Although cancer of the prostate is certainly not a new disease, many specialists in this field note what they believe to be a sharp increase in incidence of this often-deadly illness. While citing behavioral factors--smoking, drug use, stress, sedentary lifestyle--many experts look to diet as a major contributing factor. There appears to be a direct link between diets high in fat and calories and low in nutrition, and the current incidence of prostate cancer (particularly in America).
What do these well-known men all have in common? Actor Bill Bixby, poet Robert Frost, novelist Langston Hughes, 1960s counterculture icon Timothy Leary, poet Pablo Neruda, actor Jerry Orbach, Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, guitarist Johnny Ramone, actor Telly Savalas, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and musician Frank Zappa.
Yes, they all died from prostate cancer.
Although cancer of the prostate is certainly not a new disease (though until recent years was rarely openly discussed), many specialists in this field note what they believe to be a sharp increase in incidence of this often-deadly illness. While citing behavioral factors--smoking, drug use, stress, sedentary lifestyle--many experts look to diet as a major contributing factor. There appears to be a direct link between diets high in fat and calories and low in nutrition, and the current incidence of prostate cancer (particularly in America).
As most herbalists agree, nature provides a host of natural sources to acquire the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed to fend off disease--and even reserve its effects. Here are a few of the most widely recognized herbs known to promote prostate health, fend off prostate illness, and benefit those men already suffering symptoms of prostate cancer.
> Saw Palmetto:
To date, saw palmetto is the most well studied, well known, and widely used natural product to promote prostate health. A small palm which normally grows in sandy tropical and semi-tropical coastal lands and reaches a height of around 2–4 m (3–6 ft), the fruit of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruit have been the subject of intensive research for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). A 3-year German study showed that saw palmetto significantly promoted prostate health in 73% of the participants and generally improves prostate health by alleviating many common symptoms such as frequent uniation, nighttime urination, and reduced urine flow.
Originating in South America, the tomato spread throughout the world following Spanish colonization, with many varieties now grown in various natural and hothouse settings. A member of the nightshade family, this perennial typically grows to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and often sprawls over the ground, vining over other plants. Exceptionally high in the carotine lycopene, tomato consumption has been proven to provide important anti-oxidants against free radicals that attack the prostate and lead to prostate disease. Many cultures of the world whose diets are high in tomato consumption have lower incidence of prostate concer than those that do not.
> Crinum Latifolium:
Just recently coming into the international spotlight, this native Vietnamese plant has been revered for centuries in Southeast Asia, shown to be a potent herbal medicinal for the prostate (and ovaries, as well). Commonly referred to as the "Medicine for the King's Palace," crinum latifolium is a rosette-like perennial that sprouts from a bulb, growing to a height of about 2 meters (6 ½ feet), with long, linear leaves and showy white flowers arranged in an umbel. Taken to enhance cell-mediated immunity, crinum latifolium is also used in cases of hypoxia, inflammation, detoxification, tissue regeneration, and hormone balancing, making it highly effective for treating cancer of the prostate and promoting prostate health.
Since the mid-1970s, studies have been conducted to verify the reported curative powers of graviola. A broadleaf flowering evergreen native to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, one of the earliest studies was performed by the National Cancer Institute, which concluded that graviola leaves, stems, and fruit seeds produce a special set of chemicals called annonaceous acetogenins which have shown to have significant anti-tumorous and anti-cancerous properties which can actively kill various types of cancer cells (without harming healthy cells). Over the past three decades, it has proven remarkably valuable to many prostate cancer sufferers.
> Stinging Nettle:
Native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America, this perennial typically grows to 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 ft), in height, with numerous small greenish or brownish flowers, with very hairy leaves and stems that “sting” when touched--transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT or serotonin, and possibly, formic acid. With a long history of curative uses, it has been widely used to increase urine output, and in that stinging nettle is a natural diuretic, this herb can help alleviate some of the urinary difficulties that are consistent with prostate enlargement (often a precursor to cancer). Stinging nettle can also slow the rate of growth of the prostate and generally promote prostate health.
> Red Clover:
A member of the pea family, red clover is short-lived perennial that typically grows to 20–80 cm ( 8-32”) tall with three leaflets, and flowers that are dark pink with a paler base, produced in a dense inflorescence. Equally associated with female ailments, red clover has been shown to contain high concentrations of several powerful antioxidants that fight off cancerous growths, control the male sex hormone DHT, while inhibiting enlargement of the prostate gland and the symptoms that accompany it. Used as a general tonic by both men and women of many Native American groups for centuries, its curative properties have been studied by American scientists since the 19th Century.
Two quite distinctively different plants, one (plantago, but known as plantain), a relatively common roadside meadowland plant found in cooler climates that produces elliptic leaves and small spikes of very small flowers, and one (plantain), a towering banana-like fruit-bearing plant native to many tropical and semi-tropical regions of the world, both have histories of providing indigenous cultures relief from prostate-related ailments. Used by numerous cultures at the first sign of prostatitis (dark yellow, red, cloudy, or bloody urine), plantago and plantain are both considered to be cooling herbs which work effectively on bladder conditions. Plantago, is often combination with dandelion (another roadside weed), to speed recovery and promote prostate health.
Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, Reader's Digest Association
The Healing Foods, P. H. Hausman & J. B. Hurley
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