||Meridian Institute News
RESEARCHING THE SPIRIT-MIND-BODY CONNECTION
The Cayce colitis tonic has been credited with numerous remarkable healings
over the years, including several cases involving dramatic recovery from
severe ulcerative colitis. This herbal formula is based on reading
2085-1, in which Cayce prescribed a compound containing wild ginseng, wild
ginger, stillingia, and elixir of lactated pepsin.
Based on this positive anecdotal evidence, Meridian
Institute designed a research project to test the efficacy of the colitis
tonic. During the background research required for institutional
review board (IRB) approval we became aware of a potential problem with
one of the tonic ingredients - wild ginger.
Although wild ginger (Asarum canadense or Canadian
snakeroot) has an aroma similar to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale),
it comes from an entirely different family of plants. North American Indians
used wild ginger to season food and disguise spoiled meat. The root was
used for digestive problems and colic.
Our background research on wild ginger focused on
aristolochic acid (AA), a chemical that has recently achieved notoriety
due to some serious health problems (primarily kidney damage) that resulted
from inappropriate use of some Chinese herbs in a Belgian diet clinic.
Consequently, the FDA issued a concern about any herb in the genus asarum
(including wild ginger) that might contain AA.
Since the FDA warning list only indicated that certain
herbs including wild ginger might contain AA, the first step was to actually
obtain the herb and have it tested for the presence of AA. Meridian
Institute obtained two samples of wild ginger and sent them to a lab to
be tested using the FDA protocol for determining levels of AA. The
assays for both samples indicated the presence of AA.
As a check, we also submitted one of the samples
to a second lab along with products produced from the herb. The products
were essence of wild ginger and the actual Cayce colitis tonic, prepared
by Meridian Institute according to the instructions in reading 2085-1.
By testing the essence of wild ginger ingredient
we were able to determine whether the AA made it through the process of
simmering required to produce the essence. By assaying the actual
colitis tonic, we were able to determine the level of AA once it had been
diluted by combination with the other tonic ingredients.
The second lab report confirmed that AA was present in the original
sample but only at about one half the level of the first assay (6.02 parts
per million or ppm vs. 11.1 ppm). The assay of the essence of wild
ginger indicated that AA was present at a level of .048 ppm. Finally,
AA was not detected in the actual colitis tonic, presumably falling below
the sensitivity limits of the FDA protocol.
Meridian Institute has written a formal report of
our analysis of wild ginger and its derivatives which has been submitted
to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia for inclusion in its Aristolochic
Acid Evaluation Program. The program is intended to develop validated multiple
methods of identification of AA which will be presented to herbal products
manufacturers and regulatory agencies worldwide, thereby taking the self-regulatory
steps needed to protect public health.
Clearly, there is a need for research that addresses
safety and efficacy issues surrounding herbs containing AA. Reducing
variability in lab analysis and herb sources should be a priority in any
A copy of our formal report on wild ginger and aristolochic
acid can be viewed online at:
THERMOGRAPHY PAPER PRESENTED
David McMillin, M.A., presented a paper titled "Thermographic
Anomalies in Epilepsy Patients" at the Thirteenth Annual ISSSEEM Conference
in Boulder, Colorado on June 22, 2003. The paper described an exploratory,
descriptive study comparing abdominal thermograms of epilepsy patients
with thermograms of patients with other conditions and healthy normals.
The project utilized retrospective analysis of data. It involved
The purpose of the study was to explore the feasibility
of a hypothesis put forth by Edgar Cayce regarding the pathophysiology
of epilepsy. Cayce stated that "From every condition that is of true
[idiopathic] epileptic nature there will be found a cold spot or area between
the lacteal duct and the caecum" (567-4). Cayce's explanation for
the significance of such abdominal physiology is that "[vibration] is distributed
to the body from that center of the body in solar plexus brain, or from
those centers about the umbilicus, which are the electronic and atomic
vibratory radiations of a human body" (1800-15).
Two specific objectives of the study were to collect
preliminary data regarding Cayce's abdominal epilepsy hypothesis that (1)
could be gathered with a minimal budget, and (2) would be plausible to
potential participating neurologists and epilepsy patients who might be
recruited for a larger, controlled study should the initial evidence warrant
Over a period of eight years we evaluated seventy-nine
adults using liquid crystal thermography (LCT) for assessing abdominal
thermal patterns. The data set consists of diverse medical diagnoses (such
as bowel disease, migraine, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue
syndrome, and asthma) and healthy individuals. Included in this data are
six epilepsy patients and a migraine patient with an epileptic-like EEG.
All seven epilepsy patients were female adults.
Thermograms were made on Polaroid film using a Flexi-Therm
LCT system. The subjects were lying on their backs on a chiropractic or
massage table. Thermograms were made by placing the Flexi-Therm liquid
crystal sheet on the exposed skin of the abdomen, and photographing the
resulting pattern when it stabilized.
Abdominal thermograms of six epilepsy patients obtained
using liquid crystal thermography (LCT) indicated a notable cold area on
the right side of the abdomen as compared to the left side for each person.
This pattern seems to be more common in epilepsy patients than with other
illnesses or for healthy individuals. In four of the six cases of
epilepsy the abdominal cold spot is a distinct pattern that occurs slightly
below the navel. In two other cases the cool spot is less prominent
and slightly above the navel on the right side. In contrast,
in non-epileptic control subjects, no consistent pattern was noted.
The thermographic anomalies that we have measured
in this small group of epilepsy patients may be linked to epileptic phenomena
relating to the viscera (e.g., reflex epilepsy, visceral premonitions and
auras, abdominal epilepsy, and vagus nerve involvement). If these
findings are valid, the data could advance our understanding of the etiology
of a physiologically distinct subgroup of epilepsy in which innovative
treatment options directed at the peripheral nervous system and visceral
organ systems may be developed as complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) options. Future studies will be required to validate these
Based on the preliminary data, we have obtained more
expensive equipment (digital infrared camera and software) and begun a
more expanded project with a much larger sample.
To view the complete research paper titled "Thermographic
Anomalies in Epilepsy Patients," go to:
In response to the article in our last issue on
a potential cancer serum made from a parasitic organism that afflicts rabbits,
Scott Grady passed along the following information on bacteriophages, bacteria-eating
viruses that could offer a remedy to the increasing threat of antibiotic
Bacteriophages (also called "phages") were first
discovered by Felix d'Herelle of the Pasteur Institute in France 1917.
The word bacteriophage is derived from bacterium, plus the Greek phagein,
meaning to eat.
Phages are extremely simple life forms consisting
only of a head made of DNA and spidery legs that grab bacterium.
Phages inject DNA into bacteria causing rapid reproduction of phages within
the bacteria. The bacteria explodes spreading hundreds of new phages
into the infected area. Thus the bacteria is destroyed with minimal
side effects to the host organism.
With the introduction and subsequent overwhelming
success of antibiotics, the potential of phage therapy has never been fully
researched in the West. It is only now with increasing concerns about
antibiotic resistance due to overuse that this innovative treatment is
being given serious consideration in the United States.
Phage therapy has been utilized in Eastern Europe
and Russia for decades with notable success in cases involving infection,
particularly Staphylococcus aureus bacteria ("staph") infections that are
so common in hospital settings. Elizabeth Kutter, director bacteriophage
research at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington has observed
that, "They basically don't cut off feet because of diabetic ulcers in
Georgia because their staph phage works so well." Kutter reports remarkable
improvement in at least two patients with seemingly untreatable infections
who traveled to the Tblisi clinic in the Republic of Georgia for treatment.
In contrast to the general efficacy of an antibiotic that may work
for many different infectious agents, a phage is specific for a specific
strain of bacteria. For example, a specific phage may attack Streptococcus
pneumoniae (the most common type of pneumonia) but not the other twenty-seven
strains of the infection. A possible solution is to make a "cocktail"
consisting of several phages, an unproven approach to the specificity issue.