The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications Read more […]

Adverse Reactions Associated with Echinacea and Other Asteraceae

Fifty percent of Australians report using some form of complementary alternative medicines (CAM) apart from vitamins in any 12-month period, with similar patterns of use in British and North American subjects. Despite the common perception that “natural therapy” is safe, toxic and hypersensitivity reactions to complementary and alternative medicine have been described. Given that these products are rarely packaged in childproof containers, accidental exposure also occurs. Allergic reactions are most common in atopic subjects. This is not surprising when one considers that up to 20% of atopic subjects use CAM. Furthermore, these patients are more likely than others to become sensitized to cross-reactive allergens and some use (or are advised to use) products such as Echinacea for treatment of allergic disease. When interpreting reports of immediate hypersensitivity to Asteraceae-derived CAM, it is helpful to bear in mind a number of important concepts: (1) exposure to Asteraceae is common; (2) sensitization is more common in subjects with preexistent allergic disease; (3) there is allergenic cross-reactivity between different Asteraceae, and between Asteraceae and some foods; and (4) patients sensitized by inhalation Read more […]

Taxol and Cancer Chemotherapy: Natural Products

Vinca Alkaloids The vinca alkaloids (vinblastine, vincristine, and vindesine), which bind to tubulin, block mitosis with metaphase arrest. Vinca alkaloids are used for the following types of cancer: • Acute lymphoid leukemia: In the induction phase, vincristine is used with prednisone. • Acute myelomonocytic or monocytic leukemia: Cytarabine, vineristine, and prednisone. • Hodgkin’s disease: Mechlorethamine, Oncovin (vincristine), procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP). • Nodular lymphoma: Cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), and prednisone (CVP). • Diffuse histiocytic lymphoma: Cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP); bleomycin, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), and prednisone (BACOP); or cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), methotrexate, and cytarabine (COMA). • Wilms’ tumor: Dactinomycin and vincristine. • Ewing’s sarcoma: Cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, or vincristine. • Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma: Cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, or vincristine. • Bronchogenic carcinoma: Doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine. The chief toxicity associated with vinblastine use is bone marrow depression. Read more […]


Hypothyroidism is a persistent insufficiency in thyroid hormone production leading to a generalized decrease in metabolic functions (Thyroid Hormone: A Review of Its Synthesis and Release). It is the most prevalent of the pathologic hormone deficiencies, and can reduce physical and mental functional ability, quality of life, and long-term health. Hypothyroidism is classified on the basis of onset (congenital or acquired), endocrine dysfunction level (primary, secondary, or tertiary), and severity, which is classified as overt (clinical) or mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism. The total frequency of hypothyroidism, including subclinical cases, among adult females from all age groups, ranges from 3.0% to 7.5%, with significantly higher rates in women over 60 years old. Hypothyroidism occurs at a rate approximately 10 times higher in women than men. Thyroid Hormone: A Review of Its Synthesis and Release Iodide, which is primary nutritionally derived, is concentrated by the thyroid gland, converted to organic iodine by thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and then incorporated into tyrosine in thyroglobulin in the thyroid. Tyrosines are iodinated at one (monoiodotyrosine) or two (di-iodotyrosine) sites and then joined to form the Read more […]

Hypothyroidism: Exercise

Regular daily exercise stimulates thyroid gland function and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormone. Exercise is especially important for dieting overweight hypothyroid patients, as dieting can often put the body into a lower metabolic rate as the body tries to conserve fuel. Adjunctive regular exercise prevents the metabolic rate from dropping with the decrease in caloric intake. Case History: Hypothyroidism Eliza, 44-year-old woman, reports weight gain without an increase in dietary intake, fatigue, muscle weakness, frequent infections, poor healing skin lesions, and alopecia. Symptoms began about 6 months ago and over the last 5 weeks have increased in severity. She works 30 hours a week as a therapist, lives alone with her two cats, and loves to garden. She takes a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement plus 1000 mg daily of vitamin C. Her maternal family history is positive for hypothyroidism, allergies, and depression, paternal history is positive for late-onset diabetes, stroke, and allergies. The patient reports a generally healthy diet of whole foods with light meats, eggs, tofu, and fish as her main proteins. She eats mostly organic vegetables and seasonal fruits along with whole grains breads Read more […]


ANTICHOLINESTERASES are agents that inhibit cholinesterases, enzymes that fall into two main families — acetylcholinesterases (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterases (BChE). These enzymes are of related molecular structures but have different distributions, genes and substrate preferences. The enzymes have globular catalytic subunits that are the soluble form of the esterases (as in plasma or CSF), or they can be attached via long collagen tails to the cell membrane. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) (also termed ‘true cholinesterase’) is found in the synaptic cleft of cholinergic synapses, and is of undoubted importance in regulation of neurotransmission by rapid hydrolysis of released endogenous acetylcholine (ACh). AChE is also found in erythrocytes and in the CSF, and can be present in soluble form in cholinergic nerve terminals, but its function at these sites is not clear. AChE is specific for substrates that include acetylcholine and the agents methacholine and acetylthiocholine. but it has little activity with other esters. It has a maximum turnover rate at very low concentrations of AChE (and is inhibited by high concentrations). Butyrykholinesterase (BChE) (also termed pseudocholinesterase) has a wide distribution, Read more […]