FDA regulations and skin cancer salves.

rwja2004March 16, 2004


I was on the other board and they sent me over here. I don't understand why I can get my skin cancer salve from Australia, but not in the US. If someone sells herbs for medicine, what FDA regulations and labeling are they supposed to follow. Does anyone know?

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What salve is being sold with the claim that it cures skin cancer?

There are a lot of loopholes in the law dealing with supplements, but specific unproven claims that the product treats a particular disease are not supposed to be allowed.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2004 at 7:46AM
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Hi Rwja,
I can see the problem why you must import herbal skin salves - as plain as day.
You asked where to find skin cancer salve in the US.
Eric freaked; "what salve is being sold with the claim that it cures cancer?"
How did a request for a salve become a "claim to cure cancer"? What a leap into the police state.
The "taboo" stuff can be found at google.com under black salve; and ingredients are easily discovered by searching.

What on earth is wrong with soothing bothersome sores with an herbal salve?
Is it better to force people to buy drugstore stuff with dyes and other questionable chemicals?
I'd rather look up the "folklore" surrounding herbs and weeds than try to discern what's in factory-made OTC "remedies".

When a mole on my forehead kept bothering me I put some "tiger balm" on it at night. Next day, the crust just fell off; leaving a small, flat spot that doesn't bother me.

There are many weeds growing in your yard that can be helpful for a variety of situations. Also plants and flowers. I recommend Peterson's Field Guide to "medicinal" plants and flowers. Beautiful color photos and so much info in a small paperback.

Do your own research and learn that "every" plant has its characteristics. Synthetic, perverted substances are only as worthy as those who make, promote and control them.

Just because "they" say something, doesn't mean it's true -
No matter how many times "they" say it, nor the force behind their words.
No thanks, I'll stick with the natural plants.
Please don't infringe on my god-given rights.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2004 at 9:36AM
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I was e-mailed (apparently by the original poster) and directed to an e-bay auction for the salve in question.

The product is clearly being marketed for self-administration by people with skin cancer, in a manner that no responsible herbalist could approve.

There are no studies cited; the seller rejects the idea that any controlled research is necessary and instead supplies testimonials like this one:

"It digs out Carcinoma and Melanomas without harming the surrounding tissue, which means you can put it on a spot that you might be worried about and if its not Cancerous it will do nothing, the perfect solution."

The claim is nonsense. There is no salve in existence that will do this. Even if the product is caustic enough to indiscriminately burn away some skin layers (the seller admits that "scaring" may result), there is no way for a user to tell that the entire lesion has been removed. Especially in the case of melanomas, removing only the superficial part of a lesion while the deep tumor is left behind, is likely to result in metastasis and death.

Marketing this product is extremely irresponsible.

On the subject of a "leap into a police state": One can view government action to remove ineffective, faulty and downright dangerous products from the marketplace as an infringment upon one's rights, or as a way to protect consumers from misinformed and/or unscrupulous sellers. I take the latter view.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 10:21AM
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MountainGarden(Zone 4-5 in NY)

What you are probably referring to is what is known as CANSEMA SALVE -- which is made with BLOODROOT.

There are a few sites on the web that deal with this -- one that even has very graphic photos of one man's own usage. It is a salve that is applied for a day or two and only eats away at cancerous tissue and then makes an eschar (cancer scab)over time. The salve is removed and the waiting time begins -- in which this becomes a wound that falls off, leaves a "crater" and the new skin and tissue grow. Sounds easy -- until you look at the pictures of those that have done it.

I have never tried it -- but hear it can be time-consuming and for some it is painful... but I still think it beats what the doctors do for such matters.

When it comes to your own health -- only YOU can be the judge as to how far you will go. There is also a capsule type of the same herbs for internal use.

Here are some links:
(Be ready to see some graphic photos:)





I know that the FDA has shut down some of these suppliers -- but it is not impossible to find-- but may be a challenge. Here is one link on how to make yourself:

But by far the best thing you can do is to change your diet drastically and cleanse your blood to start....treating your skin is just one way.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 8:59PM
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There is no salve on the market that distinguishes between cancerous and benign tissue, and magically burns away only the "bad stuff".

If you apply a caustic salve to a malignant skin tumor, you have no way of knowing whether you got it all (at the price of whatever scars or infection are caused by the application), or whether a deep remnant is going to cause recurrence or metastasis of the lesion. By contrast, excision by what are usually simple surgical procedures makes it possible to get the entire tumor the first time and assure that the margins are clear, while assuring minimal scarring.
Burning off your skin in an attempt to avoid doctors sounds unnecessarily painful and disfiguring, as well as ineffective.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2004 at 8:34AM
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"only eats away at cancerous tissue" ... that is not what my botanical books say. Bloodroot is caustic and doesn't distinguish between normal tissue or diseased tissue. It eats it all away.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2004 at 9:47PM
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To clarify:
There are many types of salves with various ingredients.
Some are for soothing, cleansing and/or gentle healing.

Stronger salves that are sold or offered 'should' have explicit instructions included for use "only" on a specific area on the skin, if there is a potential caustic reaction. I've seen toothpicks and Q-tips advised for Cancema application, AVOIDING surrounding skin.
I've never seen any irresponsible advertising about salves anywhere - only cautions and "Kow-Towing" to the fda.

I cannot believe any knowlegeable herbalist is advertising recklessly. Or... maybe they are overnment "instigators" -plotting to further errode our natural health freedom with the "Heglian Theory".
If "they" want to destroy freedom-based laws;
they simply create a "problem" and offer you their pre-fabricated "solution"
It's happened previously - throughout history.
The "alphabet tyrannies" have been known to make their own laws and recruit a rabid bunch of well-compensated robotic militants who hate personal freedom. WHY????

As Eric continually states, you can maybe get a more precise and abrupt "cut/burn/poison" remedy from your doctor.
Only "doctors" can have "remedies" in today's police-state America.
Like "1984", certain words don't belong to us any longer.
They are the privilege of a certain few...

If you prefer the allopathic method, make sure the instruments and surgery are clean beyond question-
I've heard personally from nurses that autoclave heating doesn't kill the most dangerous bacteria and germs.
Also, know the proficiency of your "health care practitioner" and his/her many assistants, etc.
I believe I've studied and archived much more data about herbs and natural treatments than most allopathic doctors.
They are trained to sell pharmaceutical drugs and make money from expensive equipment.
Herbs don't pay handsomely, but they have their place in our self-reliant homes.

Then there's the travel time between general practitioners and "specialists", calls to your insurance, driving, giving blood/tissue at labs, waiting for files (x-rays, scans, tests), finding parking, waiting to be seen by the doctor, being shuffled thru nasty waiting rooms filled with more germs.
After that comes the "bad news" - the shocking bills. A simple problem, like a skin eruption, has exploded into thousands of dollars.
The real "bad news" is the callous and greedy "death warrant" the doctors give.
Of course, they have their 3 "M"s - mistresses, Mercedes and mansions to maintain.
Herbalists don't normally have that set of problems.
They explore the harmony of creation; not the exploitation and obfuscation of it.

My dear mommie never told me to "marry an herbalist".
She wanted me to marry a doctor and reside loftily "above the others". Sorry Mom!

I'm planning to grow my own blood root because it's a beautiful plant. I know what it is and how it works.
I advise getting some now; since it's obvious that the enemy of freedom has bloodroot as one of the next "demons", after ephedra.
Sneaky, stealthy, incremental nibbles against our access to God's gifts to us - healing herbs.

Instead of yammering on and on about the glories of the doctor cut/burn/poison methods; why don't the nay-sayers help provide more precise background on the "herbs" we are supposed to be discussing in this forum?????

This forum is about herbs and it's good to discuss potentially wrong advice.
It bothers me that some posters keep swerving the conversation away from plants and into the doctors' cut/burn/poison methods at every turn...

Let's offer more specific sources for information and avoid denouncing every herbal question/suggestion in favor of allopathic medicine.
Allopathic medicine is diametrically opposed to self-administered, natural, hygenic and God-given herbs.
Why? Money-Power -Murder could be the motivators here.
Where's my valerian???

I can't believe I came to this site to learn and share about herbs and instead see how one person has hi-jacked the threads off track with allopathic-worship.
Seems to be a trend in other herbal subjects - with this same person.

I pray that everyone interested in herbs isn't turned off and frightened by someone who insists that allopathic medicine should usurp natural healing.
You cannot continue to add poison to the body when most illnesses are merely the body's way of cleansing out poisons in the first place.

For a history of the FDA, read "Murder by Injection" by Eustace Mullins. There are many other worthy books on this subject, too.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 12:51PM
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In lieu of Hegelian theory and the "Money-Power-Murder" angle (interesting, but maybe a wee bit over the top), here's a summary from a recent paper in the Archives of Dermatology, looking at what happens to patients who try burning off their skin tumors:

"We report 4 cases from our practice in which escharotic agents (i.e. concoctions containing bloodroot) were used by patients to treat basal cell carcinomas in lieu of the recommended conventional treatment. One patient had a complete clinical response, but had a residual tumor on follow-up biopsy. A second patient successfully eradicated all tumors, but severe scarring ensued. A third patient disagreed with us regarding his care and was lost to follow-up. One patient presented with a nasal basal cell carcinoma that "healed" for several years following treatment elsewhere with an escharotic agent but recurred deeply and required an extensive resection. The lesion has since metastasized. CONCLUSIONS: Escharotic agents are available as herbal supplements and are being used by patients for the treatment of skin cancer. The efficacy of these agents is unproven and their content is unregulated. Serious consequences may result from their use. Conventional medicine has an excellent track record in treating skin cancer. Physicians should recommend against the use of escharotic agents for skin cancer, and the Food and Drug Administration should be given the authority to regulate their production and distribution."

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 2:25PM
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"It bothers me that some posters keep swerving the conversation away from plants and into the doctors' cut/burn/poison methods at every turn..."

And Canselma/bloodroot is not "burn"? Check the web for "Lance Armstrong" ... he owes his life and several Tour de France (bicycle racing) titles to surgery and chemotherapy.

I'm an experienced herbalist, as was my dad (also a pharmacist and Navy medic in WWII), and the man who trained me (a Salish medicine man). My sources of information are old medical and pharamcy books, from before the days of antibiotics (various Materia Medica books, old formularies, etc. The oldest is from the 1750s, the most useful from the early 1900s (the concept of clinicla trials and record keeping had finally sunk in). And the current modern research of course. But I will NOT blindly accept anything just because it's "traditoinal" ... smearing butter on burns was traditional and we now know it's harmful to the healing process.

There are many things herbal remedies are good for, and treating cancer is NOT one of them.

"I've heard personally from nurses that autoclave heating doesn't kill the most dangerous bacteria and germs. "
Care to mention some species names? I'm a microbiologist ... and I've never heard that a properly functioning autoclave fails to sterlize things.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 8:13AM
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It should also be noted that bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) populations are on the decline due to overharvesting and loss of habitat. It is a protected plant in New York State. According to a USDA publication: "Bloodroot is not currently under federal protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the agency is planning to evaluate bloodroot for listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II, due to suspected over-harvest for export (US Fish and Wildlife Service 2001)."

In addition to the health issues involved, anyone using this plant in an herbal remedy should be asking whether its source is unsustainable wild-harvesting.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 9:40AM
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Oh goodness - There are various companies offering bloodroot seeds.
Without digging through my files, I recall that these seeds are grown specifically for harvest & sale under optimum, earth-friendly conditions.
The goal of suppliers I've found is to preserve plants; not destroy wild-craft herbs.
Because some stamds of bloodroot are now barren, should no one propagate them?
That doesn't make any sense at all!

I don't instruct anyone to smear butter on burns, and am learning more from the "various Materia Medica books, old formularies, etc.
My background is not in pharmacy or allopathic training, but I have spent considerable time over the years learning about the benefits of plants.
I'm trying to be careful to not use any "wrong words", now that our lives are so controlled by an evil group beyond adequate description in this short post.

My problem is that all natural "healing" is now "for profit" and becoming increasingly regulated and unavailable to anyone who merely wants to learn about and use beneficial plants.
Must we always seek only drugstore goods and mutated stuff at the grocery store or wallyworld?
Is no one allowed to research, grow, use, promote herbs; other than government-condoned control mongers?

From what I've learned; synthetics fall short of the natural substances in effectiveness and safety.
There will always be "pro & con" about herbs, but the cons have the funds and an organized force (with questionable values).

The information I received about autoclaves that don't kill all bacteria was at a Nature's Sunshine meeting, where a nurse-couple shared their experiences.
I do not have the names of the bacteria handy.
My notes are in a box somewhere. Sorry.
They didn't seem like bumpkins.
They were older and had many years in nursing, plus a genuine concern about bacterial "left behind".

Suit yourselves.
We may all be on the same wavelength.
I truly want to help; just like you supposedly do, too.

On one side I see a monsterous beast that eschews, ridicules, regulates and strives to prohibit self-awareness, use and learning about all the plants our Heavenly Father (or goddess mother, gaia, for some) gave us. There are volumes of test results; but are they real?
Who paid for them? Is all background info available?
To me, the monster has an agenda against liberty.
I cannot muster up the "paperwork" put out by a well-financed cabal to dispute every detail they print in their groups.
Even if I could refute them; I would never find time to plant and use my herbs.
Maybe that's the plan.
Please get me off this treadwheel!

The other side is a small group of folks trying to learn this "hidden way" of herbs - with meager resources and many road-blocks.
There's a "war on drugs", while the presidential candidates and gov't stooges are pandering for votes with promises of drug money for seniors. (Isn't that illegal?)
More drugs are proving to be very dangerous (like Paxil).
Why can't people just be taught to use the natural herbs (weeds) in their yards to avoid the doctor and medications?
If you cannot see the "pocket digging" going on here, you need some eyebright...

I believe the old Patriarchs who lived some 800-900 years had a firm grasp on the usefulness of herbs.
Adam supposedly named them when he was in God's good graces.
I used "folklore" as a term only, to comply with the new "word-speak" - ala "1984".
Most drugs are derived from plants.
Standardization is merely a way for giant companies to remove yet another enterprise from our downtrodden land.
Look at "organic".. Now only the wealthy can grow and sell organic, after a lot of government gobbledegook. Puts lots of small farmers out of business, plus raises costs prohibitively for the modest consumer.
My point is that we may serve ourselves well to have open minds and share the knowledge about herbs.
Now, more than ever, I hope to make my own batch of "cancer salve" and learn more about it - not simply poo poo the notion and run to a doctor.

There may come the time when we wished we'd prepared better. Mary

    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 11:09AM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Anyone thinking of buying blood root seeds should investigate the conditions under which the seeds were collected and stored before sending money. Blood root seeds are hydrophyllic which means they cannot survive dry storage. They should be sown as soon as harvested; if not, they need to be stored in moist vermiculite until sown.

It also needs a complex stratification to break dormancy. After sowing, the seed trays need to be kept moist and warm for several months, then need several months of moist, cold conditions and then will germinate upon switching back to moist, warm conditions. It may take two years.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 1:25PM
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Mary -
"The information I received about autoclaves that don't kill all bacteria was at a Nature's Sunshine meeting, where a nurse-couple shared their experiences."

Ah ... truly a reliable source, especially as "Nature's Sunhsine" is on of those for-profit herbmongers you complained about in the same post.
http://www.naturessunshine.com/products/catalog/index.asp pretty much sums it up: if it's a trendy herb, they'll stuff it into something and sell it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 8:45AM
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Hi all,
I'm sorry if I seemed "overbearing" in my rant against allopathic medicine's financial "upper-hand" and possible sinister motives.
Maybe you'll let me blame it on my recent menopause onset... okay?

It's not good to get upset or negative.
Every day is a new awakening; with revelations, lessons, instructions, encouragement and reprimand.
My goal is to continue learning with a Spirit of Love.

Eric, I'm sorry that I also veered off the path of this discussion and was adversarial to you. Please forgive me.
Please understand that I am continually seeking and learning.

Also, I'm praying that there will be an evolution in medical care that will encourage self-responsibility.
Learning to use natural ways, instead of expensive insurance and letting someone else figure out what one needs.

My lament is that so many people really don't care.
Learning to avoid illness, to naturally boost their physical beings and how to "nip disease in the bud"-
should be foremost on everyone's mind.
It's a shame that most illnesses must reach a crisis before they are addressed; when extreme measures are dictated for recovery.

Thank you for your input and caring, as I learn.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 10:18AM
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Mary - We need both extremes to get a balance. I see no need to apologize. This is a herbalism forum. I wish that those who choose to visit just to disagree would try to accept that some of us desire to take responsibility, as you say, for our health issues rather than employ western medicine only.....I truly enjoy your rants - please rant on!!!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 11:10AM
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No problem, Mary. It was well, entertaining (in lieu of mistresses, mansions and Mercedes, I've decided that my lifestyle is more one of mulch, meatballs and Mazda ;).

I agree that stressing personal responsibility for good health is very important, particularly in regards to diet and exercise - areas where good advice often goes unheeded. There are a number of non-life threatening conditions that can be self-treated. As demonstrated here, malignant skin tumors are not among the conditions that can safely be dealt with by "taking personal responsibility".

You'll find that a number of knowledgable herbalists on this forum believe in working with, not against mainstream medicine to promote better health. They're the ones who point out contraindications to using certain herbal drugs, interactions with other medicines and situations where it is unwise to try to self-medicate. There are others, unfortunately, who are guided largely by hostility towards MDs and see herbalism as just one of many alternative therapies which are embraced as a way to express rejection of the health care system.

A certain amount of skepticism regarding standard medical treatments is good. It would be great if even a fraction of that skepticism could be directed towards purveyors of alternative wonder cures. Often posters demand that we accept without question claims based only on personal testimonials (which can come from people who never had the disease in question, who would have gotten better without any treatment, individuals who are actually salesmen for companies like Nature's Sunshine Products* with a financial
stake in badmouthing mainstream therapies, or non-existent patients).

*Nature's Sunshine, incidentally, is a multinational corporation that had $258 million in sales last year. I recently e-mailed them to ask what (if any) fraction of that amount is spent on research to make sure that their products are effective and safe. No answer yet.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 1:07PM
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Mulch, meatballs & Mazdas - Eric, you sound like you're in the my league...

About Nature's Sunshine - I attended their general herb class and was disappointed that it was geared ONLY to sales of their products.
The couple (both nurses) who mentioned autoclaves that don't destroy all the bacteria were fellow students - they did not seem to have any 'hidden agenda'.

I'm just "wary" about cleanliness, and if I need surgery, I'll pay extra for new, sterilized equipment.
What's that word? "Iatragenic"? = diseases spread in hospitals/clinics.

I'm not a rep for Nature's Sunshine for 2 reasons:
1) MLM is NOT for me.
Too many bad experiences.
Too much trust involved, with variables outside my control.
Too much greed generated that can destroy relationships.
I've worked "backstage" in several MLM's and watched the wealth entrusted to the company's coffers pervert the leaders every time.
NS may be an exception, with honorable leaders. I don't know.
2) NS products are sold in bulk to many "herbalists" and I wonder about the shelf life. I helped one "herb dr" move her NS inventory to a new location. $Thousands invested, and how old are the bottles?
I have some roots & seeds that are a few years old (which I hope are still viable in whole form & carefully stored).
NS capsules likely contain "mascerated" matter that could rapidly lose potency; especially if they are on shelves in sunlight or other bright lights for months or years.

Once I went to a dentistry college for cheaper dental work.
My student-dentist got ready, including gloves; and then was called to the phone. She didn't intend to change her gloves before working on my fillings, so I protested.
She changed her gloves, but I still have long-term problems with my teeth because of inept treatment received that fateful day.

I also had breast implants for 10 years and still have problems today - 20 years later.
Once the damage is done and you lose your health; it is very difficult to deal with "the establishment".
I know about this first-hand.

I also had double bunion surgery and the facility boosted my bill tremendously with expensive $$$$$ in-house chiropractic and physical therapy.
Unfortunately, they left me with huge pre-op and anesthesia bills that were never paid by my insurance.
There was no way they could/would help me; despite my efforts, and my credit was ruined.

I also had a bad experience with a "nutritional supplement"; where the product was not "safe"; as advertised.
My library is full of books about herbs and "alternative" methods. Some prominent authors are: Richard Schultz, Gary Null, Hulda Clark and Robert Beck. They all contradict each other in many instances.

The way I try to discern what is "correct" is to first look at Scripture (dietary laws, etc). Then ask for personal testimonies, plus join internet groups for a broader range of "data".

I agree that it is best to be extremely careful before using any drastic measures that can cause disabling, long-term problems.

Looking for "cancer salve" on e-bay, there are 2 sellers. One has a chickweed salve (I have it growing everywhere here) with milder claims and a lengthy, positive e-bay history.
The other has "black salve" with bold claims and "0" history, back-up material, etc.
No normal, consciencious herbalist would make such bold claims with no method (website, testimonies) to learn more.
For the $40+, it's an expensive leap of faith.
It could be axle grease... or a gov't instigator -
trying to prove that herbs should be regulated.

If someone selling a product seems shady, they probably are.
Hopefully, people will do their "due diligence" before making the same mistakes I made.
Still, that doesn't mean the gov't has to step in.
Every aspect of our lives are so heavily taxed and full of red-tape, it's like being bullied into a prison cell.

It's just best to rely on your inner instincts.
Figure what has caused your illness and learn how to get back into "balance".
Only you can truly care for yourself.
Don't perish for lack of "wisdom" or "knowledge".
Or lack of control over your choices.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 9:41AM
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I am contually amazed when I come to this "herbalism" forum, how so many allopathic proponets seem to have so much to say when the forum is herbal. Once before because of this constant bickering, I stopped contributing. My time is better spent in discussion with those who are interested in the truth about healing. It is a shame that this is the norm for this forum.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2004 at 8:45PM
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It might help to clear up the definition of "allopathic". From brainydictionary.com:

(n.) That system of medical practice which aims to combat disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the special disease treated; -- a term invented by Hahnemann to designate the ordinary practice, as opposed to homeopathy."

Herbalism is mostly allopathic. The opposite of "allopathic" is not "herbalism" - it's "homeopathy".

That different viewpoints are heard and the safety and effectiveness of various remedies are debated here, is a great strength of this forum.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2004 at 8:26AM
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Naturopathy is the counter to allopathic and herbalism is apart of that. You just don't get it do you!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2004 at 9:24AM
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Actually, the term "allopathic" is misleading as applied to traditional western medicine. From this site:

"Although medicine never accepted the label of allopathy, nonmedical practitioners such as chiropractors, homeopaths, and naturopaths regularly misrepresent physicians as "allopaths." This is usually done in order to make differences between their practice guilds appear based upon conflicting philosophies rather than ideology versus science. Opponents of medicine claim that they treat the underlying causes of disease, while MDs treat only the symptoms. Further, they claim that medicine suppresses the symptoms, thus interfering with the body's inherent healing processes. A close examination reveals that this line of reasoning is only clever rhetoric. When they say the are treating the underlying causes, these vitalistic ideologists refer to a metaphysical life force rather than actual causes of disease such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, genetic defects, radiation, chemical insult, and so forth."

Rational herbalism continues to be a part of science-based medicine and is used in integrative therapies.

Naturopathy has traditionally been defined as the use of "natural" means of healing including diet and exercise, light, heat etc. without resorting to drugs and surgery.
It's not clear how using a caustic compound to burn off one's skin tumors would be naturopathic.

If you have any opinions or research to cite on Cansemal I'd be happy to respond to those.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2004 at 9:55AM
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I would suggest you do some research on the author of the article you cite. Your information raises questions.

You may want to read this article.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 1:22PM
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Interesting reading.

Even more interesting are the results of a Google search on Julian Whitaker M.D., the author of the attack against the National Council Against Health Fraud to which you linked.

Here's a little more on Dr. Whitaker, according to this site:

"Whitaker has declared that the human body is a perfect self-healing machine, that illness is not natural, and that bacteria do not develop a resistance to "God's antibiotics." Whitaker was born in 1944. He obtained a bachelor's (A.B.) degree from Dartmouth College in 1966 and an M.D. degree from Emory University Medical School in 1970. He became an orthopedic surgical resident 2 at a hospital affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco, but he did not finish the program. Whitaker states that his meeting with a healthy-looking 34-year-old woman who came to the emergency room where he worked as a resident started him on the path of "natural therapies." The patient was a distributor of dietary supplements marketed by the Shaklee Corporation. She evidently so impressed Whitaker that he began to take vitamin supplements and to "investigate the 'hinterlands'" of his profession. Whitaker says that what he found during this investigation astonished himfor example, "natural supplements that clear out clogged arteries the way Liquid Plumber [sic] cleans out a stuffed-up sink drain" and "cancer therapies" that made potato-sized tumors "disappear completely, without chemo or radiation!"

Whitaker states that he is "board certified in anti-aging medicine" and that he practices preventive medicineƂbut he has never been conventionally certified in any specialty acknowledged by the official source of such certification, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), or by the American Medical Association (AMA)."

Dr. Whitaker has, according to the same site been actively involved in promoting the use of human growth hormone to prevent aging, endorsed a water cure touted as a panacea to eliminate disease, and in general been involved in a number of activities that have brought him into conflict with anti-fraud activists. For an alternative view on Dr. Whitaker, check out this from the NCAHF.

I'm not affiliated with the NCAHF. But I think they provide a valuable service in raising questions about unproven, useless and dangerous therapies, whether they are promoted by physicians or "alternative" practitioners.

Since the subject of this discussion (before being sidetracked into observations on the nefarious nature of "allopathic" medicine) was whether it is proper to promote an herbal-based salve to try to burn off one's skin tumors, I'll ask again - do you have any opinions or research to cite on the safety and efficacy of this product?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 2:44PM
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What is important here is results. Instead of talking to people who obviously do not know of any I would advise the person who posed the question to look elsewhere for an answer. A topic of this nature seems to usually end up with the same results here.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 10:09PM
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As we've seen (from the Archives of Dermatology paper quoted above) the results include severe scarring, local extensive spread of incompletely removed tumor, and metastasis.

Based on this kind of record, most people would reason that it's better to get a small skin tumor removed early in a relatively simple procedure, than to risk more radical and expensive surgery (including plastic surgery to repair unnecessary scars) later.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 8:20AM
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Here's what happened to another user of "black salve", who discovered too late the risks of using a tissue-destroying agent to self-treat a skin lesion.

There's also an interesting story about the kinds of people who sell these remedies over the Internet.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 8:26PM
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I had cancer. You don't mess with its powers. I did surgery, chemo, radiation ALONG WITH Chinese herbs and other COMPLIMENTARY treatments. Yes, they CAN work together, and they did. The herbs and salves don't cure anything. They help your body deal with and recover from treatment. They can strengthen your immune system.

Just do your research with an open mind. And remember there are many people out there who would take advantage of a desperate, fearful person in need of a cure. You are your own advocate with cancer, since there is so much out there.

Fear is its own worst enemy. Melanoma will kill you if you let it go. You can't cure cancer with food and salves.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2004 at 4:45PM
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I am sorry so many are so negative about the cancer salves! I have used the salves for 3 years and have removed 41 skin cancers and 2 melanomas, one on me and one on my husband's head and never a problem. I used to have them removed buy the doctors only to have them return so I wouldn't ever do that again. Scarring is very slight and the one on my nose was deep and can't see a scar. Neither is my face scared! To use Blood Root on top of the salve is really asking for trouble and not needed. People that have had trouble with the salve is most likely do to their use of it and not the salve. I have the formula for making the salves if they ever do disappear. All these stories about the dangers smack of the FDA, Big Pharma and AMA. Naturally, it hurts their pocket change. I only do natural remedies and so does my family and we have never been healthier. It's funny the salve is so "dangerous" when the chemical drugs maime and kill on a daily basis and nothing is done about that and the cancer treatments are so damaging but people flock to get them because the AMA scares them into it. I guess it is mind control scare by the doctors. Go figure!!!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 5:31PM
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oh why do we always have to refresh these arguements! Can't you let them lie? Those who are against western medicine have closed their minds and those who are for it have closed their minds, so I think that we shouldn't rehash these things... just let them lie....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 6:33PM
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The idea that home users can rely on a caustic agent to burn away life-threatening skin tumors is so disturbing and dangerous that it does, once again need to be refuted.

Without a tissue diagnosis (biopsy), one can't know whether a skin growth is benign (needing no treatment) or malignant. Once it's known to be malignant, a simple surgical procedure can ensure that it's entirely removed. If one tries to use a caustic salve to burn it away, it's impossible to know whether all of the tumor is gone, or if a small remainder is left to spread and possibly metastasize. And of course, one is risking severe scarring (see the links above).

If money were the only concern relating to warnings by the medical profession - then consider this: physicians make relatively little from simple excisional biopsies (standard treatment for diagnosis and cure of small lesions). They can make far more from radical surgery and plastic repair which may be needed once the cancer has spread due to inadequate treatment (i.e. "cancer salves"). But no one wants to see patients go through such misery due to quack internet treatments.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 11:54PM
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This was an interesting discussion and if Eric is still
alive and paying attention to it then please reply cause I have a story for you! and RWJA 2004 cancema (the black salve) Works just like it is stated to and if you have no desire to be sliced apart then glued back together at great expense over and over then use it! it workes great!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 1:39PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

To knutz:

Did you have a biopsy before using the black salve to determine if your problem was skin cancer and did you have another after use to determine if it was, in fact, all removed. If so, you should ask the doctor who did the biopsies to publish your results as a case study. If not, then you do not know if it worked.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Something I've never seen mentioned on the websites touting the "Magic Black Salve That Burns Off Only Tumor Tissue And Spares Healthy Skin" is that many skin cancers can be prevented by limiting sun exposure.

Providing education to prevent skin cancer is a major effort of dermatologists and other physicians, and taking precautions should begin early.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 5:07PM
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Knowing that extra sun exposure used to be prescribed as a means of eliminating skin cancer (and also that it is known to improve immune function) I would personally attribute more cases of skin cancer to a person with weakened immunity being exposed to airborn pollution.

Besides auto emissions, asphalt itself contains so many carcinogens that people who installed it while they wore shorts were known to get testicular cancer. Also, if brake pads contain asbestos, and we all know what hot breaks smell like, guess what we were inhaling.

Commercial sunblock is carcinogenic in uncertain quantities, and so were the dyeing processes on those thick clothes some people wear in the summer heat.

When I put the stinky things in a laundry basket, and it begins to smell, all I have to do is leave it out in the hot sun to make it smell fresh again. To a reasonable extent, maybe the same rule applies to the surface of our skin?

If cancer spreads through the lymphatic system, couldn't thoughtfully sweating out some fluids have a benificial effect?

The skin is our fist line of defense against foreign invaders, and it is exposed to unlikely sources of radioactivity in almost every object. While cancers seem to form as a result of DNA damage, or in order to block off microbes, I can garuntee that our healthy ancestors absorbed more solar radiation than any of us have under a depleted ozone layer.

Furthermore, I'm finding that every, single, underappreciated weed actually possesses some pretty exotic properties, not that medicinal snakeoil salesmen are any more decent than political snakeoil salesmen.

Faith healers, beware of the attitudes of those you look up to in the healing, political, culinary, and every other community.

Also beware that some of the government warnings sound like those of the naturopaths'. Why do you think this is when they have eliminated chemicals which had more benifits than detriments? From what I've seen, they have yet to do anything which would put themselves (or their sponsors) out of work.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 1:35PM
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"From what I've seen, they have yet to do anything which would put themselves (or their sponsors) out of work."

The strongest and most consistent recommendations for using sunscreen and sunblock to prevent melanomas and other skin cancers come from dermatologists. And yet if these recommendations are consistently followed, there will be far tumors and precancerous lesions for dermatologists to remove. Why would they be putting themselves out of work?

Could it be that they care about sparing people from cancer?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:38PM
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lundpix(Southern Cal)

This is some discussion about Black Salve. I guess that I need not argue one side or the other.
All topically applied materials sold in the United States are considered drugs if they make any health statements at all. If a manufacturer wishes to make a product, they can say something like "made from the finest materials" but they cannot say something like "heals dry skin" or "for temporary relief of pain" without being a drug. There are many over the counter drugs sold, but they must have historical approval for their claims. Otherwise they must state nothing about effects, just list the ingredients.

Nature's Sunshine was previously mentioned. I do not wish to promote my products here, so I will try to relate my comments to what was said. (Disclaimer: I sell their products among others.) You will find many good choices in natural products today. I am sure that all of us have many good choices.

I have heard wild, unsubstantiated things said by people at meetings sometimes. They were not from the presenters. I think that out of politeness, they were not contradicted. I also think that those hearing the comments could distinguish clearly that the company was not saying these things. In fact, I have asked people in attendance later about what they heard and that is what they told me.

Of course, in any subject, we may find a variety of opinions, as evidenced here.

Nature's Sunshine is a publicly traded company. This means that people like myself and others may buy stock. The stock will go up or down depending on many factors. One of these is sales volume and market trends. Recently, a market commentator recommended a buy of NSP stock. So it went up. At other times it has gone down. Other stocks from other market sectors also do the same. The leaders of the company obviously have a desire to see stock price increase and act accordingly. They do sometimes introduce new products that people want to buy. Wow! I guess that they would like to see that happen all the time, but sometimes they strike out.

As to their quality control and product dating, all products are marked with the code or sometimes open dating. Ground biomass products typically are considered potent for five years from manufacturing date. They use that time period based on scientific testing, just like other manufacturers. Some products expire in two years. They do this because of test data and mark the bottles. Some expire in one year or less. These are also marked accordingly.

Individual retailers must act responsibly, of course. Part of the selection of a source of natural products on the part of consumers is a choice of a reliable retailer.

Personally, I throw away out dated products or donate them to people who cannot pay for them. I learned this from a pharmacist in Rochester Minnesota when I was a delivery boy for Weber & Judd. He took the outdated drugs and mailed them to missionary doctors worldwide.

Herbs do not suddenly turn harmful, but do lose potency over time. Storage is important. I have recently heard stories of herbs that are ancient as still having some potency after being entombed for millenia. I cannot show you published links, but these were mentioned to me by personal communication.

Escharotic salves are not for amateurs. Although there is a product called "Black Ointment" in NSP product line, it does not eat away at tissue as some others may do. The ingredients are these: Olive oil, chapparal herb, lobelia herb, comfrey herb, golden seal root, plantain root, red clover herb, mullein herb, marshmallow root, chickweed herb, myrrh gum, beeswax, pine tar, and vitamin E oil. And it is not sold as a cancer treatment.

To my knowledge, a great majority of the products sold by NSP are shipped to consumers directly from company warehouses, so they are in date and fresh.

Of those that I have met in NSP corporate leadership, all are honorable and decent people. This includes the corporate officers and board leadership. I do find a variety of opinions in the independent distributors. I might disagree with many of them on one subject or another. But we are cordial. So I am pleased to do business with them personally.

As a freedom loving person, I think it is okay for people to choose treatments for cancer based on their own decisions. I do think that allopaths do well with most skin cancers. The other method does leave some doubt, of course. But I also talk with people from time to time who have metastatic melanoma and that is pretty serious. There are natural products that may help that, like betulinic acid or honokiol from the Magnolia bark (neither of which I sell). So I hope that researchers somewhere get to work on these to test them. It appears that US research will not be forthcoming due to lack of proprietary advantage of the intellectual property rights.

So maybe getting your salve from Australia is "just what the doctor ordered", so to speak, if you want that kind of treatment. Otherwise, maybe Merck or Pfizer will be ready to help.

Richard, snake oil salesman

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 4:25PM
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"Escharotic salves are not for amateurs. Although there is a product called "Black Ointment" in NSP product line, it does not eat away at tissue as some others may do."

The "black ointment" Richard is referring to is not intended by Nature's Sunshine to be used to burn off skin tumors. According to the company:

"Black Ointment is a combination of herbs, oils, and beeswax that helps to tighten, tone, and firm the skin." (this statement is accompanied by the usual disclaimer that the product is not being marketed to treat or cure any disease).

Since the stated purpose of the product has nothing to do with the subject of this discussion, it's hard to tell why it was brought up at all.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 10:04PM
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lundpix(Southern Cal)

Hi Eric,

It is so nice to have your help in guiding my posts. Thanks. Perhaps you could arrange some private review service for me so that I would not be so inept at postings.

In my mind, there is some relationship in products that come in little jars made from herbs with the word "Black" as part of the name. Historically, the common name of black ointment or black salve has sometimes referred to escharotic agents according to what I have heard from a highly respected member of the Amercan Herbalist Guild. (personal communication, Steven Horne)

Also, out of deference to the others, the company was mentioned by name and me by implication with a negative comment attached relating to my motives. Were you referring to me? Do you think that my motives are suspect? Remember it was you who insisted on me disclosing my relationship on the other thread.

Or do you respect me as a fellow contributor in the discussion of herbal medicine? Which main-stream therapies did I bad-mouth?


    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 4:56AM
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Update on bloodroot salve and consequences of its use.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2005 at 10:24AM
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There's a wonderful book out called "Cancer Salves--a Botanical Approach to Treatment" by Ingrid Naiman. It's a wonderful collection of all the known recipes for escharotic, i.e. cancer, salves out there, including Hoxey's and Hildegard's. It's available from the 7th Ray Press. People need to know about this book.

Also, I believe you can order Black Salve through vitaminshoppe.com. Many health food stores carry it, although none will claim it's a cure for cancer. The way to deal with the FDA is to avoid making claims altogether. Give 'em enough rope and they'll hang you, so just don't give 'em any!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 12:21PM
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While Ingrid Naiman's commentaries (on her website and elsewhere) contain numerous inaccuracies and undocumented claims, there's one statement on which we agree:

She recomends against using bloodroot as a treatment to burn away tissue, saying among other things that it's too "unpredictable".

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 10:45AM
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Eric posted....

an Update on bloodroot salve and consequences of its use.

I have to admit that I don't particularly favor reading Eric's posts. He's more biased then most of us here.

I would like to add a couple of links myself...




At the Gerson org, see link stage left, top. There you'll be able to watch the movie in slices. Download to watch.

Some of the stories that Eric has posted links too are not believed by me. I know that there is much money in mistreating people who have cancer.

I won't use alopathic treatments.

I've spent years in researching treatments and supportive measures that include total body and spirit. I'll not abandon it's use, ever.

Eric will NOT be persuaded by the kind folks here nor will the kind folks here be persuaded by him.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:02PM
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I would ask Esoterica why the information posted here on the hazards of this treatment is not believable, and what facts to the contrary she/he may have.

I think we'd all appreciate it if, in the process of responding, ad hominems could be avoided.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:26PM
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I have a story about black salve that might interest some here. Our beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Chuckie, got cancer of the mouth. He had it surgically removed by the vet three times in six months, very expensive to say the least. The vet told us after it returned the fourth time that we should see an animal oncologist to assess the situation. The oncologist told us that to stop the cancer from returning, he'd have to remove part of Chuckie's jaw. It would cost around $6,000. There was no way we could afford that and we didn't want to put him through that, regardless.

The following day, someone at my husband's office suggested a holistic vet she knew who was very good. I was totally skeptical after all we'd been through but my husband made an appointment anyway and we took Chuckie in. The vet put this black goop (black salve) right on the cancer in Chuckie's mouth and by God, it disappeared within a few days! I couldn't believe it. The cancer never returned and Chuck died of old age years later. It was amazing!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 3:58PM
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Welcome to the GardenWeb, bigheart.

How did the vet keep the dog from licking off and swallowing the salve? Did you have to keep reapplying it? Was there ever a tissue diagnosis of the original or subsequent lesions?

There are various stories circulating around the Internet about black salve and other supposed wonder cures, typically featuring testimonials and no medical documentation.

The accounts that are better documented include horrific scarring and mutilation secondary to bloodroot-based salves, as well as tumors that recurred or metastasized when incompletely burned off with these agents.

Based on the reports I've seen, these products are both dangerous and ineffective.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 5:25PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

A good example of eric being told off and peoplewondering just why he is here. and eric in his lil bubble world not hearing a thing except what he wants to. Except for eric it was a good thread.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 7:51PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

So do you feel that people discouraging Eric's presence in any way affects the validity of his argument?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 8:56PM
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It's good to see this thread revived, as it provides an excellent example of a dangerous and ineffective herbal remedy which people are likely to avoid once they know of the consequences of using it.

Permanent disfigurement and death due to something that doesn't work as intended provide the worst outcome imaginable.

In fairness, bloodroot does have its uses, beyond being a beautiful native wildflower. Here's one ebay listing of it as a wiccan herb to ward off evil spells and negativity*. The seller also has enough sense to add a caution about its ability to burn skin.**

*Maybe we can adopt it as the official wiccan herb of the forum, to ward off all the negativity flying around lately. :)

**I have no connection with this seller.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 10:28PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Why don't we all be pleasant and agree to disagree. and all go our merry way. As we will never settle anything by the constant disagreements. If one wants to follow the medical view do so and quietly leave. If on the other hand you want to follow herbalism do so and quietly leave. May God bless us every one.

Does anyone know any clean jokes about herbalism or medical stuff. We need some good laughter here. Or even better had anything funny happen to you concerning herbs or medicine. Maybe we take ourselves too seriously.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 8:34AM
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I heard somewhere that the particle or organism that causes Mad Cow has to be heated at least above 800 degrees F to make it ineffective.

(This is referring to a claim that autoclaving can be ineffective made in approximately the middle of the thread which was discounted out-of-hand by a poster that claims to put forth medical information.)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 1:05AM
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The poster eibren is referring to (a microbiologist and herbalist) was responding to the claim that medical instruments used by surgeons and other physicians are not sterilized by proper autoclaving (heating) and that dangerous "bacteria and germs" are not killed. This is false, but the claim was not "discounted out-of-hand"; instead the poster asked what "bacteria and germs" were being referred to.

The agent of mad cow disease (a prion) is not relevant to the discussion, seeing as cases in humans have been linked to consumption of tainted beef and not to contaminated medical instruments.

I'm pleased however to see this thread revived from time to time, to maintain awareness of the dangers associated with use of bloodroot salve to burn off skin lesions.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 9:42AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The increased cost from replacing the surgical instruments rather than autoclaving them would result in reduced access to medical care to such a degree that the minor chance of getting a scalpel that had been infected, this is assuming that the prion can survive the process and that the prion can infect you through this avenue.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:40PM
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Perhaps some would be happy to pay more rather than take the risk.

This should be the choice of the patient, not the surgeon.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 10:02PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I'm sure that most patients who are paying for their own care could arrange to have new instruments purchased, although it would slow their speed and would almost universally be a bad idea (and hay, it affects the surgeons numbers to do that for non-elective surgery).

I personally don't buy the story on vCJD. It is said to have come from sheep after they changed the rendering temperature. But after the jump Temperature has no effect on it at all? No one seems to have an explanation for this, which means that they stopped looking too early.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Thanks to all for keeping this thread active, so that information on the dangers and ineffectiveness of this "skin cancer salve" remain accessible.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:14AM
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The original question was not of the efficacy of skin cancer salves it was regarding the role the FDA plays in regulation:

"If someone sells herbs for medicine, what FDA regulations and labeling are they supposed to follow. Does anyone know?"

"FDA regulations require that certain information appear on dietary supplement labels. Information that must be on a dietary supplement label includes: a descriptive name of the product stating that it is a "supplement;" the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; a complete list of ingredients; and the net contents of the product. In addition, each dietary supplement (except for some small volume products or those produced by eligible small businesses) must have nutrition labeling in the form of a "Supplement Facts" panel. This label must identify each dietary ingredient contained in the product."

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:28AM
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The loophole in the law that permits supplement manufacturers to dodge FDA oversight has been addressed in this thread and in other threads. When marketers get too specific about pushing bloodroot products for specific diseases, the FDA has stepped in to warn them - in this case, for example - that promoting bloodroot as a cancer cure represents a drug claim, and that such products are not recognized as safe and effective for this purpose.

Alt med practitioners have also come under scrutiny for using bloodroot as a cancer treatment.

"On 13 Aug 2005, U.S. news media reported that Dan Raber (of Georgia, United States) came under felony investigation for dispensing bloodroot paste to women with various ailments including breast cancer. It was reported that nine women developed disfiguring destruction of skin and underlying tissue. Reports also indicated that Lois March, M.D., who is a practicing physician in Cordele, Georgia, has also come under U.S. FDA investigation for her role in prescribing pain medication to Raber's disfigured customers while their use of bloodroot was ongoing."

Beyond the narrow issue of what sellers of "skin cancer salves" should do to meet FDA regulations, there is obviously are major issues regarding the hazards and lack of effectiveness of bloodroot salve for treating cancer and other skin conditions. The consequences can be disfigurement and death.

So I don't quite get silversword's point. Do you not think it was appropriate to mention the dangers of using "cancer salves"? Do you endorse the home use of such products?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:13PM
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For those who missed my point: I'm answering the original question.

The original poster did not reference which salve he/she was speaking of and many assumptions were made. The topic went off on a different tangent where people began discussing bloodroot and autoclaving. I don't endorse anyone using anything (from bloodroot to aspirin) without doing their own research and consulting with their personal health specialists.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:39PM
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