ARTEMESIA/ARTESUNATE

ARTEMESIA / ARTESUNATE

Artemisia vulgaris or absinthum is a traditional medicine for parasites, including malaria.  Chinese doctors call it Quinghao. It is very useful in cancer.

  • wormwood herb relieves constipation, particularly moving the upper GI tract. It is a key component of  #42 capsules for severe constipation, as seen in patients on opiod narcotic pain-killers.  It also rebalances gut flora (probiotic organisms).
  • increases bile flow, detoxifying the liver.
  • removes many intestinal worms and parasites.
  • reduces inflammatory cytokine growth promoters.

Artemesia annua or sweet wormwood is the source of Artemisinin and Artemether, new ideas in cancer treatment.

Artemesinin:

  • Atrtemisinin is a hormone balancer, particularly reducing excess estrogen and prolactin. It is best studied in breast caner.
  • It is activated by iron ions, which cancer cells accumulate. Cancer cells have abnormally high numbers of surface receptors for tansferrin, to uptake the excessive levels of iron they need to proliferate. Dihydro-artemisinin has a peroxide bond activated by iron to generate hydrogen peroxide.  This stresses cancer cells which are always catalase deficient.  The high-valent oxo-iron species create a cascade of reactive oxygen species called endoperoxides, depolarizing the mithochondrial membranes and disrupting the electron transport chain.  Cancer cells are approximately 100 times more susceptible to dying from artemesinin than healthy cells.
  • Induces apoptosis and slows growth in fibrosarcoma.
  • Inhibits angiogenesis, disrupting the blood supply to tumors.
  • Targets translationally-controlled tumor protein TCTP.
  • Inhibits cysteine protease enzyme, and also a SERCA-type calcium transporter enzyme.
  • It has very short period of action, clearing the bloodstream in about 2 hours.
  • There is evidence showing that the liver rapidly increases its ability to get rid of the drug, so that after a week it is difficult to achieve therapeutic blood levels. Also, the iron levels are largely depleted in the cancer cells after a week.
  • Intermittent dosing also allows the cancer cells to recharge with iron, which the artemesinin will then burn up into deadly peroxidesSynergistic with intravenous vitamin C, amplifying the peroxide stress.
  • It may synergize with butyrate, which is produced by gut bacteria acting on fiber such as psyllium husks.
  • As lactoferrin sequesters iron away from tumor cells, this may also prove to be a useful support.

                                                                 Contraindications:

  • Sedentary lifestyle – works best in those more physically active
  • Smokers – must be off tobacco at least 6 months
  • Radiation therapy or surgery – wait until 2 months after – radiosensitizer and antiangiogenic.

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Other forms of artemesia under investigation for use in cancer:

Artemether:   1 mg /kg BW  for 8 weeks.  Usual adult dose is 40 mg twice daily, but it can all be taken in one dose.  This is the more toxic form, and the limiting factor in using combination products.   Take well away from food, with whole milk, ice cream, etc.   After 8 weeks if responding, continue using it but every second day only, for another 3 to 4 months.   Periodic use for up to 2 years can be considered, 5 days on and 5 days off.

                       Synergize with 250 mg vitamin C and 200 IU vitamin E at breakfast and lunch.

Artemix: Combines artemether, artemesinin and artesunate.  Usual dose is 1 capsule twice daily, as for artemether.     Said to be easier on the liver than plain arthemeter.