Convolvulus arvensis

       Animals tend to teach us many valuable lessons. The use of Field Bindweed is one for me as my greyhound with osteosarcoma (to the right) has stimulated me to revisit its use as an effective anti-tumor medication. Coincidentally, my mother died from ovarian cancer and my paternal grandfather from osteosarcoma and, perhaps, bindweed extract could have saved them had I only been more familiar with this herb?  I was not at that time. Field Bindweed as far as I can tell can be found in every state in the continental United States and is often labeled as a noxious weed. It is despised by most gardeners, but hallowed by me as an amazing medicinal herb not to be underestimated or so readily destroyed as is most often the case. Gardeners hate it because it tends to choke out their garden plants. I love it because its properties will choke out cancer tumors! I am rather angry over the extreme prices being charged for Bindweed supplements (VascuStatin & C-Statin) sold on the open market. They often have a price tag of over US$100 for a bottle of 120 capsules. Outrageous for a common weed--plus the purifying process is not that difficult, if even really necessary in the first place! In my world, business greed in life & death health issues is a crime!  On this page, I will put forth guidelines on how one can make one's own and save money and hopefully beat cancer.

      Convolvulus arvensis is a native of Europe & Asia, but has been transplanted here to the USA. "Field bindweed is a perennial vine arising from deep, persistent, spreading roots. It has slender, trailing to somewhat twining, branched stems, 8 to 79 inches long, sometimes forming tangled mats. Herbage is glabrous to pubescent and leaves are variable, 0.4 to 4 inches long and 0.1 to 2.4 inches wide, with petioles 5-40 mm long. Peduncles arise from leaf axils, range from 0.2 to 2.4 inches long, and bear 1 to several flowers. Corollas are broadly funnelform, 0.6 to 1.2 inches long and 0.9 to 1.4 inches broad. Fruit is a capsule, 5-10 mm long, bearing 1 to 4 seeds, each about 3-4 mm long. Seeds of field bindweed germinate throughout the growing season when adequate moisture is available, and a germination peak usually occurs in late spring or early summer."


     From  CONVOLVULUS ARVENSIS - A USEFUL WEED 
by MANBIR KAUR & A.N.KALIA,
International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Vol 4, Issue 1, 2012


   Ethnopharmacology

The plant is reported to have used in traditional medicine system from as early as 1730s.  Traditionally it is used to treat skin ulcers, reducing wounds, inflammation and swelling. The whole plant (without roots) is used for abdominal pain and abdominal worms in children. A tea made from flowers is laxative and also used to treat muscular weakness. The leaves extract is immunostimulant. The plant is also reported to have diuretic effect. It was also reported in folk medicine that leaves have been used in asthma, jaundice and as antihemorrhagic.

Phytochemical Investigation

Phytochemical studies on this plant showed the presence of Saponins, Flavonoids and caffeic acid, alkaloid,
lipids,and
δ-amino levulinic acid.  Field bindweed was found to contain the tropane alkaloids, tropine, pseudotropine, and tropinine and the pyrollidine alkaloids cuscohygrine and hygrine.  Seeds from Convolvulus arvensis contained 6.7-16.5% oil. The chemical composition of oil consist of palmitic 6.6-10.0%, stearic 12.0-19.6%,oleic 21.6-30.0%, linoleic 27.8-41.3%, linolenic 6.0-9.2%,arachidic 3.3-6.4%, behenic acid 2.8-4.3%. TLC and HPLC were applied to carry out qualitative and quantitative determination of polyphenolic compounds in the plant, such as coumarins and phenolic acids. It was identified and confirmed that umbelliferon and scopoletin were present in coumarin fraction. In the fraction of phenolic  acids the occurrence of protocatechuic, caffeic, chlorogenic, gentisic, p-coumaric, p- hydroxybenzoic, p-hydroxyphenylacetic, ferulic, vannilic and salicylic acids were present. The aerial parts, roots, and flowers of Convolvulus arvensis were investigated for their secondary metabolites. Eleven flavonoids were detected, namely Kaempferol and its 3-O-β-D-glucoside, 7- O-β-D-glucoside, 3-O-α-L-rhamnosyl, 7-O-β-D-glucoside, 3-O-rutinoside,7-O-rutinoside, 3-O-α-L-rhamnoside and 3-O-β-D-galactorhamnoside as well as Quercetin and its 3-O-α-L-rhamnoside and 3-O-rutinoside.  Four coumarins reported are 7 hydroxycoumarin (umbelliferone); 6,7-dihydroxycoumarin (esculetin); 6-methoxy-7-hydroxycoumarin (scopoletin) and 6-methoxycoumarin7-O-glucoside (scopoletin7-O-glucoside). Amino acids and free sugars were also detected.  Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of tannins, flavonoids, unsaturated sterols/triterpenes, carbohydrates, lactones and proteins/ amino acids.

Pharmacology

   A purified bindweed extract is used to inhibit the growth of tumor cells, inhibit the growth of blood vessels and enhance immune function. The high molecular weight extract 1-200 μg/egg inhibit angiogenesis in chicken chorioallantoin membranes by 73% and at the dose of 14 mg inhibited tumor growth in mice by 77%

    The polyhydroxytropane alkaloid (Calystegins)from roots of naturally growing Convolvulus arvensis showed significant inhibitory activity towards β-glucosidase and α-galactosidase.

  Total alkaloid extracts when administrated to cats and rabbits, gave a hypertensive effect with vasodilation and an increase in the coronary circulatory rate.

  The roots and also a resin made from it is cholagogue, diuretic, laxative and strongly purgative.

  The dried root contains 4.9% resin. The juice of the root is used in the treatment of fever.

  The aqueous and alcoholic extract showed moderate diuretic, tranquilizing, hypoglycermic, antihemorrhagic activity, in addition to antibacterial and antifungal effects. The extracts were found to be safe for liver and kidney functions. They also act to relieve intestinal and uterine pain.

  White rats were examined for the effect of convaren-dried extract of plant Convolvulus arvensis L on liver bile secretory function in case of acute necrosogenic hepatitis. Convaren is proven to eliminate abnormalities of liver thus convaren is recommended for treatment of acute hepatitis. 
(from: International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology | July-August 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 4 Page 657,  Investigation of Convaren's stimulating effect on immune organs of mice by Komila Porsokhonova*, Rustam Agzamov)

  Convolvulus arvens is induced a dose dependent (0.4-2.8mg ml (-1) relaxation of rabbit duodenal smooth muscle.





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     I first became interested in Field Bindweed many years ago after reading the Riordin Clinic's work on the herb as an anti-tumor medication. Supposedly, a patient of theirs that had stage 4 ovarian cancer had cured herself by drinking either bindweed tea or tincture prescribed by an Oklahoma American Indian medicine man. It was an amazing recovery! Morton Walker writes about this case study:


"During the summer of 1987, forty-nine year-old Myrna Simone Corbette, a teacher working in the Tulsa, Oklahoma public school system, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Because of the malignancy's metastases to other parts of her body, Ms. Corbette's oncologist told her that she had less than one year to live. "My evaluation of your Stage III malignancy," she remembers the cancer specialist saying, "causes me to predict that even with your undergoing chemotherapy or even with surgery, this disease will end your life. I'm sorry that nothing can be done."

Since there was no hope for her, the teacher refused to go through any kind of standard cancer treatment. Instead, she went looking for help in a variety of places which were far removed from the medical mainstream. One of the odder forms of treatment she adopted involved her consulting a renowned shaman (medicine man) tending to the healing needs of some Oklahoma Indian tribes. After listening to her health history, this medicine man gave Ms. Corbette a plant tincture that he had prepared with instructions for her to swallow a few drops of it every day. She faithfully followed the shaman's directions for more than twelve months.

After the first eight days of taking his tincture Ms. Corbette saw that the size of her abdomen, which had expanded greatly due to ascites, was beginning to be less prominent. By the end of three weeks the teacher's cancer symptoms had improved greatly; swelling totally disappeared from her body. And her physical progress continued throughout the entire time that she took the tincture. During one of Ms. Corbette's frequent visits to the shaman to refurbish her tincture supply, she learned that his medicine was derived from the most common of wild growing plants, the ubiquitous Bindweed known botanically as Convolvulus arvensis. "



     In the above account, Walker writes that she took a Bindweed tincture and goes into some detail about dosage and frequency.  Most tinctures are hydro-ethanol (water/alcohol) mixtures. However, in another account directly from the Riordan Clinic web-site, this was written:

"Finally there was the woman who showed up at the Riordan Clinic in the mid 90's saying she had drunk an Indian tea remedy that made her ovarian cancer go away. She said she was legitimately diagnosed with ovarian cancer which is typically fatal. She made the tea from bind weed."

     In this account, it is suggested she made a tea out of bindweed. Teas are water infusions. This may seem moot to many people, but it does matter as water and ethanol as herbal solvents (menstruums) can only extract certain compounds out of an herb at certain levels.  At this time, there is no way for me to verify which was actually used, but we should keep in mind that potentially both were employed until proven differently. Interesting it should be noted from the above citation that the cancer patient only took a few drops of the tincture daily while the amount of tea she may have consumed was not mentioned but one must presume it was at least one cup a day. Water will only extract volatile oils, aromatic substances, certain alkaloids to a limited extent.  Water has a more extensive range of solvent action than any other liquid, can be commonly had and is cheap and has the capacity to extract both electrolytes and non-electrolytes dissolved by it. Alcohol as a solvent is the next important one used in herbal medicine. Unlike water, ethanol menstruums will also preserve herbal medications along with extracting certain compounds less likely to be as soluble in water (resins, volatile oils, alkaloids, glycosides). On the other hand, water has the disadvantage of extracting many of the useless, inert compounds in herbs such as gums, albumin and starch. Since most herbal tinctures use a combination of water and ethanol as an extraction menstruum, one can get the best of both worlds from a combination. Just be warned, a water infusion (tea) will extract different compounds at different levels than the water/ethanol herbal tinctures! This may be very important for us when extracting Bindweed!  Generally speaking, water will absorb less of the toxic alkaloids than ethanol.

     Raw Field Bindweed contains toxic alkaloids which are removed when it is processed for commercial supplementation. These alkaloids all have low molecular weights which makes it simpler when extracting. From what I can gather, these toxic alkaloids are the
tropane alkaloids: tropine, pseudotropine, and tropinine and the pyrollidine alkaloids: cuscohygrine and hygrine.  It is the high molecular weight polysaccharides and/or proteins in Bindweed that are desirable, non-toxic and are purified for medicinal use.  It is important to keep in mind: "What is there that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison. Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison."    Paracelsus (1493-1541) This will be an important point to remember when we discuss making homemade Bindweed tincture.

     Let's examine more closely the tropane and pyrollidine alkaloids. Tropane is the base chemical structure of this group of alkaloids found in a number of medicinal plant families, i.e. Solanaceae, Erythroxylaceae, Convolvulaceae, and Dioscoreaceae.  Some of the useful tropane alkaloids found in these plants are: atropine (Jimson Weed, Belladonna, etc), cocaine, cinnamoyl cocaine, ecgonine (Erythroxylon coca) and hyoscyamine (Jimson weed, mandrake, Henbane). All of these plants have medicinal attributes exactly because of those tropane alkaloids present! Their water and ethanol solubilities are interesting as well and tend to show that water extracts less than ethanol.

Atropine
(Molecular Weight: 324.43)  dissolve in water at  1 gram in 455 ml water (60C) and in ethanol at 1 gram per 1.2 mls.

Cocaine
(Molecular Weight: 303.353) dissolve in water at 1 gram in 600 ml of water (60C) and in ethanol at 1 gram per 6.5 ml.

Ecgonine
(molecular weight: 185.2203) dissolve in water at 1 gram in 561.8 ml water and 1 gram in 67 ml ethanol.
It is freely soluble in water,  soluble in alcohol, sparingly soluble in absolute alcohol and insoluble in either.

Hyoscyamine (Molecular Weight: 289.38) will dissolve in water at 1 gram in 281 ml water (pH 9.5) and it is freely soluble in ethanol at 1 gram per 20 ml.


 Back to Bindweed and its specific tropine &  pyrollidine alkaloids:


1)  Tropine . . . . . . . has a molecular weight of 141.2108.  Tropine is the main occupant of the tropane alkaloids and we will look to the above ones as being similar to this one. If that is true, then tropine will dissolve much less in water than ethanol. If we want to limit tropine extraction in our bindweed raw extract, pure distilled water is the best way to go.

2)  Pseudotropine . . .  has a molecular weight of 141.2108 as expected and as a tropane alkaloid, is very similar in characteristics to atropine which means, water extracts much less of it then would ethanol. Water solubility: 1 gram per 645 mL.

3)  Tropinine . . . . . . . there isn't much data on this alkaloid,  so one will presume it is similar to the above mentioned ones, more soluble in ethanol than water.

4)  Cuscohygrine . . . . belongs to the pyrollidine alkaloids in Bindweed. It has a molecular weight of 224.35.  It is found to be miscible with water; and freely soluble in ethanol, ether, and benzene.

5)  Hygrine . . . . . . . . . belongs to the pyrollidine alkaloids and has a MW of 141.21.  It is soluble in dilute mineral acids, chloroform and ethanol; and slightly soluble in water.


The only two Toxicity Studies found on the Convolvulus arvensis:


Phytochemistry. 1995 May;39(2):301-3.
Tropane alkaloids and toxicity of Convolvulus arvensis.
Todd FG1, Stermitz FR, Schultheis P, Knight AP, Traub-Dargatz J.

Abstract

Horses in a few, localized northern Colorado pastures exhibited weight loss and colic. At post mortem, intestinal fibrosis and vascular sclerosis of the small intestine was identified. The pastures where the affected horses grazed were overrun by field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). Bindweed from the pasture was found to contain the tropane alkaloids tropine, pseudotropine, and tropinone and the pyrrolidine alkaloids cuscohygrine and hygrine. Laboratory mice readily ate C. arvensis and exhibited a variety of abnormal clinical signs depending on the amount eaten. Similar alkaloids have been found in other Convolvulus species and cuscohygrine and calystegines (polyhydroxytropanes) have been previously reported from C. arvensis roots. This is the first report of simple tropane alkaloids in C. arvensis, a world wide problem weed. Pseudotropine, the major alkaloid, is known to affect motility and might represent a causative agent for the observed cases of equine intestinal fibrosis.


and


Vet Hum Toxicol. 1995 Oct;37(5):452-4.
Toxicity of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) to mice
.
Schultheiss PC1, Knight AP, Traub-Dargatz JL, Todd FG, Stermitz FR.

Abstract

The effects of feeding high and low doses of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) to mice were investigated. Bindweed contains several alkaloids, including pseudotropine, and lesser amounts of tropine, tropinone, and meso-cuscohygrine. Mice fed bindweed exclusively died or were euthanized after 4-7 d and had severe hepatic necrosis and gastritis with ulceration or erosions. Mice fed low doses of bindweed along with standard laboratory mouse diet for 6 or 8 w had no clinical disease or gross lesions on necropsy examination but did have histologic lesions of mild multifocal hepatitis and gastritis




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The patent on the extraction of High Molecular Weight Bindweed Extract:



High molecular weight extracts of Convolvulus arvensis field (field bindweed)

(US 6083510 A)

Abstract

A purified bindweed extract is used to inhibit the growth of tumor cells, inhibit the growth of blood vessels, and enhance immune function. The bindweed extract is prepared by removing toxic low molecular weight components of Convolvulus arvensis.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One object of the invention is to provide a pharmaceutical consisting of high molecular weight extracts of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) which have low toxicity to normal cells and induce anti-tumor effects in animals, inhibit the growth of blood vessels, and enhance immune function in mammals. Preferably these high molecular weight extracts have components less than about 500 Daltons removed. More preferably the removed components are less than about 1,000. Even more preferably, the removed components are less than about 3,000 Daltons. Even more preferably, the removed components are less than about 5000, more preferably 10,000.

One embodiment of the invention is to isolate the high molecular weight extracts of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) using a molecular weight filter or alternatively precipitation with ammonium sulfate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

We discovered a high molecular weight extract of bindweed that surprisingly has low toxicity to normal cells and induces anti-tumor effects, inhibits the growth of blood vessels, and enhances immune function in mammals. We also found that the low molecular weight components of bindweed extract contained alkaloids on the order of 300-500 Daltons that were toxic to both normal cells and tumor cells. In order to remove the toxic low molecular weight components we used a molecular weight sieve (filter). In general, the method of the invention for obtaining high molecular weight extracts of Convolvulus arvensis consists of boiling fresh or aged bindweed in an aqueous solution to obtain a brown tea-like mixture. This mixture is then centrifuged or filtered to remove the solid material to create a solution. It is only necessary to remove the 300-500 molecular weight components to remove the toxicity to normal cells. However, we found that the low molecular weight components might nonspecifically stick to the membrane and come back off. Therefore, preferably, a larger molecular weight sieve is used--on the order of 1000 Daltons, more preferably, 3000 Daltons, even more preferably 5000 Daltons. We find that even when molecular weight components of up to 10,000 Daltons are removed, the extract retains its anti-tumor effects in animals, its ability to inhibit the growth of blood vessels, and its ability to enhance immune function in mammals. In the Examples below, after boiling the fresh or aged bindweed in an aqueous solution to obtain a brown tea-like mixture, the solution is then passed through a molecular weight filtration device to obtain a high molecular weight retentate (BWR), or precipitated using ammonium sulfate to isolate a high molecular weight precipitate (BWP).


Summary of the above Patent process:

1)  Boil fresh or dried leaf in water to make a simple tea.
2)  Centrifuge or filter out the plant material and retain the tea solution.
3)  Filter the tea with a molecular filter that will remove molecules that are below 500 daltons. This was done in two ways: (a) the solution is passed through a molecular weight filtration device (sieve) to obtain a high molecular weight retentate (BWR) or (b) precipitated using ammonium sulfate to isolate a high molecular weight precipitate (BWP).


EXAMPLE 1

Preparation of High Molecular Weight Extracts of Bindweed

We have isolated high molecular weight extracts of Convolvulus arvensis as follows. Fresh Convolvulus arvensis was harvested and the seeds, and flowers, were discarded. These portions of the plants were homogenized using a Waring blender. To the homogenized plant material, 3 volumes of deionized water were added to create a mixture. This mixture was then boiled for 30 minutes to obtain a tea. The solids were removed from the tea by filtration, and the supernatant retained. The supernatant was cooled and from it,  two high molecular weight isolates were prepared. Some of the tea supernatant was processed in a CH2 (Millipore stir cell) concentrator equipped with a 3,000 or greater Dalton cartridge. The retentate of the concentrator (containing only molecules larger than 3,000 Daltons) was retained, and lyophilized, and is herein referred to as BWR. Alternatively, some of the tea supernatant was combined with ammonium sulfate to yield a final saturation of 50% ammonium sulfate. This resulted in precipitation of some of the components of the tea supernatant. The precipitated components were then collected after centrifugation at 25,000 g for 30 minutes, and resuspended in phosphate buffered saline to form a new solution. This new solution was then passed through a ultrafiltration device using a 3,000 Dalton membrane. The retentate was collected, and lyophilized, and herein referred to as BWP. BWP, and BWR, were stored at 4° C. in a desiccator prior to use in characterization, and anti-tumor, anti-angiogenesis, and immune parameter studies.


Summarizing the above patent Example 1 process:

1)  Fresh leaf was harvested, minus the flower and seeds.
2)  The fresh leaf is homogenized with a food blender in 3 volumes of distilled water to one volume of leaf.
3)  Boil for 30 minutes to make a tea.
4)  The cooled tea is filtrated to remove plant material.
5)  The tea was then split into two volumes, one being concentrated with a model CH2 Millipore stirred cell device and the other combining it with ammonium sulfate to yield a final saturation of 50% ammonium sulfate. This resulted in precipitation of some of the components of the tea supernatant.  The precipitated components were then collected after centrifugation at 25,000 g for 30 minutes, and resuspended in phosphate buffered saline to form a new solution.
6)  Both volumes from these two methods were combined and freeze-dried to make a  powder.




The  Lab Study which the above patent is based upon:


P R Health Sci J. 2002 Dec;21(4):323-8.

Effects of a high molecular mass Convolvulus arvensis extract on tumor growth and angiogenesis.

Meng XL1, Riordan NH, Casciari JJ, Zhu Y, Zhong J, González MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Riordan HD.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Extract production and characterization. The aerial portions of Convolvulus arvensis were collected from land on which no pesticides or heribcides have been used for 15 years. The fresh raw material was mixed in distilled water at a concentration of 0.16 grams/mL using a commercial blender.  The mixture was boiled for 30 minutes, allowed to cool and filtered with a 100 micron sieve.  The filtrate was centrifuged at 11,300g for 15 minutes at 4C. The supernatant was filtered with a 1.5 micron fiberglass and 1.2 micron nylon filters and then concentrated using a pressurized stir cell apparatus (model C2, Millipore) with a 30 Kda YM-30 Millipore membrane.

Summary of the Lab process used above:

1)  Fresh leaf was collected and combined with distilled water at 0.16 grams/mL then homogenized using a commercial blender.
2)  Boil for 30 minutes and then filter with a 100 micron filter membrane.
3)  Take filtrate and centrifuge at 11,300g for 15 minutes at 4 degrees C.
4)  After centrifugation, take supernatant, filter with a 1.5 micron fiberglass & 1.2 micron nylon filters and then concentrated using a pressurized stir cell apparatus (model C2, Millipore) with a 30 Kda YM-30 Millipore membrane.




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DISCUSSION



   
     So what have we learned so far? That the toxic alkaloids found in the raw plant are probably best to be avoided, that is for sure, but how important is this really? As I will discuss shortly, there are ways to try to fractionalize out the low molecular weight tropine &  pyrollidine alkaloids to be on the safe side, but let me remind you that the use of a bindweed extract first came to the attention of the Riordan Clinic from a woman who cured her ovarian stage 4 cancer with the help of an Oklahoma medicine-man and his bindweed. You can bet that this Native American did not bother or even know about those alkaloids! He only knew Bindweed could be a valuable remedy.  He probably just made a simple tincture or tea using the traditional methods.

     More over, its not as if the accepted chemotherapies employed against cancer are not toxic, too! Most probably, even more so!  So each of us will have to weigh the risks involved and carefully monitor how a raw bindweed extract may be affecting our unique individual metabolism and disease and play it by ear--if one cannot extract out the low molecular weight alkaloids? Most tropane alkaloid poisonings cause an anticholinergic syndrome. Initial signs of poisoning by these substances are dryness of mucous membranes (dry mouth), dryness and redness of the skin, possibly dilation of the pupils.  When higher quantities are consumed:  dizziness, impaired vision, palpitations, disorientation and hallucinations. These symptoms occur relatively quickly after ingestion (5 to 30 minutes).

     It is interesting to note that in the above citation from CONVOLVULUS ARVENSIS - A USEFUL WEED, states that a Convolvulus based drug, Convaren (made in Uzbekistan), actually was used in treating liver disorders such as hepatitis! Talk about contradictions! The desirable high molecular weight components may reduce the toxic effects of the low molecular alkaloids!  The two toxicity studies on Convolvulus above are also of dubious value. The study involving poisoned horses grazing in a pasture mostly containing Bindweed where the animals experienced weight loss and colic (GI tract dysfunction). It sounds as if those horses were forced to eat the bindweed which is not natural and would have involved those animals experiencing extreme hunger which means they could have easily have eaten other toxic plants. Plus, it is just presumed that bindweed may be the cause in that study as there was no detailed census of exactly what other toxic herbs may have been growing in that pasture! At any rate, this was not a good study on many counts. A lot of suppositions may have easily biased that study. The second study involving a trial with mice that were force-fed Convolvulus exclusively resulting in liver cell death and gastritis with ulceration/erosions. Some mice are said to have died in the 7-day trial while others did not. Again, this is a pretty severe, unnatural trial! The other group of mice in this trial that were fed low dose Bindweed along with the normal mouse diet, showed no clinical symptoms. All in all, I suspect the toxicity of the tropine &  pyrollidine alkaloids are pretty much blown-out of proportion in many instances. I know I would personally take Bindweed with its toxic alkaloids before submitting to traditional chemo or radiation. Each of us will have to find our own "truth" in life and live or die from our convictions.

     If you study the patent in its entirety, you find this toward the end:
"Crude Water-Soluble Extracts of C. arvensis. Extracts were prepared as in Example 1 with the omission of the step of removing the low molecular weight component. The crude water-soluble extracts were prepared as follows:  Fresh Convolvulus arvensis and Polygonum convolvulus were each harvested and the seeds, and flowers, were discarded. The remaining portions of the plants were homogenized using a Waring blender. To the homogenized plant material, 3 volumes of deionized water were added to create a mixture. This mixture was then boiled for 30 minutes to obtain a tea. The solids were removed from the tea by filtration, and the supernatant retained. The supernatant was cooled and lyophilized, and stored at 4° C. in a desiccator prior to use in characterization, and anti-tumor, anti-angiogenesis, and immune parameter studies." 

Now here is the "kicker" when they didn't' try to remove the so-called toxic alkaloids in this experiment! 

"These extracts were tested for toxicity as in Example 3 and surprisingly, it was found that such extracts were completely nontoxic, exhibiting an LD50 of greater than 20,000 mg/kg. Such a toxicity is equivalent to water. Therefore, the water soluble extract does not result in a composition with appreciable quantities of the alkaloids that are known to be toxic. This means that the process of preparing the extracts for use in a patient can be simplified considerably, resulting in a much less expensive treatment."
    So there you have it!  As I guessed, the water extract of Bindweed seems to be non-toxic even if you don't go the extra step of trying to remove the low molecular weight alkaloids! Case closed! Of course, the commercial supplement is being sold with the low molecular weight alkaloids extracted at a hefty price, probably to make the FDA happy and to avoid possible litigation, but such further processing appears totally unnecessary in the greater scheme of things. Be your own judge!

     Bindweed has been used in herbal medicine in the past before its tumor fighting qualities were known. It has been eaten as an early spring salad ingredient in many countries in the Middle East. I suspect that if one makes a tea out of bindweed with distilled water, that limited extraction of the toxic alkaloids will occur. An ethanol Bindweed tincture would probably be more toxic and should be used in much limited dosage as compared to the water extraction forms. I will describe to you how I make my raw Bindweed infusion and how you can use ethanol, but I would use it after you have completed bindweed extraction of the raw herb with distilled water. Once you have the finished tea extraction solution, one can add ethanol to it at around a 10-15% concentration for preservation qualities, so you can use it all year around without it going bad.

     As a side note, let me say that I often use DMSO as an herbal menstruum and I find it a very useful solvent not only in extractions but with the finished product being advantageous as DMSO will carry your medicinal component much more efficiently into the skin and even internally, if digested. However, in the case of Bindweed Extract, it should be used with caution or avoided all together as a menstruum or in the final product. This is because DMSO cannot carry molecules with molecular weights larger than 1000 daltons. Thus, it will only carry the toxic alkaloids we want to avoid into the skin and not the larger ones we desire.

      What about extracting the low molecular weight alkaloids? In the Bindweed patent, the use of a molecular filter membrane was utilized for that purpose along with the technique of precipitating out the high molecular weight compounds using ammonium sulfate.   In the pioneering 2002 study, the small molecules were removed by high-pressure ultra-filtration and ammonium sulfate precipitation which I will discuss both next. Both techniques should work and are really not that complicated for even the Do-it-Yourselfer to master though they can be expensive in some cases to implement, but since it appears that the water soluble extract is relatively non-toxic as I pointed out a bit earlier, why worry?



Extracting the Low Molecular Weight Alkaloids & Purifying the High Molecular Weight Polysaccharides/Proteins:

     It is this purifying process that seems to give license to the commercial suppliers to charge exorbitant prices for their processed Bindweed Extract. It really isn't that difficult or expensive.  So, what do we need to do? The object of this step is to remove the low molecular weight tropine &  pyrollidine alkaloids from our raw Bindweed tea to heighten its safety. This can be done in several ways and we should look to the above patent and study for guidance. However, saying this, know, that here in the USA, if you attempt to use this process in your home, you are legally violating patent infringement laws and can be prosecuted. I will describe here only the theory of extraction, how it was done in the patent and I do not advise anyone doing it on their own as it is illegal and a patent infringement here in the USA.

     The molecular size of a compound is one of the most useful characteristics that we can use to separate it from others.  The below will deal with techniques designed to separate by size.

     The above patent and study used three methods to purify the raw Bindweed tea:

1)  Centrifugation . . . . . . . . this is usually the second step in the separation process by submitting the raw bindweed solution to the forces of a centrifuge. A lab centrifuge puts the bindweed solution under centrifugal forces with the principle being that plant particles still in suspension despite an initial gross screening will settle to the bottom of a tube.  This is particularly important if one takes into the consideration that the low molecular weight toxic alkaloids can attach themselves to the plant's particulate as was mentioned earlier in the patent.  A centrifuge speeds up this sedimentation depending on time and RPMs resulting in the denser materials settling into a pellet at the bottom of the centrifuge tube. The top supernatant is poured off leaving this pellet giving  very clean liquid. The Raw bindweed "tea" needs to be separated from all plant tissue before final purification and using a centrifuge is the easiest way to accomplish this.
     Centrifuges can be expensive affairs to purchase but thanks to eBay, one can often find older but very useful units for a fraction of the cost. I did. I found a nice tabletop model Sorvall GLC-4 for under US$200 (pictured to the right). Often, they can be had much cheaper than $200! It has been a life-saver for me in my herbal practice. It also was quite beneficial when I processed my Bindweed extract.



2)  A high pressure stirred cell ultra-filtration apparatus . . . . . . . . the above bindweed extract patent and study process used a Millipore model CH-2 stirred cell for their purification process. Millipore no longer makes that model, but there are newer ones that do the same thing, i.e. Amicon® Stirred Cells apparatus pictured to the right. These devices are pressurized to force the raw bindweed solution through the appropriately pore sized membrane filter while retaining and concentrating the desired macromolecules. In short the beauty of this set-up is that the raw solution is placed in a cell that can be put under pressure, forcing the solution more efficiently through a bottom placed membrane filter that is continually cleaned or wiped by a paddle using a magnetic stirrer. The filtered solute drains through a bottom tube into your collection flask. View the YouTube video to the side for a better understanding of the process.
     Ultrafiltration is the process of separating extremely small particles/molecules from fluids. The primary basis for separation is molecular size. Ultra-filtration can only separate molecules that differ by at least an order of magnitude in size. Molecules of similar size cannot be separated by ultra-filtration.  Materials ranging in size from 1 to 1000K molecular weight (MW) are retained by certain ultra-filtration membranes while water will pass through. Particulate matter can also be retained. Ultrafiltration membranes can be used both to purify material passing through the filter and also to collect material retained by the filter. Filtrate smaller than the pore size membrane-rating pass through and can be separated from higher molecular weight components. Materials larger than the pore size rating are retained on the filter and can be separated from low molecular weight contaminants. Ultra-filters are also ideal for removal of materials of low molecular weight contaminants. Depending on the higher molecular weights to be retained, the most frequently used membranes have a nominal molecular weight limit (NMWL) of 3 kDa to 100 kDa. In the above lab process, a 30 Kda YM-30 Millipore membrane was employed. The YM-30 class filter membrane has a NMWL of 30 kDa.


3) Ammonium sulfate precipitation . . . . . . . . . precipitation using a neutral salt is one of the most commonly employed processes for concentration of large molecular weight molecules such as proteins and polysaccharides, which are what we want when purifying our Bindweed extract. Ammonium sulfate is likewise the most commonly used neutral salt as it is highly soluble, non-toxic, and inexpensive. Ammonium sulfate increases hydrophobic precipitation of proteins and is affected by protein concentrations, pH, and temperature gradients.
     Let's take a more detailed look of this method as described in the patent: 
"Alternatively, some of the tea supernatant was combined with ammonium sulfate to yield a final saturation of 50% ammonium sulfate. This resulted in precipitation of some of the components of the tea supernatant. The precipitated components were then collected after centrifugation at 25,000 g for 30 minutes, and re-suspended in phosphate buffered saline to form a new solution. This new solution was then passed through a ultrafiltration device using a 3,000 Dalton membrane. The retentate was collected, and lyophilized, and herein referred to as BWP. BWP, and BWR, were stored at 4° C. in a desiccator prior to use in characterization, and anti-tumor, anti-angiogenesis, and immune parameter studies."
     I won't really go in further detail on this process, particularly since it probably really isn't even necessary to worry about precipitating out the high molecular weights in light that the water extract seems nontoxic according Example 11 at the bottom of the published patent as discussed above.


Conclusion:

      If you want to be on the safe side, one can fairly easily extract the low molecular weight toxic alkaloids out as discussed above, but as far as I am concerned, a distilled water extract of raw Bindweed is relatively nontoxic as shown by work done by the patent holders and documented in their Example 11 heading on that patent. They were surprised themselves by the test  results of nontoxicity!  Convolvulus arvensis being a very common growing weed found throughout the United States and the World has no business costing so much on the commercial market as it is currently being charged. Make your own and hopefully beat some cancers!  Click on the below or side link for my web-page describing how I actually make my own.



Home-made Bindweed Extract











Other Testimonies:

(Note: The proteoglycan mixture (PGM) referred to below is bindweed's active components.)



      A 57-year-old woman with breast cancer that had metastasized to her lung, brain, and bones had been on chemotherapy for four months with no change in her clinical status. Two months after PGM was added to her treatment, her brain lesions were gone and the lung metastases had decreased by one-half. Her physician is hopeful for her full recovery. A 62-year-old ICU nurse who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May of 2000 says "PGM is a Godsend." Her cancer had spread to her liver and she was given 1-3  months to live. She was offered chemotherapy and radiation, but declined them based on her experiences as an ICU nurse. By August she could feel her liver tumors in her abdomen to the level of her belly button.  After 8 weeks of taking PGM her liver has receded and can no longer be felt. On a recent visit to her doctor he commented that she is a walking miracle.

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What Doctors are Saying:

     "We have been in practice for 15 years and are always looking for something that works. It has been my experience that if bindweed extract does not shrink a tumor, it will arrest its growth it stops the progression of the disease, which buys valuable time to add additional therapies. Every one of our patients that has used it in their treatment protocol has had a positive effect. We recently had an experience with a Stage IV breast cancer patient with metastases to the liver and bone. In addition to traditional cancer treatment, the patient used bindweed extract, along with a number of other natural protocols. The growth of her tumors stopped and her markers went down from 950 to 530 in the first 45 days. She had been labeled terminal, but instead, she has been given the time to completely change her outlook on life. It has always been our feeling that if we can give people more quality of life and a little more quantity if we can minimize their suffering, then we're doing well. PGM has definitely helped us accomplish that goal."

"We have also found MPGC to be very useful, because there are broader applications for it. We have had successful results with cancer challenges. MPGC has been quite effective for our patients with both acute and chronic infections excellent for immune compromised patients with chronic conditions. It has even been effective for chronic dental infections, cavitations and root canals."

Jeff Marrongelle, DC
Schuylkill Bionutritional
Schuylkill, Pennsylvania

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"PGM seems to be responsible for a lot of positive changes in my patients' cancer treatment. My patients also report that they feel better and experience a reduction of symptoms on PGM."

"I use MPGC not only for my cancer patients, but also for immune stimulation for conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, HIV, chronic infections, and general immune dysfunction and my patients feel great on it."

Mary Shackelton, ND
Boulder, Colorado

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"Clinically, I think the bindweed extract is a very interesting substance. We have observational clinical evidence so far that it is an effective angiogenesis inhibitor. We have been unable to study this in a research sense as yet. I think PGM has a very exciting future. We also find that it is much better tolerated than shark cartilage. In terms of electrodermal testing, PGM consistently tests better than the two other main angiogenesis inhibitors, shark cartilage and thalidomide."

"Basically, the MPGC is a highly effective remedy, and we find it useful in a wide range of situations. We are using it mostly in cancer. We would like to do further studies to look at the changes in tumor necrosis factor, which we can measure directly before and after the use of MPGC in our cancer patients. My clinical experience with MPGC leads me to state that it has to be used with some degree of care, as in some patients underlying conditions may be temporarily exacerbated. But in our experience, all such occurrences have resulted in ultimate resolution of whatever problem there was."

Julian Kenyon, MD, MB, ChB, Medical Director
The Dove Clinic for Integrative Medicine
Hampshire, UK

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November 24, 2000

Dear Doctor,

On June 5th of this year, I went into surgery for a planned Whipple procedure (removal of pancreas duodenum for pancreatic cancer). After the exploratory laparontomy, it was found that the tumor of the common duct extended along the porta, into the liver and was felt to be unresectable. The surgeons took samples to biopsy, which confirmed invasive adenocarcinoma of the pancreas -Stage IV. They offered radiation and chemotherapy, not as a cure, but as a possible short-term life extension of an additional month or two. Without this option, they told me, I might only live one to three months. Having the background in nursing that I do, I quickly turned down this therapy and went home.

All of my nutritional supplements were immediately increased and many others added, including Beta 1-3 Glucan, IP6, and enzymes. In addition, I was taking Vitamin E, CoQ10, selenium, lipoic acid, calcium, magnesium, MSM, niacinamide, and I increased my oral Vitamin C to 16 grams per day. After July 27th, I started on WPGC (Muramyl polysaccharide-glycan complex) and increased my lipoic acid. It was evident that despite all of the supplements I was taking daily, including large amounts of intravenous Vitamin C, the tumor was growing. Due to the hardness of the tumor, I could feel its outline. My liver was 3 fingers below the ribcage.

On September 29th, I started another supplement - PGM, taking 2 oz. daily. After 7 days on the PGM, I noticed a change- there was a reduction in the size of the tumor. On October 6th, I increased the daily dose of PGM to 4 oz. On October 7th, my pitting edema, which was about a 1+ in my ankles and legs, along with some fluid buildup around my abdomen - disappeared. On October 11th, twelve days after starting the PGM, the hard area (or rim of the tumor) had decreased about a quarter of an inch; and behind the bard rim, about one half was spongy to the touch. After a stent replacement on October 26th, my doctor said he noticed the tumor decreasing in size. Once a week, I continued to examine myself and noticed the size of the tumor decreasing. By November 19th I could no longer feel the tumor and my liver has returned to its normal size. Thank you for this opportunity.

Sincerest Regards.

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* Pancreatic cancer: A woman presented at the clinic with a very large pancreatic mass with metastasis to the liver. During earlier surgery, a biopsy identified a poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma at the head of the pancreas. The liver was described as full of tumors, rock-hard, and palpable at the level of the umbilicus (or navel). Dr. Riordan began an IV of vitamin C and pancreatic enzymes. At the 2-month interval, although the woman was alive, the tumors showed no signs of regression. At that time, Bindweed was added to the protocol. Within 8 days, the tumor felt softer to the touch, and within a couple of weeks, the tumor shrinkage was dramatic. Simultaneously, laboratory values dramatically improved. Bilirubin reduced from 18 mg/dL-1.2 mg/dL. Liver enzymes and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) became normal after being in the thousands. The woman's edema disappeared and the tumorous mass showed a 90% reduction. At last account, the woman continued to do well using Bindweed, MPGC, and pancreatic enzymes.

* Colon cancer: A man with colon cancer, having a 5-cm perispinal and a 6-cm pericervical metastasis, was scheduled for radiation therapy. After using Bindweed and MPGC for 5 weeks, the large neck metastasis disappeared.
Suggested dosage: As therapy, Neil Riordan, scientist/spokesperson for the center, says that it appears better to start with an initial high dose, that is, 6 capsules a day of Bindweed (250 mg) and 6 of MPGC (containing 250 mg of lactobacillus fermentum and 50 mg of beta 1,3 glucan). For maintenance, use 4 capsules a day of both Bindweed and MPGC. A critical judgment has to be made in regard to how long to keep a patient on the therapy and at what dosage.