Thursday, 30 September 2010 00:00 By Chukwuma Muanya
CAN increasing the intake of meals rich in castor oil plant, coconut, alligator pepper, West African black pepper and ginger be the elusive cure for uterine fibroids? CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.
DOES nature have the answer to uterine fibroids? There have been several claims and counter claims by both orthodox and traditional/natural health practitioners on possible cures for fibroid tumours. Many women have been rendered childless by this menace. But naturopaths are at last beating their chest that they have a solution.
A special blend of castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta), coconut (Cocos nucifera) and West African black pepper (Xylopia aethiopica, uda in Ibo)) has been validated by researchers to shrink and eliminate fibroids.
A professor of Epidemiology and natural medicine and Chairman Oyo State of Nigeria Advisory Board on Traditional Medicine, Prof. Dayo Oyekole, said special blend of castor bean, alligator pepper, ginger, coconut, and Xylopia aethiopica could be used to successfully shrink and remove fibroid growths.
These claims have been supported by research findings. Oyekole said the main problem of herbal medicines for fibroids had been the mode of preparation. "The remedies are there and they are working. If you take a bunch of coconut and burn it with Alligator pepper and put into it any dry gin available, it will suppress the fibroid growth. So the root of coconut and palm oil, if they are burnt the same way with alligator pepper. And of course these common plants we see around Ricinus communis. You can burn the seeds with castor oil seed, alligator pepper and you will see that they will work effectively. But the way in which they are prepared is very important.
"You have to burn them in a clay pot to be sure that no impurities get into it. Some would have to be soaked in ordinary water, it may be a dry gin. But because of social and religious believes, some people will say I do not want dry gin and I want to put them in ordinary water. It will not work that way. We have to use them according to the way in which it has been shown to work. There is room for refining. But that is a long process."
Fibroid tumours are tumours composed of fibrous tissue, which generally occur in women during their reproductive years and shrink or disappear after menopause. Most of the time they are benign and cause no apparent symptoms; however, in other instances, fibroid tumours can result in severe discomfort and may include heavy bleeding and pain.
Conventional medicine's answer to fibroid tumours is very often a hysterectomy or other type of surgery and medications - none of which guarantees that fibroids will not return. Nature, on the other hand, can shrink or eliminate fibroid tumors by addressing their source cause and utilising remedies, which create an environment in which fibroids are no longer welcome.
Botanically called Ricinus communis, castor oil plant belongs to the plant family Euphorbiaceae. In Nigeria, it is called eraogi in Edo. To the Efik, etigi unene; Hausa, cika-cidaa, cika-gidaa (fill the house - referring to the many seedings that appear wherever it is planted); Idoma, ajongoo; Igbo ogiri ugba; Tiv, harev; Yoruba, eso lara the fruit or seeds.
According to The useful plants of west tropical Africa, Vol 2, ' by H. M. Burkill castor oil plant leaves could be used as medicines for the anus, haemorrhoids; arteries, veins; eye treatments; febrifuges; lactation stimulants; menstrual cycle; paralysis, epilepsy, convulsions, spasm; pulmonary troubles; skin, mucosae.
Nigerian researchers have investigated the effect of varying doses of coconut milk on the prostate gland.
The study titled "Biochemical Responses of Rat Prostate to Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Milk Ingestion/Treatment" was published in the Nigerian Journal of biotechnology and Molecular Biology by scientists from the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The researchers wrote: "The effect of varying doses of coconut milk on the prostate gland [using indices such as levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), testosterone, oestrogen and prostate acid phosphatase (PACP) activity was investigated.
"24 adult male wistar albino rats weighing 166-200g) were divided into four groups of six rats each. Group 1 was the reference/control group, which received no coconut milk, while groups 2, 2 and 4 received 5ml/ kg body weight (b.w.) and 10ml/kg b.w. and 20ml/kg b.w. of coconut milk respectively.
"Results obtained revealed that PSA concentration in groups three and four was significantly (p<0.05) reduced with respect to the value for control group within four weeks. By week eight, the PSA value was significantly (p<0.05) reduced in all the three test groups when compared to that of the control group. Testosterone and oestrogen (oestradiol) responded variously to the graded doses of coconut milk administered for four or eight weeks.
"Prostatic acid phosphatase acid activity was essentially the same for the test groups after four weeks, when compared with the value obtained for the control rats. However, its activity was significantly (p<0.05) reduced in rats in groups three and four with respect to the activity obtained for rats in control group one."
Alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta) is a spicy edible fruit that is cultivated and occurs throughout the tropics. It is a perennial herb and contains essential oils such as: gingerol; shagaol and paradol and it owes its pungency to these. It has equally been shown to contain alkaloids (piperine), essential oils and resins.
The medicinal uses of Aframomum include its use as aphrodisiac, in measles and leprosy, for excessive lactation and post-partum hemorrhage, as purgative, galactogogue and anthelmintic and as hemostatic agent. Extracts of AM have been reported to exhibit antioxidant effects on lard and groundnut oil. Anti-diarrhoea activity, which may be as a result of inhibition of prostaglandin formation have been reported.
Researchers have reported an anti-inflammatory effect, which may be related to a membrane stabilizing activity. Studies also show antimicrobial and antifungal activity against schistosomes and growth inhibition of Bacillus cereus. The seeds of the plant are also used for abdominal discomfort, as a carminative and for stomachache and as a stimulant, principally in veterinary preparations.
Before now, the following remedies have been paraded to be effective in shrinking or eliminating fibroid tumours as well as alleviating discomfort and symptoms:
Fibroids can be reduced by consuming at least three servings of whole grains and/or beans daily. Whole grain and beans also protect against breast and endometrial cancer.
Eliminating excess estrogen will result in shrinking fibroids. Dandelion, milk thistle, and yellow dock help to metabolize estrogen from the body.
Chasteberry tincture is often used successfully to shrink and prevent the return of fibroids. It reduces excess estrogen, balances hormones, and reduces inflammation. However, results often only become apparent after several months of usage. The dosage is 25 to 30 drops two to four times a day.
Additional herbs effective in treating fibroids include black cohosh, Siberian ginseng, red clover, goldenseal, red raspberry, licorice root, dong quai, and motherwort.
Supplemental oleander extract, primarily used in addressing cancer and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is also often effective against fibroids and other types of tumours and irregular cells
Liver cleanses and drinking plenty of water to expel toxins from the body may also be very helpful.
Warm castor oil packs placed on the stomach is another effective method of shrinking fibroids and relieving pain. Ginger compresses are also effective.
Exercise helps the body to free itself of toxins and regulate ovulation. Some women experience tumor reduction while following a vigorous exercise program.
Lastly, taking a variety of digestive enzymes in quantity several times a day on an empty stomach has been reported to be very effective at removing fibroid tissue.
Experts advice: "Avoiding birth control pills can help prevent fibroid growth. Just as these tumours grow faster during pregnancy, their growth is also accelerated by birth control pills containing estrogen. Pesticides and herbicides used on food products are also estrogen-mimicking products to avoid. Tampons and napkins bleached with chlorine can also mimic estrogen."