Fight cancer and destroy parasites with the help of wormwood

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wormwood-fights-cancer-and-parasites(NaturalHealth365) It’s quite unnerving to think about the possibility of unseen organisms living in our gastrointestinal tracts, but intestinal parasites are surprisingly common.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 5% of the U.S. population has antibodies to the Toxocara parasite – parasitic roundworms frequently present in the intestines of dogs (Toxocara canis) and cats (T. cati) – indicating that potentially tens of millions of Americans have come into contact with it.  Parasitic infections are a particular concern because parasites have been associated with cancer formation.

But there’s some good news: Wormwood, a plant valued by holistic healers for its ability to tackle parasites, might offer a solution.  Despite its somewhat off-putting name, wormwood – scientifically known as Artemisia absinthium – is a beneficial and therapeutic herb with potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Not only does it work wonders against intestinal parasites, but emerging research suggests it could also help with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even show promise in fighting cancer.

Wormwood combats parasites and pathogens – naturally

For centuries, holistic healers have recommended wormwood as a remedy for intestinal parasites such as roundworms, flatworms, and threadworms (“pinworms”).  In fact, wormwood is still known in parts of Europe as the “May Cure,” as it was traditionally taken in springtime as a revitalizing cleanse.

Wormwood owes much of its antiparasitic power to its content of a lactone called artemisinin.  It also contains carotenoids, quercetin, flavonoids, and vitamin C.

Wormwood is believed to stimulate the activity of macrophages vital to immune system defense and is particularly efficient at killing parasitic larvae.

Experts say this versatile herb is also effective against pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, Candida albicans, and Giardia.

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Note: Wormwood has an advantage over pharmaceutical antibiotics in that parasites and microbes don’t normally develop resistance to it.  This is a valuable “plus.”

When used to kill parasites, wormwood is often combined with black walnut and clove oil for maximum benefit.

More good news: Scientists use wormwood to target cancer cells

A recent study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition highlighted the potential of natural compounds derived from medicinal plants, including wormwood, as complementary treatments for breast cancer.  These compounds, along with metabolites extracted from microbes and probiotics, demonstrated antitumor effects such as antiproliferative and cytotoxic activity, increased chemosensitivity of tumors, antioxidant activity, and modulation of breast cancer-associated molecular pathways.

Researchers have also learned that artemisinin (wormwood) becomes toxic in the presence of iron – and they hope to exploit this fact to help defeat cancer cells.  It turns out that cancer cells are dependent on iron to facilitate cell division – to a much greater extent than normal cells.  In fact, cancer cells possess 5 to 15 times more iron-collecting receptors to help corral the mineral and funnel it into cells.

In a groundbreaking study published in Anticancer Research, scientists first enriched radiation-resistant breast cancer cells with holotransferrin – which helps carry iron into cells – and then treated them with artemisinin.  The results were astonishing.  Almost all the holotransferrin-exposed breast cancer cells died within 16 hours, leaving normal cells mostly unharmed.

Although more study is needed, these encouraging preliminary results led researchers to highlight wormwood’s potential use as an inexpensive and effective cancer treatment.

Wormwood improves Crohn’s disease symptoms and helps patients go steroid-free

Research has shown that wormwood can reduce the inflammation associated with certain gastrointestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).  One double-blind German study published in Phytomedicine showed that wormwood can also decrease or eliminate the need for steroids.

Crohn’s disease patients who were already being treated with steroids were given an herbal blend containing wormwood at a dosage of 500 mg three times a day for ten weeks.  By the end of the second week, the participants were able to begin tapering off steroids, and by week ten were steroid-free.  An amazing 90 percent of the patients experienced decreases in symptoms – while 65 percent (well over half!) experienced complete remission of symptoms.

Steroid drugs feature a long list of side effects – including headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, mood swings, heartburn, depression, and fatigue.  Other reported adverse effects include vision problems, irregular heartbeat, loss of contact with reality, and seizures.

Not only were the vast majority of the patients able to stop taking the steroids, but the researchers found that they also experienced improvements in mood and quality of life.

How should I take wormwood?

Dried wormwood is available in tablets and capsules and may also be brewed into tea to stimulate digestion and reduce gas and bloating.  To make tea, add half a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of dried wormwood to a cup of boiling water and steep for five to fifteen minutes.  Due to its frankly bitter taste, the tea is best sipped.  While wormwood contains a toxic substance known as thujone, the dried form of wormwood used in herbal remedies does not contain enough of this compound to be harmful.

Still, you should only use wormwood under the supervision of an experienced holistic doctor.  Don’t exceed the advised amounts or use it for longer than four weeks.  Also, don’t give wormwood to children unless a qualified medical professional advises.  And, if you are allergic to ragweed or other members of the aster family, don’t use wormwood.

The takeaway?  When used correctly, Wormwood can be a potent ally against parasites, pathogens and intestinal inflammation – and even shows promise against cancer.  Despite its unfortunate name, wormwood should be neither underestimated nor dismissed.

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