Happy New Year from Finca Luz! January Newsletter

Cloud Forest Botanicals in Boquete, Panama is committed to helping people everywhere take responsibility for their own health. We do this in part by making available to you the purest, most effective and affordable herbal products possible. This is our promise:

  • Each product is based on centuries of herbal knowledge AND the most current pharmaceutical research available, bringing you the very best of past and present.
  • We only use simple, tried-and-true formulas from the most rigorous herbal traditions.
  • Each product is hand-crafted in small batches from Cloud Forest plants that are wild crafted or grown organically in our own Panama gardens.                                    
  • We use no artificial preservatives, thickeners, stabilizers, or perfumes…EVER.

To read more about our winter solstice party where we lit off fireworks and burned a huge muñeca, what might be contributing to your unhappiness, and to see our product of the month (Café Mousse Face Cream, mmmmm), check out the January 2014 newsletter.

Like what you see? Subscribe to our newsletter and have it delivered to your inbox.

Newsflash from The Cloud Forest – Nov Newsletter

TAKE MORE DRUGS!!! Big Pharma and the American Heart Association say not enough adults are taking statins!

The new guidelines, if observed, will soon have over 70% of the adult population popping statin drugs, daily, month after month, year after year, for the rest of their lives. At a HUGE cost to both their pocketbooks and their well-being and longevity. Because, you see, there is precious little evidence that statins do any of the things they are prescribed to do.

To read more about this study, suggested all-natural alternatives and how we can help, see the complete Cloud Forest Botanicals November 2014 newsletter.

Like what you see? Subscribe to the newsletter here and we'll deliver it to your inbox.

 

 

Big Pharma says: Take More Drugs! We say: NO!

Don’t Give More Patients Statins

By JOHN D. ABRAMSON and RITA F. REDBERG

Published: November 13, 2013 in the New York Times

ON Tuesday, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new cholesterol guidelines that essentially declared, in one fell swoop, that millions of healthy Americans should immediately start taking pills — namely statins — for undefined health "benefits."

This announcement is not a result of a sudden epidemic of heart disease, nor is it based on new data showing the benefits of lower cholesterol. Instead, it is a consequence of simply expanding the definition of who should take the drugs — a decision that will benefit the pharmaceutical industry more than anyone else.

The new guidelines, among other things, now recommend statins for people with a lower risk of heart disease (a 7.5 percent risk over the next 10 years, compared with the previous guidelines’ 10 to 20 percent risk), and for people with a risk of stroke. In addition, they eliminate the earlier criteria that a patient’s “bad cholesterol,” or LDL, be at or above a certain level. Although statins are no longer recommended for the small group of patients who were on the drugs only to lower their bad cholesterol, eliminating the LDL criteria will mean a vast increase in prescriptions over all. According to our calculations, it will increase the number of healthy people for whom statins are recommended by nearly 70 percent.

This may sound like good news for patients, and it would be — if statins actually offered meaningful protection from our No. 1 killer, heart disease; if they helped people live longer or better; and if they had minimal adverse side effects. However, none of these are the case.

Statins are effective for people with known heart disease. But for people who have less than a 20 percent risk of getting heart disease in the next 10 years, statins not only fail to reduce the risk of death, but also fail even to reduce the risk of serious illness — as shown in a recent BMJ article co-written by one of us. That article shows that, based on the same data the new guidelines rely on, 140 people in this risk group would need to be treated with statins in order to prevent a single heart attack or stroke, without any overall reduction in death or serious illness.

At the same time, 18 percent or more of this group would experience side effects, including muscle pain or weakness, decreased cognitive function, increased risk of diabetes (especially for women), cataracts or sexual dysfunction.

Perhaps more dangerous, statins provide false reassurances that may discourage patients from taking the steps that actually reduce cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of cardiovascular disease is caused by smoking, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and other lifestyle factors. Statins give the illusion of protection to many people, who would be much better served, for example, by simply walking an extra 10 minutes per day.

Aside from these concerns, we have more reasons to be wary about the data behind this expansion of drug therapy.

When the last guidelines were issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2001, they nearly tripled the number of Americans for whom cholesterol-lowering drug therapy was recommended — from 13 million to 36 million. These guidelines were reportedly based strictly on results from clinical trials. But this was contradicted by the data described in the document itself.

For example, even though the guidelines recommended that women between the ages of 45 and 75 at increased risk of heart disease and with relatively high LDL levels take statins, the fine print in the 284-page document admitted, “Clinical trials of LDL lowering generally are lacking for this risk category.” The general lack of evidence for LDL level targets is why they have been dropped from the current guidelines. In fact, committee members noted that cholesterol lowered by drugs may not have the same effect as cholesterol lowered by nondrug methods, such as diet, exercise and being lucky enough to have good genes.

The process by which these latest guidelines were developed gives rise to further skepticism. The group that wrote the recommendations was not sufficiently free of conflicts of interest; several of the experts on the panel have recent or current financial ties to drug makers. In addition, both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, while nonprofit entities, are heavily supported by drug companies.

The American people deserve to have important medical guidelines developed by doctors and scientists on whom they can confidently rely to make judgments free from influence, conscious or unconscious, by the industries that stand to gain or lose.

We believe that the new guidelines are not adequately supported by objective data, and that statins should not be recommended for this vastly expanded class of healthy Americans. Instead of converting millions of people into statin customers, we should be focusing on the real factors that undeniably reduce the risk of heart disease: healthy diets, exercise and avoiding smoking. Patients should be skeptical about the guidelines, and have a meaningful dialogue with their doctors about statins, including what the evidence does and does not show, before deciding what is best for them.

John D. Abramson, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine,” serves as an expert in litigation involving the pharmaceutical industry. Rita F. Redberg is a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and the editor of JAMA Internal Medicine.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 14, 2013, on page A33 of the New York edition with the headline: Don’t Give More Patients Statins.

 

SCORPION: A Healing Ally? Yes. But Ugly.

Scorpion: An ugly ally!

Scorpion: An ugly ally!

Neuroscientists working with brain cancer patients in Washington have recently been astounded to find that a chemical produced by Israeli "death-stalker" scorpion venom (Leiurus quinquestriatus) can cross the blood barrier, identify cancer cells and attach its molecules to the damaged cells. The scientists are using the scorpion venom molecules to carry a bright dye into the brain, thus illuminating the cancer cells and allowing for a much more targeted form of surgery. The venom was said to be a 100 more sensitive than an MRI in identifying cancer cells.

Not only did the scorpion venom point to tumors in the brain but also those in the colon and breast.

On another front, a team of researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University's Department of Plant Sciences, led by Professor Michael Gurevitz, Ph.D., is investigating ways in which scorpion venom may replace morphine (and other narcotic drugs) for pain relief.

Scorpion venom has been used for medicinal purposes before.

Ancient Chinese physicians were perhaps the first to experiment with scorpion venom, using it for pain relief and other applications. Scorpion venom contains neurotoxins, which directly affect the human nervous system. One of the first signs of venomous poisoning (from scorpions or snakes) is numbness or loss of physical sensation, particularly in the region of the body that was bitten. 

During his interview regarding this amazing discovery of the scorpion venom's possibilities, neurosurgeon Dr. Jim Olsen, chief neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said that it was time for science to open itself to the possibility of other plants and animals having similarly powerful chemicals that could be useful for health purposes.

At Cloud Forest Botanicals, we could not agree more!