Cancer Alternatives – Graviola
An exciting cancer alternative remedy comes from the seeds, leaves, bark and stem of the South American plant Annona muricata, generally known as Graviola. In fact there are many other plants in this genus, various of which yield extremely potent cytotoxic substances. These are especially effective against prostate and pancreatic cancers and work well even against lung cancer.
Much of the research on Graviola focuses on a novel set of phytochemicals called annonaceous acetogenins (annonaceous just means form Graviola plants). The potent antitumor and pesticidal properties of these annonaceous acetogenins have been reported and patented.
Purdue University has conducted a great deal of research on annonaceaous acetogenins, much of which has been funded by The National Cancer Institute and/or the National Institute of Health (none of it clinical trials, please note).
In 1997, Purdue University published information with promising news that several of the Annonaceous acetogenins: “not only are effective in killing tumors that have proven resistant to anti-cancer agents, but also seem to have a special affinity for such resistant cells.”
In several interviews after this information was publicized, the head Purdue pharmacologist in Purdue’s research explains that cancer cells that survive chemotherapy may develop resistance to the agent originally used against them as well as to other, even unrelated, drugs.
“The term multi-drug resistance (MDR) has been applied to this phenomenon,” he says. He explains that such resistance develops in a small percentage of cancer cells when they develop a “P-glycoprotein mediated pump” capable of pushing anti-cancer agents out of the cell before they can kill it.
“A multi-drug resistant cell requires a tremendous amount of energy to run the pump and extrude things out of the cell,” Purdue head pharmacolgist says. “When we mess with the energy supply, it kills the cell!”
You will hear claims that one exciting study at Purdue showed that an acetogenin in Graviola was selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells in which it showed 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin (a chemotherapy drug).
What Dr. X.X. Liu and colleagues actually stated in 1999 was that: “Annoglacins A and B were selectively 1000 and 10,000 times, respectively, more potent than Adriamycin against the human breast carcinoma (MCF-7) and pancreatic carcinoma (PACA-2) cell lines in our panel of six human solid tumor cell lines.”
But these were annoglacins, from a different tree altogether! (Annona glabra, a Polynesian tree called the pond or alligator apple).
There is no question, however, of the power of derivatives of the annona species. Another study showed that six acetogenins (four known and two newly discovered) exhibited significant activity in cytotoxic tests against two human hepatoma cell lines [J Nat Prod. 2002 Apr;65(4):470-5].
Another review in the Skaggs Scientific Report 1997-1998 states, “Annonaceous acetogenins, particularly those with adjacent bis-tetrahydrofuran (THF) rings, have remarkable cytotoxic, antitumor, antimalarial, immunosuppressive, pesticidal, and antifeedant activities.
Mode of action studies in three separate laboratories have shown that acetogenins are superb inhibitors of the mitochondrial electron transport systems from several tissues and organisms, including tumors. Mitochondria are the life energy machines within the cells, so screwing up that mechanisms would be expected to have disastrous effects on a cell.
The great thing is that Graviola is pretty non-toxic (unlike chemo). The dose required to kill cancer cells is way below that which will injure healthy human cells.
As an MD with over 30 years experience prescribing cancer alternative remedies (not simply herbs) I recommend Graviola for anyone battling cancer. But please remember what you get in capsules bought on the Internet may bear little relation to the strength of substances used in these trials.