Some Quan Xie Basics in Oriental Medicine:
Category: Herbs that Subdue Liver Yang & Extinguish Wind
Nature : Neutral, toxic
Flavors: Salty & Acrid
Functions: Extinguish Liver wind; eliminate external wind to relieve convulsion; clear & dissipate stagnation of toxin; remove obstruction form the channels & collaterals to relieve pain
Indications: 1.Acute & chronic infant convulsion; deviation of the mouth & eye in wind stroke due to stirring up of Liver wind; convulsion due to tetanus [all wind tetany]
2. Migraine, Headache or bi syndrome due to Qi & Blood stagnation [stubborn migraine]
3. Carbuncle, & lumps due to stagnation of toxin [toxicity]
4. Very severe diseases such as TB, cancer, etc.
Dosage: 2-5g., 0.6-1g. in powder form
Contra: Blood deficiency wind, caution in pregnancy
Michael Tierra in his book Treating Cancer with Herbs states: Mainly for use by experienced practitioners.For various types of cancers including brain tumors. It is pungent neutral and toxic in high doses. It enters the Liver organ meridian.
It is anticonvulsant, detoxifying, reduces lumps and restores the flow of Qi to relieve pain.
It is contraindicated for individual with spasmodic conditions caused by anemia.
Dose: 2.5g. or 0.6-1g. in powder form in capsule.
For cancer it is commonly combined with Sclopendra [Wu Gong].
Wu Gong is also indicated for “cerebral tumors, malignant sift tissue tumors and pain caused by cancer.”
The venom of the scorpion contains a peptide that has been extracted and made into the drug chlorotoxin. It has been shown to specifically bind to gliomas and by blocking chloride channels can inhibit diffusion of brain cancer.
How? According to The Other Brain by R. Douglas Fields, the work of Harald Sontheimer took into consideration that for a cancer to spread within the tight quarters of the brain a glioblastoma would have to be able condense itself rather small. Like an octopus expelling water from it’s body to squeeze through an area no bigger around than it’s tentacle, he reasons, a glioblastoma must do something similar by squeezing water out from it’s cytoplasm. The ion channels within glia play an important role in this by regulating salt – notably chloride- inside the body and thus regulating the amount of water held within the cytoplasm.
“When glioma cells (cancers derived from glia) were treated with this chloride channel blocker, they should no longer migrate through tiny pores of precise size seperating different compartments”. And that is exactly what was found, glioma cells could not eliminate the chloride salt and thus stayed too bloated to shrink their bodies small enough to fit through the pores.
It is particularly relevant that this compound crosses the blood-brain barrier and would then have the ability to impact tumors of the brain. Sontheimer’s group found in studies that when given to rats with glioblastomas the brain tumors not only couldn’t spread, but actually shrank. Similar results were shown by Dr. Wang at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. Chlorotoxin has such an affinity for glial cells that it is also being explored as a means of more precisely locating a tumor’s location and as a possible carrier of radioactive molecules to create a very localized therapy brought specifically to large clusters of chloride channels that tend to accumulate around glioma cells.
From this new work we can gain insight into potential mechanisms of Quan Xie’s use in brain tumors.
Some work by Sontheimer : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2557067/