Whole Plant Medicine and the Entourage Effect
We’re all dependent on the plant kingdom. Have been since we crawled out of our caves. We’re dependent on the plant kingdom for food, for medicine, for shelter. So the plants have become a passion for me. These are some of my professors and teachers, if you will, from the Machiguenga and Shipibo tribes. So I want to talk about plants.
I want to talk about our relationship with the plant kingdom and what the plant kingdom has to offer us. I mean, the Amazon Rainforest, you’ve got about 100,000 species of plants down there. Of which, only a tiny 3% have been studied by the Western model of science for the therapeutic value. Yet over 25% of pharmaceuticals come from that tiny 3% that have really been looked at. Even beyond that, when we’re looking at plants, there’s some interesting things. I’m going to talk a lot about the entourage effect in a little bit. The way plants work is different than the way isolates work.
This is where I see part of a paradigm shift happening. We’ve lived in a world of reductionism and isolationism to where we look at a plant, and every drug company in the world’s in the Amazon rainforest. Why? Because that’s where everything is. You got the highest concentration of life energy, of chemistry, of nutrition and energetics, and new molecules down there. So they’re looking at this and pata de vaca, [pedrumaca 00:11:05], for example, used very commonly in Brazil for balancing blood sugar. Make a hot-water infusion out of the leaf. It reduces the blood sugar levels, so obviously that’s a big target as a diabetic drug, a multi-billion dollar deal.
However, when pharmaceutical companies would study that, what they would see is—break this down into the active components, and none of the active components worked. None of them worked. It had to be a hot-water infusion of the whole leaf, then it works. So that gets abandoned. So people ask, “Why don’t pharmaceutical companies grab these and run with them?” Well, it doesn’t fit the business model because that whole model is built on isolates. Sangre de drago, the same way, not only is it rich in proanthocyanidins. It also very antiviral in particular with the herpes virus. But again, you can spend 10s of millions of dollars, and some companies did. They saw what the sap did, but they don’t sell sap, so they couldn’t break it down into a model like that.
So part of this paradigm shift I’m talking about, why I’m so excited and so optimistic about the future is, people are finally recognizing that the plants work with an entourage. We have a complex chemistry, our bodies, a very finely-tuned, finely-engineered, complex organ with some innate intelligence where everything is working. So when we introduce plants into it, plants have a very complex chemistry as well. But our bodies understand that complex chemistry. We know how to integrate that into our physiology and do that. So we want to allow the plants to do that. So when you’re talking about plants, especially cannabis, we’re getting into the idea of full-plant extract versus isolates.
So let’s talk about some of these plants. I t alked about before from the Amazonian plants, una de gato. Yes, it has the ability to kickstart macrophage and phagocytosis, really get the immune system up. So these are really nice to use in conjunction with the cannabis. Remember I said cannabis, we’ve got cannabinoid receptor sites on practically every cell in our body. So normally, whatever you’re putting with that cannabis, I see an increase in efficiency of the whole thing. So the una de gato has been shown to inhibit some cancer cell growth, to actually induce apoptosis. It’s a very well-known anti-inflammatory.
If we look at some of the studies here, you’ll see it’s anti-immunogenic and anti-proliferative effect on human breast cell lines. And you see GreenMedinfo, a wonderful resource for looking at data on plants, on cannabis, greenmedinfo.com. You can go there. They’re accumulated a lot of studies. So if you’re trying to go on the internet and look for some of this, you can just be overwhelmed with all of this stuff. But if you just want to look at the studies that have been done with specific plants and specific health issues, GreenMedinfo is a great, great resource for that.
This is EGCG: “Changes the Phenotype of Invasive Breast Cancer Cells Repressing Malignancy.” EGCG is an epigallocatechin gallate. It’s a type of a catechin that you find in other plants as well. You’ll find this in yerba mate. You find this in green tea. You find this in camu camu. Those are very important.
Sangre de drago, I talked about it before as 90% pure proanthocyanidins. It’s a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory benefits, anti-viral. And it’s also been shown to induce apoptosis, so that’s very important. The “Anthocyanidin’s Targeting of Signaling Networks in Cancer Cells”, a nice little study there that shows how it interferes with some of the metabolic processes of cancer.
Chanca piedra, I talked about it earlier. They had given me chanca piedra. It’s a extraordinary plant. Never seen it fail for kidney stones and eliminating excess calculi in the body. But now we know something else. Phyllanthus niruri, which is chanca piedra, can interfere with the multiple signaling pathways involved in tumorigenesis and be used as a potential therapeutic candidate for treatment of cancer. So there’s many plants in the Amazon. These I think are right now in my opinion the top ones to be using in conjunction with cannabis.
And then graviola. The antiangiogenesis is really, I think, the main thing for graviola. I mean, it’s full of these acetogens. We use the leaf of the plant. It produces a fruit. I have 2,000 of these growing on my plantation in the jungle in Peru. It produces this big fruit. That fruit, you can use for ice cream. You use it for ice cream in Peru. It’s the leaf is really the part that we’re looking at for the antian- giogenesis properties. It’s full of these acetogens. These acetogens have an affinity for fast-growing cells. So they will go to cells that are growing really quickly, right, which is where you want them to go in the case of a tumor. And they will start shutting down the vascularity and the nutrient supply to that tumor, so it really compromises that tumor. Oftentimes, that tumor will respond with a little inflammatory indicator. So if you’ve got your immune system up on guard, then it knows what to do.
Camu camu is a favorite of mine. I’ve got 28,000 camu camu trees growing in the flood plain of the rainforest. The great thing about camu camu is it grows in the flood plain. So what does that mean? It means a certain time of the year when the rains come and that water level rises 30 feet, these plants are underwater. And you would expect them to die, but they don’t. They love it. They love those rains. They would just thrive in the environment. What’s really cool about that is that all these 100,000 species of plants in the Amazon that are contributing. Their leaves fall onto the floor. Their plants fall over. The limbs fall off. And all of that falls onto the floor, that rich biomass of the Amazon Rainforest. And when the rains come, it picks all of that up from the entire Amazon Rainforest and moves it around the flood plain, and it comes directly to these camu camu trees. So you think about the density of nutrition and concentration of molecules that they have to choose from for their life purpose. They can draw out of the soil and integrate into their life being.
Lastly, you want to make sure you’re detoxifying. Because if you’re doing all of these things, and you’re getting the kind of result that you want to be getting, you’ll end up with a lot of cellular debris that you want to move through the lymphatic system and detoxify. So the jurubeba an interesting plant in Brazil. It’s used down there as a hangover remedy because it detoxifies the liver so quickly. But I’ve used it in several formulas over the years as part of the lymphatic drainage and detoxification. So if you don’t have access to jurubeba, then really look at other detoxification botanicals that you can work with.