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Crohn's Disease Treatment?

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Mark O'Leary

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Nov 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/29/99
to
Harriett Moore wrote:

> 1 Is there a constituent part of any blackberry plant that could
> contain some ingredient or chemical that would help Crohn's
Disease?
> 2 Where would I look at the research?
> 3 Is this a Chinese Herbal treatment?
> 4 Any other information or source that might be useful.

First, Crohn's Disease:

There's an excellent site on Crohn's Disease at the National Digestive
Diseases Information Clearinghouse:

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/pubs/crohns/crohns.htm

This states:

"The goals of treatment are to control inflammation, correct
nutritional
deficiencies, and relieve symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and
rectal bleeding. Treatment may include drugs, nutrition supplements,
surgery, or a combination of these options. At this time, treatment
can
help control the disease, but there is no cure."

also importantly:

"[The] changing pattern of the disease means one cannot always tell
when
a treatment has helped. Predicting when a remission may occur or when
symptoms will return is not possible."

**********************************************************************8

Now Blackberries:

"Tinas Herbs" lists blackberry root as a palliative for:

"Diarrhea,dysentery,bleeding,nose,sinus drainage"

(http://www.tinasherbs.com/hlisti_b.htm#14)

Seeds international offers this for sale (but makes no claims for
efficacy). The variety it sells (cut or powdered) is *Rubus villossus*.

(http://www.gardenseed.com/032/03200938.htm)

Blackberry LEAF is considered to be Antemetic, anthelmintic,
antidiarrheal,
anticancer, astringent and contains the following "active" ingredients:

"beta-Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Rutin, Tannins, Vitamin B1,
Vitamin B2, Vitamin C"

(http://www.nutritionfocus.com/nutrition_supplementation/herbs/Blackberry_Leaf.html#6)

Note this page cites *Rubus laciniatus* not *R. villossus*, and also warns
against the presence of "water soluble oxalates that are toxic when
consumed
in large quantities."

Another firm cites *R. fruiticosus*, and suggests it is
"Astringent, Hemostatic, Syptic, diuretic, tonic"

(http://www.well-being.com/earthen-scents/text/b/blkberry.htm)

The "wild world of plants" prefers yet another species:

*R. allegheniensis 'Porter'*

and states:

"he leaves and bark of the root of blackberry or raspberry contain
tannin
among other things, and have been used for centuries to make a tonic
drink. The young leaves are an excellent spring tonic to tone the
stomach and bowels."

(http://www.lunco.com/plants/notes/blackberry.html)

An informative site, http://www.altnature.com/creekherbs/blackberries.htm,
states (in reference to *R. allegheniensis) :

"The root-bark and the leaves are astringent, depurative, diuretic,
tonic
and vulnerary. They make an excellent remedy for dysentery, diarrhoea,
haemorrhoids, cystitis, the root is the more astringent. Externally,
they
are used to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations. A
decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and
also
makes a good general mouthwash. The presence of large amounts of
tannins
give blackberry roots and leaves an astringent effect that is useful
for
treating diarrhea. These same constituents are also helpful for
soothing
sore throats, a syrup is also made using the fruit and root bark in
honey
for cough."

**************************************************************

So, my general conclusions would be:

1) Theres no agreement in the 'herbal' world about which species of
blackberry is appropriate.

2) There is general agreement over the broad class of conditions that can
be treated using blackberry.

3) Blackberry is supposed to treat one of the *symptoms*, not the 'root
cause' of Crohn's.

4) Conventional medicine also is largely limited to treating the symptoms
at
the current state of knowledge.

5) The disease itself spontaeniously remits, thus the efficacy of any
herbal
remedy is hard to gauge - and there are likely to be anecdotes of
'miracle cures' due to remission rather than the treatment at the
time...

6) At least one site warns of possible (unspecified) toxicity through
over-use of blackberry preparations

7) A couple of sites list the active ingredient as "tannins" - in which
case, a cup of ordinary tea might be just as good, more readily
available, and cheaper!

M

Usual caveat - I'm a web searcher, not a medic, herbalist or anyone else
who
might be expected to give medical advice they'd stand by. Talk to a doc,
not
me.


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Mark O'Leary, | Voice: +44 (0161) 2756110 | Mark O'Leary,
Network Support Officer, | Fax: +44 (0161) 2756040 | Deputy Warden,
Manchester Computing, UK | Email: ma...@mcc.ac.uk | Moberly Hall, UoM.


Harriet Moore

unread,
Nov 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/29/99
to

Hi gang,
I was at a dinner on Satuday night, where I have my very first public =
speech. It is much easier to do a TV programme that stand up in a =
roomfull of people, even if you know most of them IMO.
Anyway, the main speaker was sitting on my left, and we were discussing =
Alt. Med, healthfraud and all that. It transpired that he has suffered =
from Crohn's Disease for many years, and yes, he has been trying all the =
alternative stuff on offer. He said that the alt. stuff has been no gain =
and considerable financial pain over the years.

Then he asked me if I knew anything about "Blackberry Root Bark"
This sounds to me like he is still trying stuff, and I promised I would =
find out what I could for him. According to what he told me, Blackberry =
Root Bark is the outer covering of the root of the blackberry bush.
I know. This ignores that fact that there are many species of blackberry =
plant, neither could I elicit the latin / botanical name for the =
particular plant.
So, what I would like to know is this -
1 Is there a constituent part of any blackberry plant that could =


contain some ingredient or chemical that would help Crohn's Disease?
2 Where would I look at the research?
3 Is this a Chinese Herbal treatment?
4 Any other information or source that might be useful.

Thanks,
Harriett


Beth Wolszon

unread,
Nov 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/29/99
to
Harriet wrote:

>Then he asked me if I knew anything about "Blackberry Root Bark"
>This sounds to me like he is still trying stuff, and I promised I would

>find out what I could for him. According to what he told me, Blackberry

>Root Bark is the outer covering of the root of the blackberry bush.
>I know. This ignores that fact that there are many species of blackberry

>plant, neither could I elicit the latin / botanical name for the

particular >plant.
>So, what I would like to know is this -
>1 Is there a constituent part of any blackberry plant that could

contain some ingredient or chemical that would help Crohn's Disease?

The Rubus spp. , including raspberry, blackberry, and dewberry, has
traditionally been used by North American Indians to treat a variety of
digestive upsets, including vomiting, diarrhea, and dysentery. The
dysentery treatment was usually drinking a boiled decotion of the peeled
roots.

>2 Where would I look at the research?

According to 'Tyler's Honest Herbal', there isn't any research to back
this
up, but an analysis of rubus leaves, stems, and roots shows a lot of
tannins present, which are assumed to be the active ingredient.

>3 Is this a Chinese Herbal treatment?

American Indian (Europeans have also used Red Raspberry leaves as an
abortifacient and aid for painful menstruation or childbirth).

>4 Any other information or source that might be useful.

The following sources all had essentially the same information about the
medicinal uses of Rubus spp.:

Tyler's honest herbal : a sensible guide to the use of herbs and related
remedies. -- 4th ed. / Steven Foster, Varro E. Tyler. -- New York :
Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.

The encyclopedia of medicinal plants / Andrew Chevallier. -- 1st American
ed.
- New York : DK Pub. ; Boston : Distributed by Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Medical botany : plants affecting man's health / Walter H. Lewis, Memory
P.F. Elvin-Lewis. -- New York : Wiley, c1977.


Come to think of it, I recall a passage from 'Gone With the Wind' where
Mammy required homeward-bound Confederate soldiers spending the night at
the plantation to bathe to get rid of their lice, and drink a concoction
of
boiled blackberry roots to treat their dysentery, before she'd let them
into the house.

Beth Wolszon

...Secondary infestation <of body lice> may develop some 12 to 18
months after the initial infestation, resulting in a systemic reaction to
louse bites characterized by a feeling of malaise and pessimistic frame
of mind. The body lice infested person becomes apathetic if left alone
and irritable if roused (thus the origin of the term "feeling lousy").
-- Jerome Goddard, 'Physician's Guide to Arthropods of Medical
Importance', 2nd ed., 1996.


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