With creative thinking being promoted in vital areas such as healthcare, Sri Lanka also needs to broaden its outlook and do more research on the preventive and curative properties in all systems of medicine. At present more emphasis is given to allopathy or western medicine but health specialists are suggesting we could use new technology to do more research on natural curative properties in most of our herbs and fruits.
For instance we eat just a small portion of the mangosteen while a large part is thrown away though many health experts have known of curative properties in those parts of the fruit. The Florida-based Dr. Al Sears MD is a naturopathic doctor who claims to use a variety of natural, holistic therapies and supplements to prevent aging, fight disease and more. He is a health and wellness practitioner who uses natural, holistic remedies and other alternative treatments to help his patients live happier, healthier lives. In a letter he says that for a woman with a family history of breast cancer, the doctor may recommend that she should start taking a toxic chemo drug like tamoxifen to lower her risk of developing the disease, even if she has no signs or symptoms of cancer.
Tamoxifen is what is known as a chemo-preventive agent. That’s a fancy phrase that means it’s something that prevents cancer from forming.
But its track record is not impressive. Trials have shown that for every 1,000 women who take the drugs, only 20 to 35 cases of cancer would be prevented. And the side effects are severe. They include bone pain, blood clots and the increased risk of stroke. Tamoxifen could even cause a woman to get endometrial cancer.
Dr. Sears says that fortunately, nature has given us safe chemo-preventive agents long before we came up with that phrase.
It’s a rare fruit that’s almost impossible to find in the West but is abundantly available in Sri Lanka specially in the Kalutara district. It’s called mangosteen, or the queen of fruits.
The mangosteen has powerful anti-cancer properties. Mangosteens are about the size of a fist with a deep purple, leathery skin. Inside are six to eight white, juicy wedges. The segments are sweet and tangy. They taste a little like a mixture of lychee fruit, pineapple, peach and strawberry.This fruit is treasured for its luscious flavour. But it is also a super-fruit when it comes to health benefits.
According to Dr. Sears, for centuries the skin of mangosteen was used by traditional Asian healers to treat a variety of conditions. Modern research is just catching up with mangosteen’s healing potential.
Mangosteen contains powerful antioxidants called xanthones. There are about 200 of these compounds in nature. They exist in only trace amounts in most plants. But mangosteen contains 40 of these powerful phytonutrients. They’re in the skin, flesh and leaf of the fruit.
In numerous cancer studies, mangosteen has been shown to control inflammation, cell division and growth, programmed cell death and metastasis. Mangosteen xanthones are proven to significantly slow the growth of cancerous colorectal tumours, successfully slow prostate cancer, inhibit growth of skin cancer cells and inhibit growth and spread of human leukaemia cells, Dr. Sears says.
In 2008, Illinois University researches found that four of the 12 xanthones they screened were formidable aromatase-inhibitors — compounds that lower oestrogen levels. That means they can successfully treat oestrogen-dependent tumours. Like breast cancer tumours.
That’s exactly the same way tamoxifen works to fight breast cancer tumors. Which would you rather put into your body?
Dr. Sears says that for most western countries the fruit is difficult to import because it is perishable. It has to ripen fully on the tree. And shipping ripe fruit across the globe before it spoils is tricky and costly. But for Sri Lanka it is freely available and our Ayuruveda specialists need to make full use of it with the government promoting and publicising this cancer cure.