Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center  Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida    e-mail: md@ayurveda-florida.com

 

     

The Ayurvedist®

                                Volume V Issue 2                                                                             March 2008  

Health and Science in the News

Text Box: Angel of the Waters Central Park NYC
 

 

 

                                                                                                                   

Inside This Issue

1

Health and Science in the News

2

History and Ayurveda

3

Maharishi Mahesha Yogi --Memoriam

4

Book Corner--Life After Life and What's Going On?

 

FOLK MEDICINE (People's Pharmacy)

 

Skin tags: apply New Skin liquid bandage as long as needed

 

Weight loss: vinegar, lime juice, and cinnamon before foods helped some to loose weight.

 

Preparation H induces rise in blood pressure from its compound--phenylephrine

 

Over the counter Ibuprofen may lead to kidney and liver damage--high creatinine levels found higher with use

 

Allergy symptoms: nettle leaf extract taken orally may help; for prostate enlargement (BPH) the root has shown good results

 

Warts: apply turmeric to site and cover with bandage; renew at night--until gone

 

Scientific Studies:

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial1,2
Joan M Lappe, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K Michael Davies, Robert R Recker, and Robert P Heaney
ABSTRACT
Background: Numerous observational studies have found supplemental calcium and vitamin D to be associated with reduced risk of common cancers. However, interventional studies to test this effect are lacking.

Objective: The purpose of this analysis was to determine the efficacy of calcium alone and calcium plus vitamin D in reducing incident cancer risk of all types.

Design: This was a 4-y, population-based, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. The primary outcome was fracture incidence, and the principal secondary outcome was cancer incidence. The subjects were 1179 community-dwelling women randomly selected from the population of healthy postmenopausal women aged 55 y in a 9-county rural area of Nebraska centered at latitude 41.4° . Subjects were randomly assigned to receive 1400– 1500 mg supplemental calcium/d alone (Ca-only), supplemental calcium plus 1100 IU vitamin D3/d (Ca D), or placebo.

Results: When analyzed by intention to treat, cancer incidence was lower in the Ca D women than in the placebo control subjects (P  0.03). With the use of logistic regression, the unadjusted relative risks (RR) of incident cancer in the Ca D and Ca-only groups were 0.402 (P 0.01) and 0.532 (P 0.06), respectively. When analysis was confined to cancers diagnosed after the first 12 mo, RR for the Ca D group fell to 0.232 (CI: 0.09, 0.60; P 0.005) but did not change significantly for the Ca-only group. In multiple logistic regression models, both treatment and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were significant, independent predictors of cancer risk.
Conclusions: Improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduces all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00352170. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1586–91.

 

Leading Edge
Review
Stems Cells and the Pathways to Aging and Cancer
Derrick J. Rossi,1, Catriona H.M. Jamieson,2 and Irving L. Weissman3 1Immune Disease Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA 2Moores Cancer Center, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093, USA 3Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University Cancer Center, and Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5323, USA
 

The aging of tissue-specific stem cell and progenitor cell compartments is believed to be central to the decline of tissue and organ integrity and function in the elderly. Here, we examine evidence linking stem cell dysfunction to the pathophysiological conditions accompanying aging, focusing on the mechanisms underlying stem cell decline and their contribution to disease pathogenesis.

Epilogue
The number of elderly adults is at a historical high, and concomitant increases in the prevalence of age-related degenerative and malignant conditions will place a heavy burden on future health care resources. The need to develop therapeutic strategies to treat pathophysiological conditions in the elderly is therefore medically, socially, and economically crucial. Characterization of normal stem cell aging is the critical first step toward achieving these goals as such research should be able to identify the mechanisms underlying stem cell functional decline and inform strategies for intervention. Of particular importance is the development of targeted therapies that will obviate the high mortality rates associated with cancer, the most frequently fatal disease of
aging.

 

 

Raw and Cooked Vegetables, Fruits, Selected Micronutrients, and Breast Cancer Risk: A Case–Control Study in Germany
Karl-Heinrich Adzersen, Patricia Jess, Klaus Wilhelm Freivogel, Ingrid Gerhard, and Gunther Bastert

NUTRITION AND CANCER, 46(2), 131–137 Copyright © 2003, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
 

Abstract: In 1998–2000, a case–control study of breast cancer was conducted in Heidelberg, Germany. Three hundred ten consecutively recruited cases with primary breast cancer were matched according to 10-yr age groups to 353 controls with conditions unrelated to diet or endocrine disorders. Intake of raw vegetables, total vegetables, and whole-grain products was inversely associated with breast cancer risk (highest vs. lowest quartile adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31–0.84; OR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.38–1.02; and OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.34–0.95, respectively). Also, high intake of some selected vitamins and minerals possessing putative DNA-stabilizing properties displayed significant inverse risk associations. Adjusted ORs were as follows: vitamin C (OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.2–0.88), folate equivalents (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.25–0.88), β-carotene (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.27–0.80), zinc (OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.15–0.78), and copper (OR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.31–1.03). In contrast, no significant association with risk was seen for an increased intake of fruits, cooked vegetables, fiber, calcium, manganese, or iron. In this population of German women, components of raw vegetables and some micronutrients appear to decrease breast cancer risk.

 

Glucose metabolism and cancer
Reuben J Shaw
The first identified biochemical hallmark of tumor cells was a shift in glucose metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis. We now know that much of this metabolic conversion is controlled by specific transcriptional programs. Recent studies suggest that activation of the hypoxia- inducible factor (HIF) is a common consequence of a wide variety of mutations underlying human cancer. HIF stimulates expression of glycolytic enzymes and decreases reliance on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in tumor cells, which occurs even under aerobic conditions. In addition, recent efforts have also connected the master metabolic regulator AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to several human tumor suppressors. Several promising therapeutic strategies based on modulation of AMPK, HIF and other metabolic targets have been proposed to exploit the addiction of tumor cells to increased glucose uptake and glycolysis.

 

Effects of dietary flavonoids on apoptotic pathways related to cancer chemoprevention
Sonia Ramos4

Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 18 (2007) 427–442
Department of Metabolism and Nutrition, Instituto del Frı´o, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientı´ficas (CSIC), 28040 Madrid, Spain
Received 7 September 2006; received in revised form 6 November 2006; accepted 13 November 2006
Abstract
Epidemiological studies have described the beneficial effects of dietary polyphenols (flavonoids) on the reduction of the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer. Moreover, it has been shown that flavonoids, such as quercetin in apples, epigallocatechin-3-gallate in green tea and genistein in soya, induce apoptosis. This programmed cell death plays a critical role in physiological functions, but there is underlying dysregulation of apoptosis in numerous pathological situations such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. At the molecular level, flavonoids have been reported to modulate a number of key elements in cellular signal transduction pathways linked to the apoptotic process (caspases and bcl-2 genes), but that regulation and induction of apoptosis are unclear. The aim of this review is to provide insights into the molecular basis of the potential chemopreventive activities of representative flavonoids, with emphasis on their ability to control intracellular signaling cascades responsible for regulating apoptosis, a relevant target in cancer- preventive approach.
2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 

 

Selenium as an anticancer nutrient: roles in cell proliferation and tumor cell invasionB
Huawei Zeng4, Gerald F. Combs Jr
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, P. O. Box 9034, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9034, USA
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 19 (2008) 1 –7

Abstract
Selenium is an essential dietary component for animals including humans, and there is increasing evidence for the efficacy of certain
forms of selenium as cancer-chemopreventive compounds. In addition, selenium appears to have a protective effect at various stages of
carcinogenesis including both the early and later stages of cancer progression. Mechanisms for selenium-anticancer action are not fully
understood; however, several have been proposed: antioxidant protection, enhanced carcinogen detoxification, enhanced immune
surveillance, modulation of cell proliferation (cell cycle and apoptosis), inhibition of tumor cell invasion and inhibition of angiogenesis.
Research has shown that the effectiveness of selenium compounds as chemopreventive agents in vivo correlates with their abilities to affect
the regulation of the cell cycle, to stimulate apoptosis and to inhibit tumor cell migration and invasion in vitro. This article reviews the status
of knowledge concerning selenium metabolism and its anticancer effects with particular reference to the modulation of cell proliferation and
the inhibition of tumor cell invasion.
Published by Elsevier Inc.

 

Scientists looking for the earliest signs of cancer are tracking changes in the sugary coatings on proteins, which may signal malignancy long before conventional methods can. The surfaces of many proteins are studded with complex carbohydrates, dubbed glycans. These sugar chains, attached soon after proteins are made, help proteins fold and bind to other molecules. The combination of glycans on a protein, the ‘signature’, can also tell researchers something about the cell in which the protein originated—for example, whether it is part of a tumor. “The same protein can be made in a cancer cell and a noncancer cell,” says Michael Pierce, director of the University of Georgia’s Cancer Center, “but the glyco-signature can be completely different.”

© 2007 Nature Publishing Group http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine

 

Vitamin A regulation of gene expression: molecular mechanism of a prototype gene
Mary M. McGrane4
Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, The University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 18 (2007) 497–508
Abstract
Vitamin A regulation of gene expression is a well-characterized example of direct nutrient regulation of gene expression. The downstream metabolites of retinol, all-trans and 9-cis retinoic acids are the bioactive components that bind and activate their cognate nuclear receptors to regulate target genes. .... We provide detailed information on the specific nuclear receptors, coactivators and chromatin modification events that occur when vitamin A is deficient and, therefore, retinoids are not available to activate the nuclear retinoid-signaling cascade.
D 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc.

 

Vitamin D signaling pathways in cancer: potential for anticancer therapeutics
Kristin K. Deeb*, Donald L. Trump‡ and Candace S. Johnson*
Abstract |

Epidemiological studies indicate that vitamin D insufficiency could have an aetiological role in various human cancers. Preclinical research indicates that the active metabolite of vitamin D, 1α,25(OH)2D3, also known as calcitriol, or vitamin D analogues might have potential as anticancer agents because their administration has antiproliferative effects, can activate apoptotic pathways and inhibit angiogenesis. In addition, 1α,25(OH)2D3 potentiates the anticancer effects of many cytotoxic and antiproliferative anticancer agents. Here, we outline the epidemiological, preclinical and clinical studies that support the development of 1α,25(OH)2D3 and vitamin D analogues as preventative and therapeutic anticancer agents.

 

 

 

History and Ayurveda

 

Indra and Ayurveda--A Historical Inquiry

 

The Ayurvedist is interested in scholarly topics such as our historical roots. There is a relationship between the ancient Aryan/Dravidian Vedic cultures and modern Ayurveda. The most important tie is the philosophical  doctrine of Vedic orthodoxy. Any system or philosophy is considered orthodox if it subscribes to the notion that Veda is supreme. This means simply and inclusively that whatever the Vedas say must be truth. This concept has ruled Indian culture for probably 5000 years as far as we can surmise from archeological records.

 

Recently (October 2007) I presented a seminar at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM on the historical roots of Ayurveda. For this presentation I reread an authoritative tome:  A Cultural Heritage of India (4 Vol.). One objective was to connect the Ayurvedic literature of the Classical Period (ca. 500 BC to 400AD) with the Vedic period literature of India; i.e. Rigveda (ca. 1700 BC), the other three Vedas, and the (6) vedangas, (6) upangas and so on, and the material of the work above helped fill in gaps of missing details in my clinically-oriented Ayurvedic education. Last week I was phoned by a friend who wanted to know if I knew that Dhanvantari received the knowledge of Ayurveda from Bharadvaja. I told him that according to the main classical texts of Ayurveda that this was not supported by their declarations. In fact each maintains that Brahma gave it to Prajapati, who told it to the Ashvin twins, who taught it to Indra, who then gave it to---Bharadvaja, Dhanvantari, or Kashyapa, etc. (according to Caraka/Vagbhata, Sushruta, and Kashyapa, respectively). This question served as an opportunity to always remember how important authoritative statements and sources are for us Ayurvedists. Quoting from the sources above would be the first point in any discussion about what Ayurveda says.

 

Later, I got to thinking about this material and wondered why the classical Ayurvedic writers singled out Indra, a Rigveda god, from whom to get the knowledge of Ayurveda. The Rigveda god, Indra, was a mid-range entity who controlled the lightning bolt and the rains and was invoked to slay enemies in battle, as well. Interestingly and paradoxically, he was often referred to in Rigveda as the king of gods. Vedic gods, in general, were born but never died, i.e. they had a corporeal existence and an unmanifest one, and were sources of boons and other worldly interventions.  They are emphatically not the Absolute Brahman and not the Creator.

 

One thing we know about the Vedic literature is that it is highly symbolic and spiritual at the same time. Mundane activities in literature almost always have a spiritual meaning or context. One way of teaching involved story-telling and this theme plays into interpreting/understanding much of the Vedic literature. On the gross level of life we all know how important rain is to survival. And scientists tell us that lightning releases nitrogen in air to fall to the ground to fertilize our crops. With respect to Indra's association with water and lightning in Rigveda both are associated with knowledge and esoteric knowledge, particularly. Knowledge  is the slayer of ignorance and suffering. Appealing to Indra for knowledge is tantamount to asking for the knowledge of or the path to salvation.

 

Kunhan Raja, in the work mentioned above (pp. 199-211), gives another insight as to why the early Ayurvedists may have singled out Indra for the knowledge of life. There is good reason to believe that early Vedists held two paths to be important--knowledge and action.  Gods were organized according their role in mundane life; the ones dealing with everyday themes, e.g. survival, hunger, procreation, and so on, were lower on the power list than those who dealt with esoteric matters--salvation say. Those that needed to be most accessible were lowest on the list and they were appealed/prayed to most frequently. More of the verses in the Vedas named them specifically, also.  These gods were concerned more with matters of action than with pure knowledge, however. With respect to the epithet above--king of the gods--we can understand how a rain god could be held so high in regard.

 

Another aspect of this story relates to the fact that Indra was appealed to in the soma ceremony / sacrifice. The soma ceremony is a ritual performed according to jyotisha calculations for many specific purposes--something is desired from the god in the ceremony. The modern interpretation of soma is that it is a plant that provides, when imbibed, access to the higher knowledge--knowledge of Self. It is a biochemical means for promoting higher states of consciousness. The number of verses in Rigveda mentioning soma or extolling its virtues  probably is over a hundred. So now we have another connection to Indra and to the question of why Classical Ayurvedists were enamored with the god, Indra. Sushruta, a classical writer (ca. 400BC), listed the names of 25 plants that were equivalent to soma. So the Ayurvedic tradition is linked to Vedic themes in yet another way.

 

In summary, the doctrines of Ayurveda show their colors, i.e. are true upholders of the verity and importance of the Vedas. In this case the knowledge of life is connected to the Creator directly and to one aspect of nature--Indra--specifically. While there is controversy among the traditions of Ayurveda as to who on the earthly plane received and disseminated Ayurveda it is truly of divine origin and nature.

 

 

Maharishi Mahesha Yogi --Memoriam

Readers of this newsletter have learned that Maharishi dropped his mortal frame last month (Feb 5th) in Holland, having announced in January that he had completed his work in the life. For tributes from others see our web site at: www.ayurveda-florida.com/articles_ayurvedic_medicine_diet_lifestyle_dhanvantari_ayurveda_center_ayurveda_education_programs/Hinduism/in_memoriam.htm

 

My contact with Maharishi was initially via videos of him teaching to large groups in the US (Humboldt, etc) and Europe. I started TM in 1975 while studying for a post-graduate degree in Economics. In 1980 I attended a Conference in Delhi convened by Maharishi and the TM organization; it was billed as the unification of western science and eastern philosophy. In effect we heard experts from both communities discussing how the Unified Field and God were one and the same entity, just seen from different traditions and perspectives. As many of the attendees I got a bug and got some Ayurvedic pills from a friend who saw a vaidya for the same symptoms. This was my first contact with Ayurveda. Nearly a decade later, while living in WPB area of Florida, I came into contact with Deepak Chopra and helped him in minor ways to put on some events in our area. Then I received a letter from him announcing a new Masters program in Ayurveda to be given in Cambridge, Mass. I worked for two years at Chopra's Lancaster Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center while completing the course work for the program. Near the end of this course I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Vasant Lad in the Boston Area and he invited me to study with him in Albuquerque, NM. I moved there and spent the next ten years--5 years studying and 5 years teaching at The Ayurvedic Institute.

 

Dr. Lad told us his story of how he got involved with Ayurveda and he always ended with the remark that it has changed his life; I can truly say this, too. I recovered from a decade-long chronic fatigue. The whole direction of my professional life changed, having come in contact with the science because of my pursuit of the knowledge of Self through meditation and Maharishi's teachings. I have had numerous career changes but none has been so gratifying. I attribute nearly all of this to the way Maharshi taught and to the wisdom in the content.

 

Upon learning of Maharishi's departure (mahasamadhi--a voluntary, willful choice to leave the physical body) I had the distinct feeling that I was independent now, and I also had the feeling of a new sense of responsibility for carrying on his life work. While I'm not sure of what that responsibility is in detail, I am sure that he has put the world on a good and right path--peace, health, and happiness.  I invite readers to glance through the quotes in our website and especially on death and reincarnation--see this URL:  www.ayurveda-florida.com/articles_ayurvedic_medicine_diet_lifestyle_dhanvantari_ayurveda_center_ayurveda_education_programs/Hinduism/!Teachings_of_Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi.htm

 

 

Book Corner--Life After Life and What's Going On?

 

Maharishi's passing has been part of the motive to examine the cosmology of our science--what exists and its structure.

One classical Ayurvedist (Caraka ) wrote:

Ca. S±. I.67-69 At the time of dissolution (death), the Self gets detached from these enjoyable entities (body and senses). Thus (the Self), subdued by rajas and tamas, gets manifested (takes a body) from the unmanifest state and then reverts to the unmanifest and thus moves continuously like a wheel (from one state to another). Those who are attached excessively to duals (pleasure and pain experiences) and are engrossed by ego are subjected to origin and destruction but not others who are contrary to them.

 

Ca. Su.XI.28 According to religious scriptures and those who are devoid of defects, freedom from rebirth is not mentioned for those who have not overcome their mental defects.

 

I have been searching more explanation of the Vedic cosmology--with special reference to the hierarchy of beings in the universe. Aside from gods, goddesses, and named deities the Ayurvedic literature gives only a few different words for spiritual entities-- but the VS Apte Sanskrit - English Dictionary gives the same translation for all--spirit or ghost. In discussing this topic with a Buddhist friend I've learned the there is rather rich detail of this topic in that literature. Another student pointed me to the works of Mitchell Gibson, MD, who has written in considerable detail and elaboration on this topic (see www.tybro.com). So part of my quest of understanding has included reading modern author's versions of the case for spiritual existence and this month I refer you to two that help corroborate the ancient view of life as spirit:

 

Life After Life by Raymond Moody was written in 1975 and was seemingly an effort to establish the experiential basis for life as more than the material body. The author declares on page 5 that he is not trying to establish that there is life after death, which he feels is impossible. Descriptions of experiences were from three categories surrounding death: accounts from those pronounced dead, those who had near-death experiences, and those who were told about dying from those dying. Common to these reports are many of the following themes: the experience was ineffable; often the person heard voices pronouncing his/her death; they report feelings of peace and quiet; unusual auditory experiences were reported near the time of death; the subject had the feeling of traveling through a dark tunnel; others reported being out one's body--usually seeing it from above; many met friends or family members already deceased; a Being of light often met and talked with the person; many reported experiencing a life review; many reported the sense of the existence of a border or limit to be crossed-so to speak; many tell of conflicted desires about "coming back" into the body. These themes, though not experienced by all combine to give a fuller picture of the death event and what it entails. By implication there is a condition of experiencing and knowing beyond the boundary of the physical body and its senses.

 

What's Going On?, by Joseph Chiappalone, MD is a work of philosophy rather than of experience. The author began writing on the spiritual after "biding his time for 20 years as a medical doctor until his "real work" was to begin. I find interesting his detailed accounting of the structure of the "universe" (pp.78-83)--

"There is a hierarchy (ladder) of consciousness and creation. Basically, various kinds of energy exist and these are organised into various structures and consciousnesses and levels. As evolution occurs, the function becomes more complex and the responsibility becomes greater. Primordial energy from a never-ending pool is used to create Permanent Atom Beings. These Permanent Atom Beings evolve in this sector of creation through seven stages, each stage has seven sub-levels. In this universe the classes of consciousness are: mineral, vegetable, animal, human, spiritual, galactic, universal. An ABSOLUTE creator manifest the universe. There are many Absolute creators. Each controls 7 universes which form a Super-universe. Seven Absolutes, each with seven universe, share the same vibrational dimension and together forma  group containing 49 universes. This group is controlled collectively by a HIGHER ABSOLUTE Creator. Three Higher Absolute with 147 universes under their administration form a SECTOR of creation. They in turn are responsible to a SUPREME controller. The three Higher Absolutes from the PRIMARY COUNCIL form the sector. In this universe, the Christ Light that has been received on occasion has originated from the third Higher Absolute of this Primary Council." ..... 

 

This Sector of Creation is based on the number 7:

There are 7 universes per Absolute

7 Absolutes per Higher Absolute

7 Kingdoms in each universe

7 sub-levels in each level

7 colors with 7 sub-colors in the rays of manifestation

7 musical notes for manifestation

7 Special creators

7 eras for each universe

 

The universe we live in has been called a "celestial error." That is, a certain consciousness polarized during creation and a negative aspect of it took control and ordered things according to its will and against the Divine Plan. The author declares that what is going on in the world today is the war of essences--good and evil. The similarity with Christian dogma ends here as all of suffering and disease and unhappiness is caused by the Evil Essence. Karma and maya are the result of the plan to enslave man for the evil essence's purpose and survival. The author states that formerly "human" beings had no digestive, reproductive, eliminative systems. In other universes no life form survives by predation on any other life form. He argues that no creator could plan a system where these activities / suffering are innate. There is a certain compelling logic to this position. According to Chiappalone the resolution of the war of essences is at hand and must end with the destruction of the physical planet as we know it. Chiappalone says that the end times are at hand and will result in the final and ultimate destruction of evil. The book was revised after the first Gulf War so his time frame is for the very near future.

 

This work dovetails into a cluster of predictions for this millennium--Mayan calendar, Hopi Indians, Merlin the philosopher/psychic, Book of Revelations, Edgar Cayce, Michael Gordon Scallian, and numerous others have made predictions for a new age of the Golden Age or Age of Enlightenment. While Chiappalone's message sounds dour it's really about the end of suffering and disease  and killing and so on. It's about seeking the Light, which was Maharishi's message for more than 6 decades. We all have to make a choice.

Be well.......

 

The Ayurvedist

 

 

Other Readings of Related Interest:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Ultimate Journey by Robert Monroe

 

 


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