Viral Diseases and Complementary Medicine

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017


The word viral itself reveals our difficulties with understanding and treating illness and dysfunction related to viral DNA. Viral refers to a phenomenon of replication and spreading that is parasitic. The word virus is derived from the Latin virulentus, or poisonous, but most often the virus is not poisoning the host, but rather incorporating into the host genetic code in a silent manner. Viruses are bits of genetic code encapsulated with lipoproteins that have evolved ways of entering into cells and altering the genetic code of the host. While we have viewed viruses as purely infectious disease agents since their discovery by Dimitri Ivanovsky and Martinus Beijerinck in 1892, science has found out that viral DNA plays an important role in evolving life on the planet, not just infecting the host with disease. Viruses are ubiquitous, found in almost every ecosystem on Earth, both plant and animal, and represent an early method of data exchange, with viral plasmids moving freely between cells to share genetic code, especially in bacterial cells. We can find up to 10 million viruses in a drop of seawater, and pretending that we can somehow avoid viruses is absurd. Viruses are both beneficial and disease causing, like bacteria, and protocols to reduce viral disease do not imply that we are trying to eradicate or avoid all viruses.

Contagion by viruses is a different realm than bacterial or other microbial contagion, though. While viruses are often spread by living carriers, or hosts of the DNA, the virus itself changes its genetic code not by replication, or producing offspring, as living organisms do, but "horizontally", spontaneously altering the genetic data in ways that are still not scientifically understood. To counter viral disease we need to distinguish pathogenic from beneficial viruses, to distinguish human cells with pathogenic viral DNA or RNA from human cells that are not pathogenic but still have viral DNA in their genetic code, to distinguish endogenous viral DNA from exogenous, and we cannot just kill viruses because they are not living microorganisms. This complex task has been accomplished by the human immune system through ever changing and evolving mechanisms, and it is unlikely that synthetic drugs will provide much help. Helping the body to help itself is the task of holistic Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM), and greater patent understanding is needed to gain the confidence and the understanding of how this complex task will protect you.

Since viruses are not living, they may exist outside of a living host as well, and minute airborne water molecules often carry viruses and fill the air we breath. Viral illness, especially pandemics, are perhaps the biggest threat to humanity, but modern science is still stymied in our attempts to achieve a manmade mechanism to stop viral illness. A few notable vaccines and treatments have been impressive, but on the whole, this aspect of nature has not been tamed or controlled by man-made inventions, but by Nature itself, with a very complex complement immune response. Herbal medicine enhances biologic mechanisms of the immune system to control viral disease, and these immune functions are enhanced by specific acupuncture stimulation. The human organism itself produces endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), and these ERVs occupy or make up about 5-8 percent of our human genome, showing that like bacteria, most viruses are symbiotic and beneficial. To manage viral illness we need more than a way to destroy viruses, we need to a way to selectively manage this complex field of DNA data by using restorative Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) whenever possible.

Modern science has virtually failed to find a way to protect us from viral disease, but we have always been able to prevent and treat viral illness with natural defenses, our own immune systems, with help from chemicals in foods and herbs. There is no scientific doubt that antiviral chemicals exist in nature, and finally, modern medicine is discovering pharmaceuticals that may work effectively against specific viral illnesses, with new drugs derived from the study of herbal chemicals. Tamiflu was created after research showed that a chemical in Chinese Star Anise (Illicium verum, or Ba jiao, 8-pointed fruits), shikimic acid, was an effective base material for oseltamivir, a neuraminidase inhibitor of expression of Influenza types A and B. Prostratin is a new antiviral drug of promise based on a Samoan herb, Homalanthus nutans, that was found to reduce HIV replication dramatically. Modern science is depending on finding new drugs to treat dangerous viral illnesses derived from herbal chemicals, not synthesized, and these are just two examples of pharmaceutical science adapting nature's chemistry to treat viral illness, showing that we recognize the effectiveness of herbal medicine in treating viral disease. Since these findings, more and more herbal chemicals are proving effective as neuraminidase inhibitors of the Influenza A.

The problems with synthesizing specific chemical analogues of nature's own complex antiviral chemicals, though, is that the body usually reacts with alarming adverse 'side' effects and developed resistance. Already in 2005, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) reported that a small human clinical trial of Tamiflu, or Oseltamivir phosphate, showed that 18 percent of children given the drug developed resistance within 4 days, and since this time evidence of increased drug resistance has escalated. The evolved chemistry in plants creates a more complex symbiotic mix of chemicals that has evaded such microbial acquired resistance. Today, research has revealed that a number of commonly used Chinese herbs to treat viral illness contain chemicals that are neuraminidase inhibitors, but also contain a host of chemicals that inhibit viral replication in other ways as well. Some of this now abundant research is found in Additional Information at the end of this article with links to the studies. Herbal formulas provide an array of chemical actions that helps the body both inhibit an array of viruses and relieve symptoms, boosting immune potential, and does so gently and effectively. More importantly, CIM/TCM care helps improve the health to prepare the body to deal with pathogenic viral illnesses when they occur. Only the healthiest individuals survive epidemic and pandemic viral threats, and preparation is the key.

Herbal medicine is finally being recognized as a proven medicine. A Nobel Prize in Medicine was given in 2015 to the discoverer of a chemical in a Chinese herb traditionally prescribed to treat malaria, Artemesia annua or Qing hao, which has become the most effective drug against malarial plasmodium protozoa in history, by far, saving many millions of lives. The Nobel Prize in Medicine was shared with a Japanese scientist who has spent a lifetime uncovering natural chemicals that provide potent medicines, Satoshi Omura, especially to counter viral infection and disease. In 2012, experts at the Pasteur Institute of the University of Lille Nord de France released a study of the potential for herbal medicine to provide significant treatment for the viral illnesses causing Hepatitis C, and showed that research supported Milk Thistle (Sylamarin), ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) found in green tea, Ladenein, a potent flavonoid from the herb Marrubium perigrinum, Quercetin, found in a number of Chinese herbs and foods, Narrigenin, Luteolin, Apigenin, plant Lignans, Honokiol, from the Chinese magnolia herbs, such as Hou pou, and other polyphenols and herbal chemicals proven to be potent against Hep C infection. To see this report, click here: . More and more we are seeing experts in viral disease finally reporting what has been widely known and researched in China, the potency of herbal and nutrient medicine to treat viral disease. Since herbal antiviral chemicals have been around for many centuries it is unlikely that suddenly drug resistance will develop, especially if we utilize and array of herbal chemicals at low dosage and vary the treatment protocol.

Already, most viruses in the world are resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals introduced widely. These drugs should be used sparingly, when necessary, to avoid developed resistance in viral families, and integrating herbal antiviral medicine is one way to achieve this goal. Dr. Anne Moscona MD, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, wrote in an article in the December 2005 New England Journal of Medicine: "Like any successful infectious agent, influenza virus will most likely evolve to evade any single drug." This holds true for any of the common disease-producing viruses.

By 2012, Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), one of only two antiviral drugs approved in the U.S. to treat influenza, and listed on the WHO (World Health Organization) list of essential drugs, was challenged by the esteemed British Medical Journal (BMJ), which claimed that there was no actual evidence that the drug could actually stop the flu, or influenza infection. One of the researchers and authors of this article, Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, which was commissioned by the British government to evaluate antiviral drugs, stated that a review of all available study data on Tamiflu found no actual proof that Tamiflu could reduce the number of complications of influenza infection. Dr. Gotzsche stated that the drug manufacturer Roche did not release all internal reports concerning Tamiflu to the Nordic Cochrane Centre in 2009, and is now being investigated by the European Medicines Agency for not reporting side effects properly. Due to the lack of pharmaceutical antiviral protection, Tamiflu has been stockpiled by dozens of governments fearing the impending viral pandemic, and now is being routinely prescribed in the United States to treat both seasonal influenza and new flu viruses that pose a potential pandemic threat, such as the 2010 "swine flu". Past findings and restriction on Tamiflu use due to concerns of neuropsychiatric adverse effects, particularly in young patients, have been now largely ignored, but do continue to be a concern, as seen in this 2015 report from the Gifu Pharmaceutical University in Japan (click): . A number of large studies have shown that drug resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has advanced alarmingly due to widespread use of the drug, nullifying its potential to address the upcoming pandemic threat. Other studies haves shown that oseltamivir metabolites that are difficult to break down are accumulating in waters and creating a drug resistance in pathogenic viruses that affect wildlife, creating a situation that a vector-borne viral pandemic will be resistant to oseltamivir. These findings suggest that patients may need to look elsewhere to effectively treat the common flu, as well as new viral threats. Professional herbal medicine has produced effective antiviral medicines for thousands of years, many of which are now supported by sound research, some of which is cited below in additional information.

Many herbs have been shown to inhibit viral replication or to enhance the body's own antiviral immune mechanisms, and they have been effective for thousands of years. You don't have to wait for the industry to create expensive pharmaceuticals to achieve success against viral illnesses. The science is there for the modern herbalist to achieve success today with safe and effective herbal therapy, enhanced by the immuno-stimulating effects of acupuncture. This type of therapy needs to be comprehensive, holistic, and address the whole immune system as well as specific responses. By resorting to antiviral drugs, drug-resistance is incorporated into the viral genetic codes, rendering these important drugs ineffective when the upcoming viral pandemic strikes. Viral DNA is a part of our genetic code, not a separate entity, and viruses are not living organisms. This complexity of the complete role of viruses in the human organism, both a potential cause of disease and dysfunction, and a valuable tool of evolution, has made understanding of the virus difficult.

How important is our understanding of viral illness? Let's take a look at the types of viral illnesses that affect the United States population today. The common cold and flu are part of our lives, but luckily most of us aren't infected by the worst types of these broad categories of viral types, which kill about 50-150 children and hospitalizes about 8 in 10,000 elderly per year. Bronchitis, mainly attributed to the synctial family of virus, affects a large percentage of children each year and is thought to be responsible for many, if not most, cases of asthma and COPD in our population. The avian influenza that is now publicized as a serious threat, is from the paramyxovirus family, and is called the avian flu virus only because this broad class of virus was seen frequently in pigeons during epidemiological study. Types of this virus are thought to be common to domestic bird populations and mutate into forms that affect humans with severe symptoms because of the overuse of antibiotics and other drugs that deplete the bird's immune systems. Hepatitis C is now thought to affect a majority of our population, as are the Herpes viruses. Both of these refer not to a single viral type, but broad families of viral types, with Hepatitis C thought to be of the Flaviviridae family, as is Dengue fever. Epstein-Barr virus is thought to be one of the many types of Herpes, and is linked to a wide variety of diseases, including autoimmune disorders, mononucleosis, and many cancers, as well as chronic fatique syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and hepatitis. There is mumps, measles, chickenpox (varicella-zoster Herpes virus type), HIV, and a list of types that now spans many pages in a modern medical dictionary. Viral infections are now recognized as a cause or contributor to cancer in one fourth of all cancers worldwide, according to the National Cancer Institute. Viral illness is thus one of the most important health subjects that you need to gain some understanding of, and understand how to protect yourself effectively.

History and science of the virus and viral illness

A century of modern pharmaceutical study still has not produced a significant drug to treat viral illness. The two relatively new drugs cited above, derived from herbal medicine, still produce too many side effects and present a greater risk than benefit ratio to be widely prescribed. This is because science still lacks a fundamental understanding of the virus, which is not a living invading organism, but merely an incredibly small bit of a gene, encapsulated by a protein, and sometimes a phosolipid, or fatty membrane. The entities we call viruses appear in innumerable forms, are so small that they can exist within unseen particles of moisture or dust in the air, and not be captured by the most sophisticated screens known to man. One expert in viruses, Dr. Nathaniel Brown, senior VP at the drug company Idenix Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts, explained modern approaches to antiviral agents in a NY Times interview: "You can't kill something that is not living. The only thing that you can inhibit for a virus is replication." Modern science still does not understand the origin of viruses, or why most viruses are apparently harmless, yet some are the most dangerous threats to human life. The first virus discovered was in 1899, the tobacco mosaic virus, discovered by Martinus Beijerinck. Today, over 5000 types, and over 34 families, of viruses have been identified, with innumerable variations of the virus for each type, broadly classified as DNA or RNA (retroviral) types. In addition, each type of virus may constantly mutate. With potential variations of viruses that could cause infection or disease numbering in the tens if not hundreds of thousands, finding a cure-all drug is perhaps impossible.

In recent years science has had to admit to an alarming lack of understanding of both nonliving viruses and living microbial species. Just a few years ago we were convinced that there were only 1.8 million species of life on our planet, but now we estimate that microbial species alone number at least in the billions. We do admit that we have only identified a very small percentage of the life species on the planet, usually estimated at between 7 and 15 percent. The estimate of 1.8 million species involved objective knowledge of about 1.2 million species. We have categorized the life species into an elemental pattern of five groups, animals, plants, fungi, chromists and protozoa. Viruses are not included in this category, yet scientists at prominent universities continue to refer to viruses as the most abundant 'life-form' on the planet. In 2011, a study at Dalhousie University in Canada, led by Professor Boris Worm, estimated the number of species of life on the planet at 8.7 million, and stated that this estimate was "way off", underestimating the number. By 2016, researchers at Indiana University in the United States and the Earth Microbiome Project estimated that about a trillion species of microorganism actually exist, and stated that they had been able to identify just 10 million species. It is clear that our scientific understanding of microbes has been alarmingly small. The study of viruses has led to the knowledge that each species of life on the planet is host to untold numbers of unique viruses, making the number of viral species, or types, amazingly high, and with the ability to genetically map them, we are understanding that so many types of viruses exist, and are being created as we speak, that there is no possibility of finding an effective array of drugs to counter them. As we study viruses in the environment we are finding that an amazing array of viral species can be found in the food we eat, human waste, the water we drink, and even the air we breath, many of which are considered pathogenic species. Since viruses are just genetic strands of data in a capsule, their main task is exchanging data, and we are only now scratching the surface of understanding how and why this is accomplished.

Understanding of the virus is apparently still in its early stages, despite the enormous amount of research generated by the impending viral pandemic, an event that occurs nearly every 100 years. The last pandemic occurred in 1918 and ended World War I, killing more than 20 million people worldwide in a short time span. In 2011, researchers at Michigan State University, under the guidance of Richard Lenski, showed that viruses could evolve mechanisms that would adapt to host defenses in just 15 days. The researchers originally thought that such adaptation was nearly impossible, but a graduate student, Justin Meyer, decided to conduct the experiment as a curiosity. He found that the virus known as lambda, which infects Escheria coli bacteria, could adapt to E. coli bacteria that did not express the normal membrane channel for viral entry by achieving a set of 4 mutations in just 15 days, utilizing a protein channel known as OmpF. This adaptive feature of viruses points to a greater complexity in the realm of viral infection than we imagined, and indicates that the behavior of viruses does not conform to a simple model of infection. If viruses changed and acquired traits as needed purely to infect a host, viral disease would be much more rampant than we presently experience. Understanding the controls and balances of viral genes in relation to the whole of nature has not been achieved.

Complicating the subject of viral illness is the fact that viruses, which are just bits of genetic material, not living entities, make up a large portion of our human genome. This viral DNA, previously called "junk DNA", has been found to be active and important in our genetic makeup with the study of the human genome in the last decade. Viral genetic material appears to be a vital source of evolving human cell data, and the question of viruses being evil or good is ridiculous. Our ability to manage viral data in the body is all-important, and supporting homeostatic balance and health is the key to this task.

Treating the virus as a completely bad entity, instead of viewing it with a realistic nuance, often vital to our adaptation in nature, and providing our cells with necessary genetic information, is perpetuating a belief system that is not objective or scientific, and hinders our ability to work effectively with nature in managing the potential ill effects of viral replication in our bodies. Modern science is trying to develop chemicals to stop the viral replication, but we should be aware of the potential pitfalls in this simplified approach. Inhibiting pathways of viral replication could have negative implications for our natural evolution of adaptive genetic coding. On the other hand, understanding and aiding the complex natural system we have evolved to manage viral effects in our bodies, with the use of evolved herbal and nutrient chemicals, presents possibilities of aiding our complex complement immune responses in many beneficial ways.

A virus is not a live pathogen, but just a bit of genetic material, DNA or RNA, that may become part of the genetic material of your cells, some of which is termed the Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs), making up almost 8 percent of the human genome. The mapping of the human genome has revealed that at least 31 families of HERVs exist in the human genome, with more than 98,000 types of virus involved, and are believed to have been present in the human genome for more than 30 million years (Katzourakis et al; Trends Microbiology 2005;13:463-8). So far this study has failed to find a simple direct mechanism of disease cause with these HERVs, but has instead found a complexity of regulation involving HERVs that is far beyond our ability to understand. One reason that we are unable to make a clear relationship between particular HERVs and disease is that we are intent on finding simple relationships that we can create simple allopathic chemicals to alter, and fail to study the complex holistic quantum field of biological effects. This latter study would lead to support for restorative medicine.

How complicated could a virus be if it's just a bit of DNA or RNA? One type of virus, the Baculovirus HasNPV, studied in China, was found to have considerable genetic variation within this one type of virus. 131,403 nucleotides were found to make up the virus, and 100 places in this DNA sequence proved to be variable in study. This amount of genetic variance in one type of virus was first thought to be a mistake in analysis, but later proved to be true. Multiply this by the over 5000 types of viruses now known, and the possibilities are enormous. The Baculovirus HasNPV virus is published in GENBANK. With this type of potential genetic variation, there will probably be no creation of the 'magic bullet' type of antiviral drug. One answer to this dilemma is to utilize nature's own array of antiviral chemicals in herbs, and to increase the health of your own immune responses to attack the problem in a comprehensive manner. This latter strategy has also been a subject of pharmaceutical study, especially with interferon, a chemical that mimics a chemical found in our own bodies that is used to enhance the immune response to viral infections. The side effects and failures of interferon therapy in treatment of Hepatitis has prompted many European medical doctors to utilize the herb Viscum Alba, commonly called European Mistletoe, to stimulate the interferon system in a much safer and benign manner. Given the complexity of viral variations, utilizing a number of herbs in a comprehensive protocol based on available study evidence is a way to increase the chances of a successful outcome. Using a step-by-step approach, first treating the infection and then improving the immune function, is the most logical approach to prevent recurrence of viral illness.

Modern allopathic medicine is so frustrated with the complete lack of treatment for viral illnesses that a sort of neuroses has been developed. Medical doctors routinely prescribe bacterial antiobiotics for viral illnesses when patients ask them for treatment, fully aware that the antibiotic will have no effect on the viral infection. Often, the antibiotic is prescribed as the course of the viral illness is naturally being completed, giving the impression that the antibiotic had some effect on the recovery. We know for a fact that bacterial antibiotics have absolutely no effect on the viral illness, yet we pretend as a society, that they do. More proven treatments to enhance prevention or recovery from viral illnesses, utilizing herbal medicine, are still not widely utilized, and a general lack of belief in these proven scientific medicines, and sensible treatment protocols of immune enhancement and adaptability to stress, still persists despite a wealth of scientific study. This general neurosis extends even to the federal government's Center for Disease Control, which distributes public information on the flu vaccines that state that these vaccines are generally unable to infect the patient because the virus is "killed", when the scientists at the CDC are well aware that a virus is not a living microorganism, and thus cannot be killed. The newer, and now most common type of vaccine is called a "live attenuated" virus, delivered in a nasal spray to achieve low dose effectiveness. Once again, this virus is not living, yet is referred to as a living organism, by the highest authorities. These strategies occur because of the desperate frustration and need to have some type of modern medicine to counter the viral illness.

In our own lives, we are constantly affected by viruses, with the coronaviruses, or common cold strains, and influenza viruses, affecting most of us each year. The flu vaccine, popular but proven ineffective, is poorly understood by the public, with almost no common knowledge that the vaccine is designed to protect us against only a few of the most dangerous strains of influenza known, and has virtually no effect on the common influenza strains that produce our mild cases of the flu. The Center for Disease Control released a long-term study in 2006 that showed virtually no success in its targeted reason for use of the vaccine, which was to decrease influenza deaths in the most immunodeficient population, the elderly. The rest of us take this vaccine not to decrease our own incidence of common flu, but to try to decrease the incidence in the general population of a few dangerous types that recur over time with no distinct pattern. The total number of types of influenza recorded in the United States by the Center for Disease Control in 2008 was 158, and the number of viral types in the vaccine was 5. Public health information concerning this fact is misleading at best. Our modern science has no other ideas of how to protect us from this yearly influenza health threat, and so still recommends the vaccine despite poor results. In the meantime, popular knowledge of the success of herbal medicine in preventing influenza grows despite lack of spending on research, but is still not widely accepted. This scenario creates a false security in the efficacy of viral vaccination, and may be creating a lack of interest in a more practical approach to prevention and treatment of serious viral illness, utilizing herbal medicine.

The sudden spread of viral illnesses across the world is still a mystery to us. The virus has been known to appear in a new form simultaneously around the world, as in the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed as many as fifty million people worldwide, and ended World War I. In 2003, the West Nile virus suddenly appeared in 45 states, seriously sickened 9,862 patients, and killed 264 Americans. In subsequent years, incidence has been much less, with 3630 cases reported across the country in 2007, and 2539 cases in 2004. Studies showed almost no evidence of antibodies in the population, and science has no substantial theory on how or why it suddenly appeared across the entire United States. The persistence of calling this virus a West Nile virus, implying that it should stay localized to northern Africa, and implying that there is no variation in this type of virus, is misleading, and contributes to the neurotic attitude toward viral illness. Scientists are still uncertain of how this particular type of virus has spread. The first evidence we have of this virus in the United States dates to 1999, with only 62 cases, and the pattern of incidence and spread of the disease does not follow logical patterns in epidemiology. The virus has no real lifespan, yet it can disappear in one form and appear in another, and modern science has found no way to accurately predict its future forms, or determine which form is going to be dangerous to public health. Until recently, our science could not even 'see' the virus, and even with electron microscopes we see only a 'shadow' of the virus. Only recently, with magnetic resonance microscopy, have we been able to capture an indistinct three dimensional image of a virus. Obviously, we are living in a false reality concerning viral threat, and the lack of study of how nature has evolved protections for us against viral illness, and persistence of belief that modern science alone should produce a remedy, is not benefitting public health. There is indeed persistent viral threat, but our ability to stop this complex mechanism of evolving genetic changes does not exist, and perhaps shouldn't. Individuals may decrease risk of serious viral illness by becoming healthier and promoting a healthier immune system.

One of the most common viruses that express in the human cell is the family of Herpes. in 2014, scientists at the University of California San Diego, led by Joel O. Wertheim, published a study of when the two most common Herpes viruses were passed from ape and chimpanzee populations to humans in the past. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) types 1 and 2 were found to have become part of the human genome before the advent of Homo Sapiens, the more recent introduction by HSV-2 occurring about 1.6 million years ago. Today, at least one of these two Herpes viruses are found in about two-thirds of all humans, although most humans with the viral DNA in their genes don't express symptoms. The notion that these viruses are diseases that are merely transmitted only by direct contact with kissing or sex persists, despite the longstanding evidence to the contrary. For instance, a sizable portion of the population express HSV-1 as cold sores during childhood, despite a lack of evidence that they actually kissed another person on the lips with a cold sore. Once the periodic blisters seen in HSV occur, they emerge again not when infected again, but rather when stress depletion occurs. We have found one pharmacological method of inhibiting expression, acyclovir, but this medicine does not work well for a majority of patients.

Viral Disease Syndromes Such as a Viral Guillain-Barre' Syndrome

Pathogenic viral infections that are low-grade and insufficiently inhibited by our immune systems may cause a syndrome of disease, often related to autoimmune reaction. One such syndrome is the Guillain-Barre' Syndrome (GBS), affecting the nervous system, with a rapid onset of motor weakness due to damage to the peripheral nervous system, often following symptoms of pain and/or paresthesia beginning in the extremities. The weakness may also affect the control of respiratory functions and the autonomic nervous system, though, and can be life threatening, with changes to the heart rate and blood pressure as well. Like MS and ALS, Guillain-Barre' Syndrome is thought to involve an autoimmune reaction to the myelin sheaths on the nerves. This syndrome can be caused by an immune reaction to bacterial endotoxins as well as viruses, and is still diagnosed by exclusion, ruling out all other possibilities. We still do not have an explanation for why GBS affects only some individuals and is not contagious. While a clear and classic case of Guillain-Barre' Syndrome is still rare, affecting an estimated 2 per 100,000 each year in the population, many speculate that GBS is linked to or responsible for many chronic disease syndromes, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the outcome for many is a chronic debilitating state. Obviously, we need to look at such viral disease syndromes as immune dysfunctions rather than just a viral infection. The development of symptom progression to a stable plateau state is thought to take between 1 week to 9 months, complicating the diagnosis and leading to many patients without a diagnosis, and there is currently no cure for Guillain-Barre' Syndrome, and common treatment for other autoimmune disorders, such as corticosteroid drugs and immune suppressing drugs, have been found to be ineffective and in many cases worsen the symptoms in human clinical trials.

Viral causes of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) include the Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster (herpes) virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and viruses in the Flaviviridae family, such as Zika, Dengue fever, West Nile and some Hepatitis C viruses. GBS is thought to represent a variety of disease syndromes and overlap with other post-infection immune diseases such as Miller Fisher Syndrome. At least 20 percent of cases result in a chronic debilitating state, and little treatment or prevention is available. The integration of herbal medicine and the improvement and maintenance of immune function with Complementary and Integrative Medicine and the specialty of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) could play an important role in preventing and treating these viral disease syndromes. There are many ways that CM/TCM could be effectively utilized in this regard, not just the effectiveness as antiviral medicines, although a number of high-quality research studies have now proven that specific herbal chemicals exert a significant array of inhibitory effects against the Dengue Fever virus, West Nile virus, Epstein-Barr, and various Hepatitis C viruses. In addition both immune supporting and health maintaining therapies are available with a comprehensive CIM/TCM protocol.

Viral Disease as a Cause of Cancers

In 1911, Francis Peyton Rous proved that a virus could and did cause cancer in humans. Since then, more than 7 viruses have been found to cause an estimated 10-15 percent of all human cancers worldwide, and much research has been devoted to potential anti-viral cancer cures. The main drug to treat HIV and AIDS, AZT, was created to attempt to treat viral cancer. The failures in viral medicine have led to a profound aversion to the subject of viral cancers in the overall community devoted to oncology research, though, even as the International Agency for Research on Cancer now estimates that a fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by infection, mostly by viral infection. An expanded protocol to treat and prevent viral illness, and to promote a better response to viral infection, would create a great benefit in the overall worldwide cancer mortality and incidence. Evidence of even cross-species viral infection that causes cancer is mounting as well. A June 28, 2016 article in the New York Times, entitled The Spread of Contagious Cancer, shows that while evidence of a cancer spreading to another body has been sparse, with only a few examples verified, such as the spread of facial tumor disease in the Tasmanian Devil species and canine venereal tumors, but research in recent years has verified that viral cancer may not be uncommon in soft shell clams, mussels, and other marine life. Dr. Carol Reinisch, of Environment Canada, and Dr. Stephen P. Goff, of Columbia University, found that viral DNA in these tumor cells came from viral DNA, and that the study of the genome has identfied that specific viral genes in tumors originated in another species. While the direct causality of cancer by viruses has been challenged, with a preference to believe that viral infection may just be a factor that lead to cell mutation, this study shows that the tumor cells carry viral DNA that the normal healthy cells in the animals did not. An experiment in 1965 showed that cancer could be spread by mosquitoes in a hamster population, yet there has been little published study of this type of contagious viral cancer since then, and many statements that such cancers are extremely rare.

Obviously, human viruses have been linked to cancers, as we have the Human Papillovirus (HPV) testing in cervical cancer, and the commonly seen Karposi's Sarcoma (a herpes virus) in AIDS patients. The Epstein Barr virus has been linked to cancers, as well as HIV, but traditional approaches to study, with electron microscopes and viral cultures magnified with polymerase chain reaction have failed to produce sufficient evidence of direct viral cancers in humans in most cases. The rise of genetic mapping has opened up the evidence of both exogenous and endogenous viral DNA in the genome of cancer cells, and shows that the implications are more complex that the simple model of infection. Indirect carcinogens such as chronic low-grade viral infections and subsequent inflammatory dysfunction are being studied seriously now. Such evidence shows that we need to consider the whole environment of the cancer cell, and consider the quantum field of causative effects, as well as the complex protections that the organism has evolved to counter these cancers. Study has shown that viruses not only contribute to cancerous cell mutation and metastasis, but that the human organism has utilized viral DNA to beneficially regulate the innate immune responses to counter cancer as well. Studies have shown that incidence of particular types of cancer are lower in patients infected by specific viruses, and that recognition of latent viral infection triggers pro-apoptotic pathways that destroy developing cancer cells in some cases. There appears to be a relationship between innate immune and tumor suppressing signaling. The binary attitudes in medical science, either believing in viral cancer or dismissing it entirely, has dominated, but new genomic techniques are finally leading to an increase in research regarding the viral component of cancer. We can clearly see that specific allopathic treatments may be created to counter some of these cancers, but that the adverse 'side' effects may be daunting, considering the complexity of the role of viral DNA and RNA in our cells. Another important aspect of treatment, of course, would be to utilize Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) to prevent and treat, as well as to bolster the innate homeostatic mechanisms that protect us. To see a thorough 2010 review of the subject, by experts at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, in the U.S.A., just click here: . A 2014 followup by these same experts shows that there is a great level of frustration in getting the scientific community to adopt realistic holistic models based on current technology to incorporate viral DNA and RNA into to the cancer model. To see this further debate, just click here: . Only when we finally open our minds and attitudes to the complexity and need for a more holistic approach in medical science will we be able to arrive at more effective treatment and prevention protocols.

We can see from numerous scientific studies of the proven biological activities of herbal chemicals from Chinese herbs that are antiviral that chemicals in these herbs are often also with anti-cancer activities. Many of these studies are cited with links on this website. It is no coincidence that herbal plants have evolved biochemical agents that counter both viral pathology and cancerous mutation. While herbal medicines may not offer as strong and specific effects as modern pharmaceuticals, they are effective in a broad manner, and if utilized in a holistic package of care, combined with other synergistic therapies, individually prescribed in a step-by-step protocol, the effects will be dramatic, and safe, and will integrate well with standard allopathic medicine. The only question at this point in time is not whether these therapeutic protocols are evidence-based, but whether they will ever be actually supported by standard medicine.