Aspirin is a molecule found in the bark of the Willow Tree.
Human beings, throughout their history, have tasted and tested the plants around them, searching for cures of their ailments. There were no pharmacies, no doctors, no pills or injections. All our primitive ancestors had were their eyes and their hands and their imaginations.
If plants were growing around them, they knew some of them were good to eat and some helped them with their pains and their illnesses. Mankind has always been hopeful that Nature would provide him with strength and with good health.
HOW PLATELETS KILL CANCER CELLS
We continue to believe that to this day.
In Asia, the Asians tried and tested the leaves of the Ginko Biloba tree and found that it improved their memory.
The Asians also pulled the Ginseng plant from the ground, ate the root and found so many medicinal benefits that they used it to give them strength and endurance, increase their virility and cure many of their illnesses.
The Europeans found that the bark of the Willow Tree reduced their fevers and their pain.
Hippocrates, five hundred years before the Birth of Christ mentioned willow bark as a useful antidote for fevers and pain.
However, it wasn’t until about two centuries ago that scientists isolated the molecule in the willow bark which produced these good effects. They called that molecule, whose chemical name is acetylsalicylic acid, ASPIRIN.
The scientists found also that Aspirin reduced the clotting of blood.
Lately, scientists studying aspirin which is the ingredient in the willow bark that reduces fever and pain, found also that it reduces the incidence of cancer.
These scientists are now trying to figure out how aspirin reduces the incidence of cancer.
Aspirin has one major effect on the human body: it reduces the “stickiness” of platelets. The function of platelets in the bloodstream is to cause clotting of the blood.
When, for any reason, a vein or artery is ruptured, the blood pours out. This would ultimately kill the individual. Nature evolved a cure.
Platelets, tiny pieces of blood tissue, began to be grow in the blood stream.
After many generations, those people who had the genetic endowment for platelets survived, whilst the others died out.
Ultimately, all humans had platelets when they were born. The platelet when it leaves a torn artery or vein changes its shape and releases chemicals that initiate the Clotting Cascade.
This “Clotting Cascade” is so complex that dozens of pages, entire chapters and books have been written to describe it.
Medical students are required to memorize the basic steps in the cascade in order to understand bleeding and how to stop, and in many cases, to start it.
In most cases we want to stop bleeding. However, if we have a patient with clogged arteries, we want his platelets to allow blood to flow through the arteries and not stop.
Dozens of medicines to “thin blood” are on the market and a large percentage on the population are using them.
Now we find that platelets can either prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer or, in rare cases, cure cancer.
The role of these tiny platelets in controlling the growth or dissemination of cancer cells reads like a mystery novel of the Underworld.
The platelets actually “tell” the cancer cells “to die!” How they do this is still not perfectly clear.
We do know, however, that a signal is released from the platelet to the cancer cell, which in effect says: “Commit Suicide!” The cancer cell obliges and is gone.
At the top of this article I have posted the AMPK signalling schematic. The exact details of each process is still unknown. But, it will only be a matter of time before the secret is discovered.
Until then, we can eat some willow bark and hope for the best.