DIGESTIVE TRACT HEALTH & NUTRITION
This section is about a topic I end up discussing with many people. Most, at first, are a bit uneasy—understandably—yet it is probably one of the most important topics we can talk about. The essiac tea blend also affects the digestive system via certain constituents contained in the ingredients.
In order for your cells to receive nourishment, you have to put the right foods into your body. Your whole body’s health depends on the fuel it receives. Your car doesn’t run at its optimum on cheap gas—neither does your body! But, before you run out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of supplements, organic foods, a juicer, water purifier, please hear me out. I’ll try not to be too graphic here! Over many years of eating processed foods, taking antibiotics, eating pounds and pounds of sugar, and all the other wonderful things we can do to ourselves, a coating can build up on the lining of the intestinal tract. This can be from byproducts of foods we didn’t totally digest, candida albicans, parasites, constipation, and a multitude of other reasons.
Imagine all these microscopic nutrients trying to get through an incredible amount of sludge— pushing and screaming to try to get to your cells that are awaiting their arrival to do their jobs properly and efficiently. Now, something must be getting through or we would die from malnutrition. But is it enough? Chances are pretty good that we could all do better. EVERY single cell in our body relies on getting nourishment. Every single body system. We only have reserves of certain chemicals for so long. We also can only produce so many ourselves until that starts to wear down.
I’ve read countless times that about 99% of those with cancer, also suffer from candida albicans. Before you think I’m one of those people who think everything under the sun is caused from candida—I don’t. It is a very serious consideration for people with cancer though—more than any of us. It silently breaks down our ability to get nourishment to the body—or to the immune system. This nasty little yeast seems to thrive in the presence of sugar, yeast used in baking, alcohol consumption, processed foods (which usually contain sugar!), fermented and mold products, peanuts, hard fats (those that are hard at room temperature), processed meats, vinegar, potatoes and yams. Antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs (include chemotherapy here), birth control pills, all kill off the “good bacteria”, letting the candida go unchecked.
So, this yeast lines your intestinal tract, and during it’s phases of growth, throws more toxins into your body. It creates symptoms that are often vague and attributed to many, many other illnesses: fatigue, bloating after eating, headaches, foggy thinking, hypothyroid symptoms, ovarian and low estrogen symptoms, symptoms of testosterone deficiency, recurring infections, decreased absorption of Vitamin B6 and metabolism of beta carotene, diminished red blood cell flexibility leading to impaired circulation, impairment of neurotransmitter function, interference with magnesium and protein metabolism, impaired T-cell response and low blood counts, hypersensitivity to foods, itchy skin, production of antibodies against its own tissues, chemical sensitivity, joint pain, nausea, depression, recurrent vaginal infections, white coating on the tongue, muscle aches, heartburn, gas, anal itching, food intolerances or sensitivities. Do you see yourself anywhere here? I’ve asked people to go look at their tongue in the mirror and tell me what they see. The tongue is the “gateway” to the intestines and can say a lot about its health—or state of imbalance.
How to get rid of candida overgrowth: Stay away from all the foods that “feed” it. Don’t be overly aggressive about killing it off with powerful herbs. This will create a massive “die-off” that will literally leave a person sicker than before they started. It’s going to take some time and commitment, but after you get the candida under control, you can lighten up a bit on the regime. So, here we go!
I have found that almost all of the blends available commercially for killing off candida, contain Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis). This is not good. Not only are you using an at-risk plant, but also one that can build up toxic berberines in your body, decrease your absorption of Vitamin B12, and is also one of the most potent herbs in the plant kingdom. Why use it unless you absolutely have to? It’s really not worth it to me. I save that herb until I really need it. Find a suitable blend without that plant—you are going to have to take it for a few months. Next, consider adding the following to your regime: Grapefruit seed extract (do not confuse with Grape seed extract) about 2000 mgs starting at 500 mg per day and slowly increasing every 2-3 days, eat more fresh garlic, drink Pau d’arco tea (it has anti-candida effects), liquid oxygen supplement, colloidal silver. Do one at a time though so you don’t end up with rapid die off. Rapid die-off can result in very severe consequences to your body. Take it slow!
Now, the crucial part. If you are killing off all that candida, you want to replace it with some “good” bacteria that will rebalance the intestinal flora. In your health food store’s refrigerator section you should find either liquid in brown glass bottles or jars containing capsules that have acidophilus and bifidus live cultures. (If they don’t carry it, request that they do.) Take the maximum dose recommended on the bottle. Yogurt just doesn’t contain enough quality or live bacteria to do the job. Neither does the acidophilus milk. One of the reasons that Rx’s for candida don’t work long term is they do nothing to replace the “good” bacteria needed by your intestine to break down foods. Without replacing that bacteria, the candida will return again, and again, and again&ldots;.the balance is still not there. I have a written assessment you can take to see if you have candida. It’s simple, painless and eye-opening! Request one from me if you are doubtful you have candida, or want to find out for sure.
Did you notice that all of the herbs contained in the essiac blend have properties and actions that involve digestive processes? This isn’t a mistake. Cells and body processes are weakened by poor nutrition. I’ve talked to people who eat only organic foods, stay away from sugar—all the right things. Many still have candida though. And, have you ever seen someone in advanced stages of cancer? They look like they just left a concentration camp where they were fed water and bread for months. The body is literally STARVING. My heart goes out to these people.
Persons with cancer are faced with a big challenge: How to keep nutrition going into their body when they may be undergoing treatments that make them feel nauseated, weak, all food tastes awful, no appetite, and just feeling generally so sick the last thing they want to think about is food. Essiac contains properties to help stimulate appetite—they’re called bitter principles. It also has many other constituents related to digestive processes.
Chemotherapy not only affects cancer cells, but every single cell in the body. It is my understanding that the cells of the digestive tract multiply the quickest. This is why chemotherapy tends to affect the digestive tract so early on in treatment, resulting in nausea, lack of appetite, and many of the other digestive complaints. Along with candida probably being present, nutrition is a major factor for people taking this treatment. One thing I have seen in those who begin taking the tea prior to beginning chemo - they seem to have less nausea, their appetite stays good to moderate, and they seem to have less of the other symptoms. Not always, but enough it caught my attention. Also, they seem to have a greater incidence of remission or slowing of the tumor growth. Perhaps this has nothing to do with the tea, but more with the nutrition that they are taking in. Who knows? As long as there is some progress toward health—that’s the goal.
So, nutrition seems to be more important than what we are led to believe. It, in fact, is one of the major keys. On that note, I hear from many people who are changing their diets to reflect better nutrition once they find out they have cancer. There doesn’t seem to be any one diet that gives greater results than another. It must be high in nutrients, well-rounded and suitable for the individual. It must contain easily digested foods. It is my understanding that Rene Caisse advised her patients to eat a “healthy diet” (in those days a healthy diet was considered different than today!), and to eat only those foods that are easily digested.
Some people are on raw foods. This may be okay for the healthy person, but one who has cancer should keep a couple of things in mind. 1) the body does not need to put it’s energy into the breakdown of the meal, but in it’s absorption and transfer to the cells needing it most. Eating raw foods requires the digestive processes to work very hard. 2) Raw foods can harbor millions of micro-organisms. This insult is the last thing a body needs that has a compromised immune system and digestive system. I suggest lightly steamed instead, saving the water (packed with nutrients) as an addition to soup or taken on it’s own, until your body is stronger and able to divert more energy to digestion and less to the immune system. Be mindful that beef and chicken usually contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals that may put stress on your immune system. Also read the section on Body pH. It may give you some other guidelines to help you.
I’ve seen this time and time again: You read a book and decide that this particular diet is going to give you back your health. You are a meat and potatoes kind of person, and going vegetarian sounds like it’s your ticket to health. I know very few people who can stick to that diet, without fail, long term, by switching over completely in one day. If you see or hear something that you want to try, gradually begin to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Then, it won’t feel like you are being held prisoner by your diet, being deprived of things you love, etc. Try taking one thing a week, or one a month, and changing it. The results are longer lasting this way. Also, and very importantly, your body has made it’s own sort of adjustment to your lifelong diet and foods you eat. Anything done drastically will throw your body into a state of imbalance creating more stress on the immune system, and all major systems. Moderation here is crucial - as in all you do. Homeostasis (the body’s balance), is extremely sensitive. It will react in some measure to every single thing you do.
Research is currently being done on the use of digestive enzymes in those with cancer. The preliminary findings look very promising. Use one that is cold-processed or cold-extracted, as heat can destroy many of the enzymes. Make sure they are of high quality. The enzymes you want to look for in a supplement are : pancreatic, lipase, protease, amylase, alpha galactosidase. Bromelain is helpful as well.
Try this tip for those who seem to have a bit of trouble digesting proteins such as those found in meats and bean/rice dishes: Sprinkle a small amount of organic ginger root powder over the meat while cooking or just before serving. You can also add a small amount of grated fresh ginger root to hot or cold dishes, or while cooking. For some reason this helps our body to break down the proteins more easily. Ginger also has the added bonus of increasing circulation, along with calming nausea for many.
Most importantly, begin to be mind-ful of what you are eating. Be consciously aware that each bite you take, is a choice as to whether your cells will be nourished or not. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat a Twinkie, but just be aware that this is a “comfort” food, more than a healthy one.
I’m not a trained dietician, or nutritionist. I do a lot of reading, talking to people, and trying things out for myself. I don’t eat the “perfect” diet. I doubt none of us do. The key is in being mindful.
Many of our clients feel that intestinal parasites may have contributed to their digestive tract imbalances. This aspect of a possible cause for cancer and many illnesses was made popular in a book written by Hulda Clark, PhD, ND entitled "The Cure For All Cancers". Her focus is on the toxins we add to our bodies, and the role parasites may play in our health. On the first page of her book it states: "I discovered the true cause of cancer. The cause is a certain parasite, for which I have found evidence in every cancer case regardless of the type of cancer." Although I do not discount that parasites can play a role in our health issues, I find it extremely difficult to believe that it is the sole cause of cancer. We possess highly complicated bodies, and she infers that the complexities of cancer can be caused by one single organism - Fasciolopsis buskii a human intestinal fluke or flatworm.
We can agree to disagree here, but I choose to look at the following: 1) Her book is full of extremes in my opinion. I am uncomfortable with extremes. 2) We were created as highly complicated physical beings, with a multitude of factors ingrained in our bodies to ultimately survive. There are "back-up" mechanisms for almost every function in the body. 3) Could it be possible that through inadequate diet, lifestyle and other aspects, that this fluke was allowed to flourish in our body? What ultimately caused the fluke to supposedly "take over?" By getting rid of this intestinal parasite (without using all of her other extreme recommendations), will a person stay "cured" as she states? I believe it warrants further consideration, but as a part of a larger whole in treatment. Not the end-all, be-all.
As an herbalist, I would like to use a "plant story" to illustrate how important nutrition can be in overall health. Granted, we are not plants, but perhaps this does have some parallels! One year we decided to plant a huge vegetable and herb garden. Our focus was, and is, on growing organically. I watered the plants, watched their miraculous bursting forth from the soil, and continued to think about all that wonderful food we could eat soon. It was not long before insects came in and ravaged my garden to such an extent that absolutely none of the food was edible. The following year, we had the soil tested and found it to be almost completely devoid of nutrients. It was also hardpan clay!
We diligently added all the nutrients recommended to the soil, piled on the compost from our household, and brought sand in to break up the soil. After mixing this all in, we planted, watered, continued to add nutrients and were abundantly rewarded. We had more food than we could possibly consume ourselves, pulled extra plants out and tossed them over the fence for the deer, and gave countless bags of food to our neighbors. No predatory insects bothered our garden. I sat and pondered the drastic differences in both gardens. We had no need for using pesticides (not that we would have anyway!) and despite planting very close together, had healthy flourishing plants. I believe that it was due to the abundant nutrition that we gave our plants, that we "broke up" the soil by adding compost and sand, so our plants were able to thrive. By providing lots of nutrition, the predatory insects no longer were a problem - at all. It seemed that they preyed upon weak plants. There are many parallels here in concept that can be applied to human bodies. Think about it!
This information is provided for educational purposes and to promote discussion only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or claim cure for any disease or imbalance in the body.