Friday, March 19, 2010
Can Cordyceps Really Prevent Cancer?
One of the newsletters I subscribe to came with this headline, Cordyceps prevents cancer, says new research. Now I think this supplement is just great (you'll find it in Shakeology), but the hyperbole of the title caused me to read more in skepticism than anticipation.
Clicking through, I found the title of the actual article was far more toned down, now calling cordyceps an effective cancer treatment, thus lumping it in with more holistic changes like exercise and improving your diet. However, the up shot is that the article was based on a true scientific study. Not only that, it was a study focused on cordycepin, the pharmaceutical version of the plant, meaning that it was probably well funded and meticulous.
“Though the research focused primarily on cordycepin, it ultimately revealed the powerful effects of cordyceps in preventing and treating cancer. The study is set to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and its authors hope that the findings will spark further research into the potential uses for cordyceps as a cancer treatment.”
While the study didn’t validate the usefulness of cordycepin, it did find that “cordyceps inhibits protein development directly, essentially eliminating the ability of cancer cells to function and survive.” Provacative indeed.
For you hard line fans of western medicine I’ll warn that the article was written by a “hippie scientist” who has no lost love for the machine. For example,
“I know many TCM practitioners and several of them can actually read the ancient texts. One book written 2,000 years ago -- yes, that's 1,900 years before Big Pharma even existed -- teaches the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps.
Much of Big Pharma's modern effort has been focused on trying to isolate, pirate and patent ancient Chinese Medicine molecules. This is, of course, a form of "biopiracy" where U.S. corporations steal intellectual property from China and never pay a royalty to anyone. Interestingly, U.S. companies don't even consider this a form of stealing. I guess "our" theft is okay but "their" theft is illegal, huh?”
Regardless, it’s promising research that he’s touting. And the cool thing about eastern traditional medicine is that it is generally 100% safe—although I did see a kung fu movie where the protagonist was given a magic arm, something I would not recommend trying at home. There’s no downside, other than a minimal cost, to experimenting with these remedies to see how they work for you.