Author Topic: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?  (Read 29780 times)

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Offline GCB

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2010, 06:22:11 am »

This whole discussion is based on the idea that cassia fistula contains anthraquinones, which have proven carcinogenic. The arguments mask a number of assumptions I think worth questioning.

1.   A carcinogen actually induces tumors after a sufficiently long time: it has never been a matter of regularly taking cassia fistula during the whole life, but only insofar as the alliesthesic mechanisms request. The real question is exactly this: may cassia be harmful when it is attractive to the senses?

2.   A carcinogen is active only above a certain dose. Again, can a dose of cassia fistula remaining pleasant to the senses ends up to have a carcinogenic action?

3.   Cassia f. effects are not the same if we practice a properly balanced natural diet or a diet denatured and / or unbalanced.

These initial assumptions must be revised in terms of instinct: can cassia f. induce damages even when the senses ask for it? I don’t think, since I’ve never seen a natural product to be harmful while appealing to the senses. In addition, the instinct having evolved over hundreds of thousands generations in contact with natural stuff, this suggests that it should not lead to pathogens behaviors. The alleged toxicity of cassia f. would come in this case if we oblige ourselves to consume it in the long term, as this may be the case in dietetics’ views: diagnosis - prescription (“your gut is lazy, then take cassia fistula regularly”). But precisely, the recognition of the instinct protects the body from this kind of constraint.

4.   A logical fallacy follows: cassia produces sometimes violent intestinal effects in the beginnings of instinctive nutrition and its consumption must be restricted to avoid these effects: this would be proof of its toxicity. That’s false: the importance of the reactions is due to the previous diet, and the fact that instinct pushes to consume quantities causing these reactions can be useful when one takes into account the overall picture: immediate inconvenience and toxicity against the benefits of an accelerated detoxification.

5.   Other underlying assumptions: the antraquinones tested on rats and mice are carcinogenic, thus cassia f. containing it is also... But anthraquinones are administered until they produce tumors in half of the animals, so at doses far higher than those a consumption of cassia f. brings. The carcinogenicity of cassia fistula itself can not be deduced from such measures.

6.   The anthraquinones tested can be either extracted from natural products or synthetic, yet nothing says that synthetic molecules correspond exactly to the natural ones.

7.   The anthraquinones tested are administered either by enteral way or by parenteral way. In the second case, a toxicity of cassia f. consumed through the normal way cannot be deduced from such experiment, and in the first case action of a substance taken in isolation is not necessarily the same as if the substance is incorporated together with other components of whole foodstuff.

Given these points, the ban on the sale of drugs containing anthraquinones appears justified in the usual context (administration of extracted or synthetic anthraquinones without instinctive regulation), but remains questionable for the instinctive consumption of natural cassia f..

It would therefore be useful to rethink some concerns induced by the idea that a natural product contains toxic substances. This kind of statement in itself has little meaning. The toxicity arises from improper dosage of the product and the wrong dose is due to the lack of natural instinctive regulation of its consumption.

In other words: it’s our instinct’s loss of use which creates the problem of toxicity and resulting anguish…


Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2010, 07:13:38 am »
All plant foods contain some toxins and in varying degrees. They wouldn't survive long in the wild if they didn't. Are you claiming, GCB, that cassia fistula contains no higher level of toxins than any other plant food, and no toxins to which humans aren't highly adapted over millions of years? You're aware that grains, legumes and nightshades contain toxins that research indicates are problematic for humans in the long term when consumed regularly and that most people don't even know these foods are causing them problems, right?

I'm not claiming that cassia fistula is poisonous or anything extreme like that. I'm just seeking a less toxic alternative. Are you trying to say that there's nothing less toxic that helps with constipation than cassia fistula? It would also help if the food remedy were sold locally.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline GCB

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2010, 04:50:39 am »

All plant foods contain some toxins and in varying degrees. They wouldn't survive long in the wild if they didn't.

Exactly. And the predators of these plants wouldn’t survive either if they had not set up appropriate defense mechanisms. One of these defense mechanisms is precisely negative alliesthesia, avoiding excessive consumption.

Quote
Are you claiming, GCB, that cassia fistula contains no higher level of toxins than any other plant food, and no toxins to which humans aren't highly adapted over millions of years? You're aware that grains, legumes and nightshades contain toxins that research indicates are problematic for humans in the long term when consumed regularly and that most people don't even know these foods are causing them problems, right?

Instinct just avoids any regular consumption of a plant whose toxic substances could have a negative impact. The experience seems to have always confirmed that. However, adequate amounts of plants containing so-called toxics may be part of the environment’s elements necessary to health. That's what I think of cassia fistula: it’s a plant like any other, except that it contains substances that are particularly important to address not only gut transit, but all kinds of functions, as you can see from documents listed under the following links.

Quote
I'm not claiming that cassia fistula is poisonous or anything extreme like that. I'm just seeking a less toxic alternative. Are you trying to say that there's nothing less toxic that helps with constipation than cassia fistula? It would also help if the food remedy were sold locally.

In my opinion there’s no need to search for less toxic: substances deemed toxic (which actually are at high doses) are probably the ones that play the most important role for health. The right solution is not to avoid them, but to dose them correctly. However, it would indeed be desirable to find local produce having the same virtues. I have unfortunately never found any. This deficiency in the local array would also be a reason to think that our bodies are better adapted to tropical climates, where lacks neither cassia nor the fruit best suited to the human palate such as coconut, durian, jackfruit, cempedak, safu, papaya, mango, custard apple, longan, rambutan... the list is long and far more pleasant than the colder climate fruits range.


Offline GCB

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2010, 05:02:19 am »
I find nothing well-grounded in the literature about the alleged toxicity of cassia f. or even of anthraquinones, large class of molecules whose virtues seem rather beneficial against many disorders. You can see by yourself by reading the following excerpts or the complete articles, accessible through the links provided.

As you can see, the question is why and how some have come to believe that cassia f. would be toxic and, if there are experimental protocols, to analyze them more closely to explain the conflicting results.

Phytochemical constituents of Cassia fistula

This paper reviews the primary and secondary metabolite composition of
vegetative and reproductive plant parts and cell cultures thereby derived, with emphasis on potent
phenolic antioxidants such as anthraquinones, flavonoids and flavan-3-ol derivatives. This paper also
appraises the antioxidant and free radical propensities of plant parts and cell culture extracts. The data
so far generated clearly sets the basis for a clearer understanding of the phytochemistry of the plant and
derived cultures and opens the possibility of the potential utilization of the phenolic rich extracts from
medicinal plants in food system or as prophylactics in nutritional/food supplement programs. Thus
traditional medicinal plant- derived antioxidants may protect against a number of diseases and reduce
oxidation processes in food systems. In order to establish this, it is imperative to measure the markers
of baseline oxidative stress particularly in human health and disease and examine how they are affected
by supplementation with pure compounds or complex plant extracts from the traditional medicinal
plants.


TOXICITY POTENTIALS OF CASSIA FISTULA FRUITS AS LAXATIVE WITH REFERENCE TO SENNA

The aqueous extract of the pods of Cassia fistula Linn (Leguminosae - Caesalpinoideae),
cultivated in Ile-Ife, Nigeria were investigated for pharmacological and toxicological properties.
The in-vitro effect of Cassia fistula infusion on isolated guinea-pig ileum was examined. The
acute and sub-chronic toxicity of the infusion of C. fistula and Cassia acutifolia Del. Pod-
(Senokot tablet) as the reference drug were also determined. The results obtained for C
.fistula infusion when compared with senokot tablet showed that the infusion of Cassia fistula
pods possessed very low levels of toxicity, having the LD50 of 6600mg/kg and also without
any pathological effects on the organs examined microscopically. It is therefore concluded
from the study that C. fistula pod infusion could be safely utilized as laxative drugs and as a
substitute for the official Senna.


Anti-cancer properties of anthraquinones from rhubarb.

Rhubarb has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times and today it is still present in various herbal preparations. In this review the toxicological and anti-neoplastic potentials of the main anthraquinones from Rhubarb, Rheum palmatum, will be highlighted. It is interesting to note that although the chemical structures of various anthraquinones in this plant are similar, their bioactivities are rather different. The most abundant anthraquinone of rhubarb, emodin, was capable of inhibiting cellular proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and prevention of metastasis. These capabilities are reported to act through tyrosine kinases, phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase C (PKC), NF-kappa B (NF-kappaB), and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades. Aloe-emodin is another major component in rhubarb found to have anti-tumor properties. Its anti-proliferative property has been demonstrated to be through the p53 and its downstream p21 pathway. Our recent proteomic study also suggests that the molecular targets of these two anthraquinones are different. However, both components were found to be able to potentiate the anti-proliferation of various chemotherapeutic agents. Rhein is the other major rhubarb anthraquinone, although less well studied. This compound could effectively inhibit the uptake of glucose in tumor cells, caused changes in membrane-associated functions and led to cell death. Interestingly, all three major rhubarb anthraquinones were reported to have in vitro phototoxic. This re-evaluation of an old remedy suggests that several bioactive anthraquinones of rhubarb possess promising anti-cancer properties and could have a broad therapeutic potential.

EXTRACTION METHOD FOR HIGH CONTENT OF ANTHRAQUINONES FROM CASSIA FISTULA PODS

The ripe pod of Cassia fistula Linn. has long been used in traditional medicines as a
laxative drug. The active principles are known to be anthraquinone glycosides of which rhein and
aloe-emodin are major components. The pulp from ripe pods of C. fistula was extracted with 70%
ethanol by maceration, percolation, and soxhlet extraction, and by decoction with water according to
Thai traditional uses. The contents of total anthraquinone glycosides and total anthraquinones in the
crude extracts prepared by each of extraction method were determined using a UV-vis
spectrophotometer and the contents were calculated as rhein and aloe-emodin. The extract prepared
by decoction method contained the highest content of total anthraquinone glycosides which are the
active laxative form in the range of 0.2383 ± 0.0011 and 0.2194 ± 0.0077 %w/w calculated as rhein
and aloe-emodin, respectively. Maceration exhibited the extract containing the highest content of total
anthraquinones at 0.3139±0.0129 % w/w calculated as rhein and 0.2194±0.0088 % w/w calculated
as aloe-emodin. Comparing all extraction methods, decoction is simple, convenient, carried low cost
in terms of solvent and instrumentation and found to be the appropiate extraction method for the pulp
of C. fistula pods for a laxative drug.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 05:13:35 am by GCB »

Offline Iguana

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2010, 05:36:34 am »

Phil, these people would probably be able to send you some cassia:
http://www.genefitnutrition.com/home2.html

Francois
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2010, 05:41:11 am »
Exactly. And the predators of these plants wouldn’t survive either if they had not set up appropriate defense mechanisms. One of these defense mechanisms is precisely negative alliesthesia, avoiding excessive consumption.
Right and one of the basic principles of Paleo diets, which this forum is dedicated to, is that humans have adapted more to certain plants over the millennia more than others. How long have humans been eating cassia fistula or similar anthriquinone-containing legumes? How much do you think we have adapted to them? How often can they be safely eaten without any long-term effects, roughly speaking? What if any metabolic effects, whether positive or negative, does it have?

Quote
This deficiency in the local array would also be a reason to think that our bodies are better adapted to tropical climates, where lacks neither cassia nor the fruit best suited to the human palate such as coconut, durian, jackfruit, cempedak, safu, papaya, mango, custard apple, longan, rambutan... the list is long and far more pleasant than the colder climate fruits range.
Didn't the golden shower tree that produces cassia fistula fruit originate in southern Asia and don't most scientists believe that H. sapiens sapiens originated in Africa and then spread to the Middle East, the Caucuses and Anatolia, then Europe and the heartland of Asia, and only later reach southern Asia? Why would the foods of southern Asia be ideal for humans?
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2010, 05:55:01 am »
Phil, these people would probably be able to send you some cassia:
http://www.genefitnutrition.com/home2.html

Francois

OK, thanks Francois, I emailed them. It's strange that they sell just tropical Asian fruit products and GCB seems to emphasize tropical fruits too, mostly from South Asia it seems, with exceptions like palm nectar. I don't tend to handle tropical fruits well myself and as far as I know none of my ancestors lived in South Asia going all the way back to Africa, so again I'm curious why the seeming emphasis on tropical South Asian fruits? I think Hanna asked something similar but I didn't fully comprehend the answer.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Hanna

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2010, 06:12:25 pm »
Quote
But does it really permanently get rid of it, or does it just temporarily alleviate it like senna does?

I meant temporarily.

Quote
But selling over the counter remedies that contain it is, right?

Apparently this is not forbidden. But (according to the link) the patient information leaflet and the packaging size have to make clear that in case of constipation the drug should only be used temporarily. Furthermore, it is not allowed to sell these drugs as blood cleanser etc.

Quote
Is senna tea banned there?

No. As far as I know one can buy Senna tea in the pharmacy.

Offline Iguana

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2010, 03:22:16 pm »
OK, thanks Francois, I emailed them. It's strange that they sell just tropical Asian fruit products and GCB seems to emphasize tropical fruits too, mostly from South Asia it seems, with exceptions like palm nectar. I don't tend to handle tropical fruits well myself and as far as I know none of my ancestors lived in South Asia going all the way back to Africa, so again I'm curious why the seeming emphasis on tropical South Asian fruits? I think Hanna asked something similar but I didn't fully comprehend the answer.

I don’t think there’s a particular emphasize on South East Asian fruits, it’s just a coincidence that GCB named several of those fruits and these people happen to import fruits from there. Actually, fruits and foods from everywhere – even and especially local ! – can be consumed according to the instincto theory.
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline GCB

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2010, 03:16:19 am »
I don’t think there’s a particular emphasize on South East Asian fruits, it’s just a coincidence that GCB named several of those fruits and these people happen to import fruits from there. Actually, fruits and foods from everywhere – even and especially local ! – can be consumed according to the instincto theory.


A coincidence indeed, but not due to chance. "GeneFit Nutrition" is an American movement sharing exactly the same principles as instinctotherapy: consume the foods we are genetically adapted to and in the form to which we are genetically adapted. That is to say unprocessed food, excluding dairy and too artificially selected modern foods such as most cereals, fruits etc. This simple principle drives GeneFit to identical products than instinctos in Europe, simply because human nature is everywhere the same, and among the preferred products tropical fruits are essential.

In my case, I have always given priority to the empirical long-term observations, rather than to grand theories. Actually the experience suggests that we are particularly adapted to tropical fruits (including c. fistula). But the fruits of moderate climates are also quite suited: the regulation of nutritional balance is fine with at the menu, according to the affinities of each one loquats : blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, pears, plums, grapes etc. The point is how to take account of variations in flavor, consistency, and sensation of fullness.

To do this, start by getting rid of all beliefs, prejudices, memories and other mental contents that are just preventing to obey the body signals’ with the necessary flexibility and finesse. Experience shows that these signals are far more reliable than intellectual reasoning or dietary requirements, first because the body needs are ever varying, both in the short and long term, and furthermore partly because the best dietician can not know what is happening in a given organism at a given moment, knowing that he reasons on principles and general figures.

For example, I wouldn’t say like Hanna that the c. fistula may relieve constipation temporarily as it is another point of view of the dietetics type. I would rather say that c. fistula is just part of the range of products that nature puts at our disposal to allow our bodies to balance (or that it’s included in the range of products animals have learned to balance on contact with over biological eras). Here also it suffices to monitor our body’s signals.

This is not rocket science, but it requires to take a step back facing the habits of thought we have been taught since early childhood. This calls into question the Promethean man in us who thinks he can control nature, while reassuring himself in his illusions of knowledge and superiority. Obey to our body (where it’s a body’s matter) brings much more efficient results but requires a humility that is not easy for the civilized Westerners. In our type of culture, the ego is bloated and unwilling to respect the laws of nature.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 04:41:25 am by GCB »

Offline Iguana

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Re: Cassia fistula: why, when, how much?
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2010, 03:17:10 am »

The following posts have been moved here Instincto's tropical paradise since they aren't related to c.fistula anymore but rather to tropical fruits.

Francois
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

 

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