Health News

Has The Ultimate Cancer Cure
Been Found In India?

Organically grown herbs are just what the doctor ordered

Fluoridated water and health

Fluoridation Chemicals Contribute
To Highest Levels Of Arsenic

Fine Gael has pledged to end the controversial compulsory practice

Water Pollution

Artificial sweeteners warning!

Stevia is natural, sweeter than sugar -- and has no calories.  

chilli, chickens and salmonella


EU bid to list all food additives on labels

Organic Food Is Better For You,
UK Farm Group Says

Darina Allen: sterilants.


Comfrey: healing from weeds

Reasons to be cheerful

Research shows effectiveness of natural arthritis treatment

Scientists Discover Cure
For Arthritis

Chicken soup for colds

Alternative for the head lice treatment 

New Study supports 
St. John's Wort

MS Ireland

Hazardous Chemicals Found
In Childcare And Home Products

Irish Indep. 7th Sept. Food labels

Comprehensive food labels giving consumers better protection against allergenic ingredients are being proposed by the European Commission. The Commission's proposal means all ingredients intentionally added will have to be included on the label, with very limited exceptions "to avoid absurdities or over regulation". It also establishes a list of ingredients liable to cause allergies.

Meanwhile the Food and Safety Authority warned yesterday that tighter regulations for fruit and vegetable produce are needed to protect consumer from pesticide poisoning.

Organically grown herbs are just what the doctor ordered organic dairy, David Storey

When it comes to herbal medicines, organic methods are accepted as the only system of growing. It makes no sense for  an individual to be taking a special herb for some medical condition if that herb has been sprayed with potentially dangerous chemicals during its lifetime. One of the biggest selling herbal remedy in Ireland is echinacea. a perennial plant that grows one or two feet in height, its is reputed to strengthen the immune system and reduce the frequency and severity of colds and of the 'flu. It increases the number of white cells in the body. It is a easy crop to grow, says Ted Mole , who grows the crop in Co. Roscommon. Most of the echinacea drops taken in this country are from plants grown in Switzerland by Bioforce.

Alcohol is used to extract the essence of the plant from the leaves and from the roots. After the process, there is a lot of the plant left over and this is composted and used to furtilise the next season's crop. Echinacea thrives on its own compost. In this it resembles the Tomato plant, Whatever a person might think about organic agriculture, it is in the production of health and medical products that organic production seems entirely logical. Plants grown with artificial fertiliser will only have up to four trace elements in their composition, yet there are 17 naturally occurring trace elements which you will get in organically grown plants or in plants growing in the wild.
The other area where organically grown is becoming the consumer's first choice is in baby food. In Britain, it's the fastest-growing organic product. However, there are an increasing number of consumers who, though they are neither infants nor ill, believe they are entitled to organic food as well.


Organic Food Is Better For You,
UK Farm Group Says

By Elizabeth Piper


LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should stop treating people like laboratory animals and start producing more natural organic food products that are safer and healthier, a report said on Monday.

The report by the Soil Association, which campaigns for organic agriculture, rejected claims by some food experts that organic food was no better for the public than most of the products found on supermarket shelves.

It said organically produced fruit, vegetables, meat and crops had steered clear of a raft of British food scares, including mad cow disease, and was a healthier option that shunned additives and most pesticides.

``It is almost as if consumers have become laboratory animals in the huge experiment that is industrialized agriculture, storing up untold health problems for the future,'' Patrick Holden, director of the association, said in the report.

``On average we found that organic crops are not only higher in vitamin C and essential minerals, but also higher in phytonutrients -- compounds which protect plants from pests and disease and are often beneficial in the treatment of cancer.''

The report, based on 400 published papers comparing organic with non-organic food, said more research was needed but the evidence suggested widespread organic crop cultivation could boost the public's health and well-being.


UK consumers have been shaken by a series of food scares, including E-coli, salmonella and mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which has spread from Britain to other parts of Europe.

The government has also started looking at alternatives to post-World War Two intensive farming methods, which are also blamed for the UK's latest foot-and-mouth disease epidemic.

But organic farming has been questioned, with the head of the Food Standards Agency, the UK's food safety watchdog, saying last year that there was not enough evidence to support claims that organic food was better for the public.

The Soil Association said its report had now redressed the balance.

``This report contradicts Sir John Krebs of the Food Standards Agency, who said last year that there was not enough information available to be able to say that organic food is nutritionally different from non-organic food,'' Holden said.

It also said intensive farming methods had drained the goodness out of everyday produce like fruit and vegetables.

Other food experts agreed with the report and demanded the government invest more in organic production and research.

``Eating organic is neither a fad nor a luxury,'' Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, said.

``This comprehensive scientific assessment shows that it is a necessity.''


Has The Ultimate Cancer Cure
Been Found In India?

The Hindustan Times (6-3-01)


HYDERABAAD - Indian cancer researchers have taken a giant step on the road to discovering the ultimate cancer cure by developing a drug that selectively targets the cancer cells without harming the healthy ones.
Researchers in Kolkata claim that patients in "very advanced stages" of cancer for whom all other treatments had failed have been brought back to "excellent" health with the help of a drug formulation they have developed after research spanning more than a decade.
"We have what we think magic bullet against cancer," says Manju Ray, a biochemist at the Indian Association of the Cultivation of Science (IACS) where the drug was developed under a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Most currently available anti-cancer drugs are toxic because they also damage the normal cells. Ray says the IACS formulation, containing "Methylglyoxal" as the lead ingredient, combats only the diseased cells, the cherished goal of cancer researchers worldwide. Methylglyoxal is a metabolite in the human body produced during glucose breakdown. Others involved in the project are Swapna Ghosh of IACS, Manoj Kar and Subhankar Ray of the University College of Science, and Santajit Datta, a medical practitioner. Results of human trial conducted by them with the new drug have recently appeared in the Indian Journal of Physics.

While Americans are going ga-ga with their new anti-cancer drug "Glivec" - that was featured on the cover of May 28 issue of Time magazine - the low-profile, cash-strapped Kolkata researchers have been working quietly for over a decade shuning publicity until they obtained proof from human trials nine weeks ago. According to their published paper, the Methylglyoxal-based forumulation had "a dramatic positive effect on the patients".

For instance, the condition of 11 out of the 19 patients treated - most of them in a very advanced stage when the treatment began -- are now stated to be in "excellent physical condition". Five are in stable condition and only three died during the course of the study.Since the submission of the paper, the number of patients treated has crossed 40 mark with more than 70 per cent success, according to Manju Ray.Those whose health returned to "excellent" condition after treatment with Methylglyoxal included patients in "a very advanced stages" of colon cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cancers of ovary, breast, liver, lung, bone, gall bladder, pancreas and oral cavity.
Methylglyoxal inactivates the enzyme (Glyceraldehyde-3- Phosphate Dehydrogenase) needed for ATP production in cancer cells and thereby starves tem to death. Normal cells remain unaffected."


Kerry's eye 19th July 2001

Kerry is on the road- make it a safe one by Padraig Kennelly

Winning the Minor and Senior Munster Football Championship gives a fillip to the moral of the Kingdom. In football terms a year in which Kerry does not get out of Munster to compete in Croke Park is not regarded as a good year.
Now that we are out of Munster and on the road it should help to counteract the depression that at this time of year seems to affect many young people and takes the lives of a few. In a country were excessive alcohol and taking of illegal drugs has become very serious, we need positive indicators, so that minds can stay focused on the better aspects of live.  The changing habits of young people has increased the number of them who drink spirits rather than beer.   The Minister for health has launched a campaign to reduce the ill-effects of alcohol for young people. It cannot be a coincidence, after having interviewed student bodies, college authorities in the drink marketing concerns, that no move is being made to curb the free vouchers for drinks loaded on students returning to college in September. It surely must be seen as an effort to turn non drinkers into possible alcoholics. The constituents of cigarettes were analyzed to identify more than 1000 chemicals, many of which are more powerful than nicotine in creating cigarette addicts. Is heavy tax on alcoholic drinks preventing the Government carrying out a similar analysis of beers and spirits to ensure that the manufacturers are not including items to create addictiveness and to undermine health of the consumer?
Any week you look at your local papers you will find details of young people charged in court for collapsing on the roadway due to alcohol. This is a new phenomenon. Beer used not have that effect on drinkers. It's time that the constituents were examined. Having minor and senior football teams on their way to national honors will help focus minds on sport and healthy living. The marketing forces of alcoholic drinks should not strive too hard to destroy the moral fiber of the youth of the country.


Toxic Playground - Play Structures
Made Of Arsenic-Treated Wood

By Jeffrey Kluger

Time Magazine,8816,166726,00.html


If there's one thing wood knows how to do, it's rot. Expose lumber to the elements, and within as few as five years, sun, rain, termites and fungus can reduce it to pulp. That's why builders were so enthusiastic in the 1970s when the lumber industry introduced pressure-treated boards--ordinary planks and posts injected with an extraordinary preservative known as CCA that can extend the life of wood fivefold, eliminating repairs and saving millions of trees annually. What got less attention at the time is the fact that CCA stands for chromated copper arsenate--a form of arsenic. And that's turned out to be a problem.

Though CCA is infused deep into the fibers of wood under very high pressure, the poison--which keeps the insects away--now seems to be leaching out. It's bad enough if decks, docks and maybe even a few picnic tables begin sweating arsenic, but the toxin was also widely used in children's playgrounds,

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency announced that starting in the fall, CCA-treated lumber sold in the U.S. will contain a warning label, and stores will be provided with stickers and signs for their displays.. In Florida, dozens of playgrounds have been shut down, and Governor Jeb Bush has ordered a state-run wood-treatment plant to switch to another preservative. While adults wrestle with the politics of the problem, however, it's kids who may be paying the ultimate price.

In Florida alone, nearly 30,000 tons of arsenic are believed to be at large. Investigators testing soil in the state's playgrounds have found arsenic levels far higher than hazardous-waste experts consider safe. Prolonged exposure can lead to nerve damage, dizziness and numbness, as well as increased risk of bladder, lung and skin cancer.

Nine other nations, including Sweden, Germany, Vietnam and Indonesia, have banned or restricted CCA use.


MS Ireland
Tralee branch 087-2975087 e-mail:

May 2001,

Ms patients fail to get proper care,

People with chronic neurological disabilities are being seriously overlooked and are not getting the level of care that they urgently require, it has been claimed. 

A startling report by the Irish Neurological Association has found that a large percentage of people with MS and motor neurone disease are refused medical cards and rarely receive tax exemptions for disabled drivers. It said the provision of care is totally inadequate.


Saturday, May 19, 2001

Darina Allen says sterilants allow bacteria to flourish

By Sean Keane

One of the country's best known chefs and food writers, Darina Allen, said she would not allow sterilizing agents or antibacterial products to be used in her cookery school at Ballymaloe in Co Cork.

"I have banned my staff from using them and have strongly advised them not to use them in their own homes either," she told an environmental health conference in Kilkenny yesterday.

She claimed that by using the products, kitchen staff were killing good bacteria as well as bad bugs, and allowing highly resistant strains of bacteria which were untreatable to flourish. "In my opinion there is no substitute for plenty of hot water, soap and a good scrubbing brush."

Environmental Health Officers' Association press officer, Ms Ann Marie Part said, however, the use of such sterilants was recommended by them but was not mandatory. "We have always recommended that people use hot water to sterilise equipment," she added.

Ms Allen said, however, the use of sterilants and anti-bacterial products in UK hospitals had led to "a positive deterioration of hygiene standards". She added that plastic gloves were not used at Ballymaloe. "I'd rather insist that people wash their hands on a regular basis," she said. She claimed the current BSE crisis would look like a picnic compared to what was coming down the line. She said the use of antibiotics in food production as prophylactics (preventing disease) or as growth promoters would soon dominate the world food industry like no other issue.

Ms Allen said these drugs were entering the food chain and were lowering natural human resistance to infection. The problem in her opinion was out of control. Small, successful food producers faced extinction if the "current mindless and politically motivated drive towards the ultimate regulation is allowed to go unchecked", Ms Allen said. She attacked the new risk management system operated by the health board. It was inefficient and in some cases counterproductive, she claimed. Criticising the new hazard analysis critical control point regulations, she said they were silly to the point of folly.



Comfrey by Joe Kennedy,


I first heard of Russian comfrey from a man whose skills are scarce in today's world. He taught me how to swing a scythe properly and my sons to shoot straight, paunch rabbits and make a wire trace to catch pike.

In a ditch dug, drain-piped and leveled by a JCB, several exotic-looking plants had emerged in sturdy growth and were eventually to display clusters of blue or purple flowers drooping on hairy stems and which were, I was to learn later, vigorous self -seeders. The plant had traveled through that drain ditch for 100 years or more and from who knows where to a new soft bed at the end of what was to become a vegetable garden. Russian comfrey? What about Irish comfrey? A little patient research was required.

When the hens showed interest in it and when I learned that a fairly strapped family had used it as a forage plant and had raised a handful of turkeys on it for the Christmas market I began to realise that here was something more than a mere weed.


Its modern history goes back to none other than the legendary Henry Doubleday who in Victoria's time imported plants from Russia with the idea of making a type of glue from the gooey roots for the postage stamps. This was not a great success so Henry fed the comfrey to his livestock and wrote about it. To make a long story short Laurence Hills in the fifties traced Henry's roots and old comfrey and founded the Henry Doubleday Research Station to educate organic gardeners about the potassium-rich properties of comfrey leaves.

I first had borage in a summer drink at a garden party given by a man who was an enthusiastic herbalist. A gin-and-comfrey, then. I learned that comfrey (symphytum officinale), of the gossamer hairs that catch the dew, is of the borage family and can be traced to Greek and Roman civilizations. Pliny mentions a healing water plant. Its name mean to "grow together" and that's the reason the ancient apothecaries used paste from it's root- to knit bones, flesh wounds and abrasions. It is still in use as a family remedy to this day. Inquire. I have discovered its inclusion in the British Parmaceutical Codex. Its properties include allantoin which promotes healing in connective tissue. All that and feeding fowl too. Not quite. Soak a bag of leaves in a bucket of water until it turns brown. There's no better green manure for tomatoes.

Reasons to be cheerful

It may be that students' depression is caused by poor diet, with stress( and medication) merely aggravating it. You might find that if you stop eating junk and processed foods and eat meals that are fresh prepared from organic food the depression will lift. it is a safer way of dealing with the problem than taking drugs, prescribed or otherwise.

I say this as a "chronic depressive" who has not had a depressed day since I adopted this way of eating four years ago. 


At the hearth of people's experience of depression lie feeling of guilt and self reproach. This is because the depressed state features fantasies( not necessarily true) of having damaged or destroyed something that you love. Depression is therefore closely connected with aggression, anger and rage. 

our growing understanding that emotional and social experience are linked is very helpful here. Many groups in society have good reason to feel angry: poor people, those with health problems, workers in soul-destroying jobs and citizens appalled at what we are doing to the environment. You don't have to suffer directly to be angry at such collective problems.

While we continue to see depression as a matter for individuals, the incidence of it will continue to rise.

Prof. Andrew Samuels

New Study supports St. John's Wort

New research indicates the herb St. John's Wort, popular as a remedy for depression, is as effective as conventional drugs and has fewer side effects.

A report recently published in The British Medical Journal says doctors should prescribe the herb as a "first choice" treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression. St. Johns Wort is only available on prescription in Ireland due to Draconian Legislation introduced early this year. We remain the only country to take this action.


Ir.Times 11/7/01

The Irish Medicines board recently established a commitee, made up of medical experts and other interested parties, to investigate herbal remedies.

Tom McGuinn, chef pharmacist at the department of Health, coincided with publications, which found that garlic, gingko and ginseng could cause bleeding when combined with commonly prescribed drugs used in surgery, ephedra could cause irregular heartbeat, ginseng may exacerbate low blood sugar, kava and valerian could exaggerate the impact of anaesthetics and st john's wort could speed up the metabolism and echinacea posed risk of poor wound healing and infection.



It's important that people are not browbeaten into turning their backs on herbal medicine. They should inform themselves and make sure their GPs are also properly informed, which very few are, says TD Mr. Trevor Sargent.




Hazardous Chemicals Found
In Childcare And Home Products    

The Greenpeace testing results released today showed that, because there is a wide variety of PVC home products which contain hazardous additives, a family is exposed daily to multiple sources that exceed the exposure from a single product. Many of the measures being proposed to deal with the hazards of the additives in PVC in various countries around the world are based on trying to calculate the degree of exposure that is "safe" for children.

PVC's need for chemical additives is only part of its hazard - its lifecycle has serious environmental and health consequences. Together, PVC manufacture and disposal represent one of the largest sources of dioxin. Dioxin is a confirmed human cancer-causing substance, and one of the most potent toxins known to man. For these reasons, Greenpeace advocates the phase-out of all PVC plastics.

Greenpeace also recently unveiled an international on line database of PVC free products for the construction industry and do-it-yourself enthusiasts. The database features over 200 products of companies in 17 countries.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Maureen Penjueli, Greenpeace International, tel.+44 207 865 82 46 Ruth Stringer, Greenpeace Research Laboratories, tel.+44 1392 263 917 Luisa Colasimone, Greenpeace Communications, mobile +31 6 21 29 69 20

Spicy Chicken, The answer to salmonella-contaminated chicken may lie in chilli pepper, not antibiotics.

Audrey McElroy of Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, gave chickens feed laced with capsaicin, the chemical that gives chilli its bite. The birds were then dosed with Salmonella enteritidis. The spicy food almost halved the number of birds carrying the germs in their internal organs.

Birds appear not to have the receptors to the hot, pungent part of the peppers. it appears not to affect them in any way. Fortunately for those averse to spicy food, a taste panel found the chilli flavour did not end up in the meat.

chicken soup contains a number of substances, including an anti-inflammatory mechanism, that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
A challenge outside of the normal realm of scientific research, and curiosity about the long-touted folk medicine, first led a University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) physician/researcher to embark upon an off-beat study to see if the soup may indeed have medicinal value

The study focus was to find out if the movement of neutrophils – the most common white cell in the blood that defends the body against infection – would be blocked or reduced by chicken soup. Researchers suspect the reduction in movement of neutrophils may reduce activity in the upper respiratory tract that can cause symptoms associated with a cold.



Colds are the result of infection in the upper respiratory tract, which causes inflammation. Although colds are not completely understood, it is believed the inflammation contributes to cold symptoms.

The researchers were not able to identify the exact ingredient or ingredients in the soup that made it effective against fighting colds but theorize it may be a combination of ingredients in the soup that work together to have beneficial effects. “All vegetables and the soup had activity,” Dr. Rennard said. “I think it’s the concoction.”

Known as “Grandma’s soup,” the recipe includes chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley, salt and pepper



Alternative for the head lice treatment 

Marion Moses, M.D., president of the Pesticide Education Center in San Francisco, recommends "an enzyme-based shampoo that works by loosening the 'glue' that attaches the nit (egg) to the hair and destroys the exoskeleton (outside shell) of the nit by dissolving its protective coating." The product called Not Nice to Lice, is composed of; filtered and purified water and natural enzyme cleaners including protease, lipase, cellulase and amylase. Since the insect produces the same enzymes that are used in the product, lice cannot develop a resistance to them.


Fluoridated water and health


"Children under three should never use fluoridated toothpaste. Or drink fluoridated water. In fluoridated areas, people should never use fluoride supplements. For decades, anti-fluoride activists have blamed fluoride (which is only slightly less poisonous than arsenic) for a variety of problems, including osteoporosis, bone cancer, kidney problems, arthritis, genetic damage and birth defects, premature aging, lowered intelligence, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Although there are numerous studies suggesting links between fluoride and various illnesses, pro-fluoridationists have always contended - correctly - that the exact effects of long-term fluoridation on our bodies have not been established beyond a shadow of a doubt.




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