It has been previously discussed that the essential lipid linoleic acid present in cane molasses has antitumor effects. Such lipids are also found at high concentrations in rose oil [105], which has a history of medicinal use dating back at least 5,000 years. The traditional Indian Ayurvedic medical practice uses oral rose oil for the treatment of a variety of inflammatory conditions, as well as emotional stress [106]. Anti-anxiety effects of rose oil have recently been confirmed [107]. Rose oil is a potent inhibitor of the growth of Helicobacter pylori [108], implicated in the etiology of gastric cancer. Therefore, rose oil may exert a "sanitizing" effect in the gut. It has also been suggested that rose oil may be valuable for human consumption because of its high unsaturated lipid content [105].

The gastrointestinal link

The general processing capacity of the digestive tract plays a critical role in both health and disease. Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine states that health requires robust digestion [109]. Under conditions of prolonged stress, the secretion of digestive juices is diminished, reducing the digestive capacity in the gut.

Impaired digestion has been implicated in the pathomechanism of cancer for nearly a century: in 1906, pancreatic proteolytic enzymes were demonstrated to defend the body against cancer [110]. This finding was followed up during the first decade of the century, with the publication of tumor regression as well as remission in terminal cancer patients [111-114]. With the advent of formal science-based medicine in the early 1900s, this approach slipped into oblivion.

Animal studies performed in the 1960s demonstrated the effectiveness of pancreatin therapy for tumors [115,116]. It was also demonstrated that orally ingested pancreatic enzymes pass intact into the intestine, and are re-adsorbed into the circulation during the enteropancreatic recycling process [117,118]. In the 1960s, an alternative physician in Texas developed a pancreatin-based cancer therapy [119] and demonstrated cases of pancreatic cancer patients who survived in excess of 5 years. This was followed up in the late 1990s by a pilot prospective case study with patients having inoperable stage II-IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma [120]. The results suggested a significantly increased survival for patients who received large doses of pancreatic enzymes, vitamins and minerals followed by the detoxification of the intestines. Many medical practitioners in the past included intestinal cleansing as part of their procedures because they recognized the importance of the gut function in health and disease [121-123].

The resident bacterial flora in the digestive tract plays an important role in metabolic activities, nutrient adsorption, immune function, trophic effects on the intestinal epithelia, and protection against alien microbes [124]. A substantial portion of these bacterial populations remains to be described. Diet has a significant effect on the human intestinal flora [125,126], and the promoting effects of the large bowel contents in colonic carcinogenesis are documented both in animal models and man [127]. The activity of colonic bacteria in the release of essential phenolic polysaccharides from plant cell walls has been discussed. Opportunistic bacterial and parasitic infections also occur in cancer [128-131] that amplify the downward spiral of diminishing nutrient processing capacity of the gut. It is therefore critical to cleanse the digestive and excretory system in cancer patients.

Again, if we research the medical practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries, we find that oral sulfur was widely used to "clean out the system" [31]. Sulfur is safe to consume [132] and has a wide spectrum of antibacterial and antiparasitic effects [133]. It is also a potent scavenging agent for toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cobalt or silver that have been reported to concentrate in malignant tissue [97]. Oral sulfur was listed in the Pharmacopoiea [133], but in the second half of the 20th century its medical use was abandoned. Another sanitizing agent both for the gut and the urinary system is apple cider vinegar (ACV). Such use of apple cider vinegar has a historical record dating back over 3,000 years [134]. In addition, apple cider vinegar has been used for the treatment of a number of specific conditions [134], which suggests that it has a beneficial systemic effect, much of it remains to be re-discovered by methods of modern medical science.