Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Herbal Medicine of Bruce W. Halstead, M.D.

It was early on in his work, wherein Bruce W. Halstead, M.D. earned the credit for becoming the father of Bio-toxicology.  This was the foundation that  began his life-long search for new medicinals from natural resources.  His knowledge and expertise in the science of bio-toxicology gave him unique insights into the bio-chemical process of herbal medicine.

Prior to obtaining his M.D. Degree from Loma Linda University and even before he had earned his B.S. Degree in Zoology from UC Berkeley, he had already become an expert in Ichthyology (study of fish). He accomplished that expertise as an understudy of his mentor, Eugene Clark at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

So it was natural for him to focus on the idea of 'Drugs from the Sea' as his initial research investigations. The premise of his work was that natural occurring poisons and venoms had the keys to developing new medicinals for treating human illness and disease. It was his love of the ocean and marine biology which compelled him to focus on the bio-toxins found in the ocean organisms.

This was the ground work that led to his hallmark, monumental three volume work entitled: Poisonous and Venomous Marine Animals. It was twenty years in the making and it was the largest undertaking by the U.S. Government Printing Office. His research that began at the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, STPM, at Loma Linda University, LLU, (1948-1958) was driven by his quest for medicinals from the sea. Countless expeditions to the South Pacific and years of research on the subject, gave him the undisputed title as the leading authority on poisons and venomous marine animals. For Dr. Halstead every poison and venom was a potential cancer cure. Studying these bio-toxins was his key to learning how to unlock nature's secrets for curing disease.

While ocean life was his foremost passion, at the same time he started exploring medicinals from Mexico, throughout South America to the botanicals of the Amazon. His work with the 'head hunting/shrinking' Jivaro Indians of the Amazon was the basis for the movie, The Medicine Man with Sean Connery. It was also the beginning of his search for new cures from herbal/botanical sources.

The research into medicinal botanicals began in 1948 at STPM and continued with Dr. Halstead founding the World Life Research Institute in 1958 and lasted throughout his life. Countless expeditions were conducted throughout Mexico, South America, and the Amazon Rain Forest to collect any and all botanical specimens for research into medicinal compounds.

Often these expeditions led to remote regions where privative tribes have been using medicinal plants for thousands of years. It was the tribal witchdoctors, shaman, sorcerers, etc. who would show them which plants they used, for what health problems, where they collected the plants, how they prepared it, and how it was administered. The plants were then identified by their scientific names and sufficient specimens collected to conduct research into possible new cures.
Doctor Halstead's world-wide research into medicinal botanicals led him to the then USSR where he worked closely with Dr. Breckman who first discovered the health benefits of Eleutherococcus Senticosus or Siberian Ginseng. In the early 50's, Dr. Halstead was the first to introduce Siberian Ginseng into the United States under the Imedex Company label. He continued his research on Siberian Ginseng at WLRI which eventually resulted in his book entitled: Eleutherococcus Senticosus ~ Siberian Ginseng: An Introduction To The Concept of Adaptogenic Medicine.

While Doctor Halstead's research focused on new cures from medicinal botanicals his specific driving goal was to find the cure to cancer. One of the compounds he devoted much research time and effort to was Laetrile which comes from apricot pits and other natural sources.

It wasn't until years after his own independent research and book on the subject that he was to learn it was his own biological father, Newton Mellars, who along with Charles Gurchot and Ernest Krebs, that were the co-founders of the cancer fighting properties of Laetrile.

The search for cancer cures was his path for learning about the immune system. With the advent of AIDS his focus on the relationship between medicinal botanicals and the immune system became more relevant than ever before.

That search along with his research, eventually led to his development of various herbal formulas for which each targeted some of the more common human illness and disease. Inevitably this led to his extensive involvement with Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine.

Over the course of his life he worked extensively with the Chinese in what became a perfect marriage of Western science with thousands of years of Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine.

It is note worthy that when the herbal formulas developed by Doctor Halstead were compared to the current formulas from Chinese Traditional Medicine, they were a near perfect match. In consultation with the Chinese the formulas were adjusted to accommodate the best of both worlds.

The last book he published was 'The Scientific Basis of Chinese Integrative Cancer Therapy.' It is actually a small extraction of a much larger work on Chinese Traditional Medicine which is yet untitled and yet unpublished. Some of his colleagues familiar with the work believe it is undoubtedly his best work ever.

On May 5, 1987 Doctor Halstead received a large 'Certificate of Merit' for his work with the Chinese Institute of Radiation Medicine.

The recognition with this award was based on Doctor Halstead's involvement with a high-level research study with the Chinese government. The Chinese were intensely interested in developing a compound that could defend against the devastating effects of radiation exposure.

The study was conducted on cancer patients receiving radiation treatments. But as a nuclear power military power, and as a country utilizing nuclear energy, the Chinese had much to be concerned about regarding the threat of radiation exposure.

The study was conducted for the purpose of developing the best herbal formula protect against the onslaught of the radiation and modulate the immune system to maximize the post-exposure healing recovery process. Ideally the compound would simultaneously inhibit the growth of any cancer.

The results were both remarkable and promising on all fronts. Doctor Halstead's research on these natural medicinal compounds focused on the free radical pathology and components like antioxidants that would modulate the immune system for optimum defense against the radiation exposure.

The research with the Chinese continued throughout the remainder of Dr. Halstead's life. He worked closely with the foremost Chinese Herbal Medicine Institute to develop a series of herbal formulas for the primary illness and disease confronting the human body. A variation of at least 25 of these formulas were grown, produced, and packaged in China for marketing here in the U.S. Under the label of Bio-Defense Nutrionals.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster the demand for the best natural herbal compound for dealing with radiation sickness has never been higher. All of the formulas developed by Doctor Halstead are the compilation of his life effort marrying western science with the anecdotal evidence from thousands of years of Chinese Traditional Medicine.

These formulas may possibly need to be updated with any new research that may have come to light in the decade since Doctor's Halstead's voice was silenced. But the time is now to bring all of these wonderful scientific formulas to a market hungry for natural cures to human illness and for protection against a growingly toxic world.