that the natural world holds the answers to restoring, and maintaining, our total health. Sweet Wormwood is just the latest rediscovery that illustrates how much we have forgotten about the nature of natural healing.

The plants and herbs that form the garden of God’s creation hold the secrets we need to remain healthy and cancer free.

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