This day and age, our immune systems need as much help as they can get. There's just way too much unavoidable toxicity and stress in our lives. And it needs to be dealt with, not ignored. So it makes good sense to take some extra measures to protect yourself. One of the things that concerns most people is cancer. So is there some natural remedy out there that's been proven to help the way the immune system attacks and controls cancer? It's easier than you think.
One of the most critical components of the immune system is a cell called the dendritic cell. Dendritic cells are the cells that start the whole immune reaction process. If there aren't any dendritic cells, there won't be an immune system reaction to anything! Dendritic cells like to hang out in all those places where the immune system is needed the most. This would include the skin, the throat and nose, the lungs, the stomach, and the intestines. What are they doing there? They're looking for abnormal cells, such as cancer cells or cells infected with viruses. They are also looking for toxins, bacteria, fungi, etc — anything that can hurt us. And when they find one of these conditions, they activate the immune system so that it can kill and eliminate the infected or cancerous cells or any of infections or toxin agents it finds. In essence, your dendritic cells are the first responders to your entire immune system. Here's why this is important.
One of the most promising areas of cancer therapy is one that uses dendritic cells to activate the immune system to kill the cancer. For years now, doctors have been using a natural substance called IL-2 (interleukin-2) against certain cancers. They use it because IL-2 is a potent stimulator of dendritic-cell activity. Without IL-2 the dendritic cells will not function effectively. But IL-2 is not the only substance that can activate dendritic cells. There is another commonly used herb that the Chinese have been using for centuries that does the same thing. It is called astragulus.
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Scientists took a group of mice that had lung cancer. They were giving the mice special dendritic cells designed to kill the cancer. One group of mice just had the dendritic cells. A second group had the dendritic cells plus IL-2. And the third group had the dendritic cells plus astragulus. So how did they do?
The dendritic cells were much more effective at treating the cancers when they were combined with either IL-2 or astragulus. Not only did cancer growth significantly slow down, but the immune systems were strongly activated compared to the animals without IL-2 or astragulus. Here's what the researchers concluded about their results, "Both astragulus and IL-2 can enhance the anti-tumor metastasis action of dendritic cells and effectively promote the immune response of the tumor bearing host[patient], and therefore have obviously inhibitory effect on lung cancer metastasis in vivo[in live animals]. Their immune protective function in normal animals is even more evident." But there's a small problem.
IL-2 is sold as a drug. So only doctors can give it. And it's dangerous — not to mention expensive. No doctor in his right mind would give it to a patient just to prevent cancer. That's the bad news.
The good news is that astragulus extract is safe and you can buy it easily. And, in this study, it worked just as well as the IL-2. So if you have cancer, it makes all the sense in the world to take some astragulus extract as part of your overall treatment plan. But here's an even better idea. Take the astragulus before you get cancer. Take it as a preventive. According to this study, it's a potent activator of your dendritic cells and will help to protect you not only against cancer, but also against any other insult to your body, including toxins and infections.
Twenty some odd years ago, when I first developed my Super Immune QuickStart, I was sure to put in a full dose (300 mg in two scoops) of astragulus extract. I combined it with other immune stimulating herbs and nutrients as well as detoxifiers and antioxidants. I believe that along with a healthy diet, and regular exercise, it's an easy and very effective way for us to get that special boost that we need to deal with all the challenges that our bodies have these days. And now this research is suggesting that it might play a big role in both fighting and preventing cancer.
To your health, naturally,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Dong JC, Dong XH. Comparative study on effect of astragulus injection and interleukin-2 in enhancing anti-tumor metastasis action of dendrite cells. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2005 Mar;25(3):236-9.
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