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The Health Benefits of Shark Cartilage
The potential health benefits of shark cartilage are many. Cartilage, the tough connective tissue we often call “gristle” has many notable health benefits. Over the past several years the benefits of cartilage from this ocean predator have been studied in depth.
What to many might sound like a “fringe" treatment for cancer and other ailments has been studied at top universities and reported by mainstream media. Even the well-known 60 Minutes ran a story on shark cartilage as a cancer treatment several months ago.
STUDIES BEGIN WITH BOVINE CARTILAGE
In 1958. Dr. John F. Prudden, professor of surgery at Columbia University’s Presbyterian Hospital in New York, developed a topical cream made with calf cartilage extract. Dr. Prudden found that the extract, which he called Catrix, helped in the healing of varicose ulcers and post phlebitis ulcers.
Prudden discovered the anti-inflammatory properties of bovine cartilage when he applied it to an ulcer on the leg of a man who also had psoriasis. Amazingly, both skin problems healed after three days.
Not until the 1970s did researchers discover that cartilage destroys and prohibits tumor growth by preventing the formation of new blood vessels. Prodden continued to experiment with cartilage, successfully using it for the treatment of : acne, poison oak, poison ivy, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis.
Research has proven that cartilage has the following biological activities:
Cartilage's active ingredients are acidic mucuopolysaccharides, which contain protein substances, denatured collagen and non-protein substances, and glycosaminoglycans. Each one of these substances plays a role in protecting the body from degenerative disease and stimulating healing.
An experience with one patient in particular led Prudden to explore cartilage as an anti-cancer agent. This patient had a large breast cancer that had ulcerated her entire right chest wall. She was partially paralyzed on the left side due to a mestasis that hindered blood supply to the arm. Radiation, surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy failed to help her.
Dr. Prudden began to administer cartilage injections in an effort to close the woman's wound. The woman began to improve significantly. The cancer ulcer in her chest wall healed completely. Soon all cancer disappeared, and she remained cancer-free for more than six years following the cartilage treatment. The experience proved the immune-stimulating properties of cartilage.
FROM LAND TO SEA
Cows are not the best source of cartilage. One negative is that they're treated with hormones and antibiotics. Another is that their cartilage is connected with bone, so it takes a lot of cow to get a little cartilage.
Sharks, on the other hand, have a skeleton composed almost entirely of cartilage. Scientists began to wonder if this was a reason that sharks are so amazingly healthy. A shark can receive massive wounds and heal completely without infection-a rare phenomenon in the animal world. Sharks can live in the most polluted of waters seemingly unaffected.
Researchers suspect that they key to the shark's super immunity is its unique cartilage composed skeleton. In 1983, a chemical engineer named Robert Langer, Ph.D., discovered an ingredient in cartilage that stops blood vessels from growing and feeding tumors. Langer and a colleague named Judah Folkman, MD., tested the substance against animal tumors.
One six-week study in Cuba focused on cancer patients that were terminally ill. Doctors had decided nothing more could be done for them. In almost all cases, shark cartilage therapy alone reduced or eliminated their pain. Withing 16 weeks, it caused from 15 to 85% of the tumors to stop growing or shrink. No reports of side effects or toxicity occurred. This was reported in Alternatives for the Health Conscious Individual, February 1993.
THE SOURCE OF SHARK CARTILAGE
The sharks used for current brands of shark cartilage are caught primarily in South America, where shark meat is used for food. No sharks are killed specifically for the cartilage, and no endangered species are used. Another benefit of shark cartilage is that no harsh chemicals, solvents or bleaches are needed to process it.
Shark cartilage may be combined with reishi mushroom or other immune-fortifying herbs for increased health benefits.
Reishi mushroom, also known as ganoderma, are valued especially for their medicinal properties. For more than 2,000 years, reishi's medicinal uses have been known in the Orient. In fact, it's listed in the oldest Chinese medical text in existence. It grows in china and Japan and other temperate zones, but is elusive and difficult to find in the wild. Ninety-nine percent of the wild reishi in Japan grows on Japanese plum trees - but only on very old plum trees. So elusive is the mushroom that only a few reishi are found per every 100,000 trees.
Thanks in part to a painstaking effort by Japanese native Shigeaki Mori, reishi is successfully cultivated today. After 15 years of experimentation, Mori finally succeeded in creating conditions under which the mushroom could be cultivated. Fearful that his friends and family would consider his venture a waste of time, Marl pretended he was cultivating another valued mushroom, shiitake.
Today, reishi is cultivated in many places for mass marketing, including the United States.
Reishi has long been accepted as a tonic; i.e., an herb that would grant eternal youth and longevity. Today, in light of modem research, reishi has surfaced as a specific for cancer. Many Oriental families seek out the mushroom as the only hope for overcoming a cancer-related "death sentence."
According to researcher Subhiti Dharmananda, Ph.D., at the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon, reishi fights cancer by stimulating the immune system to kill tumor cells (Longevity, October 1989).
Reishi's benefits aren't limited to cancer. Many naturopathic doctors are using it in their practices. Dr. Terry Willard, a Canadian herbalist and naturopath, has used. reishi for insomnia, cholesterol reduction, and high blood pressure.
Well-documented studies in the Orient have shown reishi to have the following actions upon the body:
The main known active ingredients in this powerful mushroom are polysaccharides and triterpenes. Reishi' s polysaccharides bolster the immune system. Triterpenes are similar to steroid hormones; they increase oxygen consumption and tone the liver. Because of its actions upon the body, reishi is often included in herbal combinations for the immune system, and combined with shark cartilage for anti-cancer benefits.
SC Formula (100 capsules)