Want to learn more about suramin, what suramin is, and potential natural alternatives to suramin. Continue reading this article and find out. But first…
What Is Suramin?
Suramin is a medicine used in the treatment of African sleeping sickness and river blindness. The active ingredient in suramin is suramin sodium and is the intravenous therapy of choice for stage one sleeping sickness when the patient’s central nervous system has not yet been affected. Suramin is on the WHO list of essential medicines.
What Is Suramin Made From?
The discovery of suramin goes back to 1916 when it was first synthesized from dyes such as trypan red and trypan blue led by Oskar Dressel, Richard Kothe, and Bernhard Heymann.
What Is Suramin Used For?
1. Antiparasitic Drug
Suramin is being used for the treatment of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense infections, namely African sleeping sickness, and for river blindness caused by the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus. It acts both on microfilariae as well as on grown-up worms, by damaging their intestinal epithelium.
2. Antiviral Agent
Suramin was found to repress retroviral reverse transcriptase which served as a reason to test suramin as a treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Studies show that suramin protects T cells from HIV infection in vitro, and it can decrease the viral weight in AIDS patients. Suramin also inhibited host cell invasion by the Ebola virus and the Zika virus.
3. Cancer Treatment
Studies from the 1940s showed that mice with lymphosarcoma grew fundamentally smaller tumors when simultaneously treated with suramin. In the late 1970s, a study showed that suramin could enhance the actions of certain chemo treatments. Suramin was tested against prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder malignant growth, and brain tumors with varying results.
4. Antidote to Snake Venom
What is curious about suramin is that has antidote-like properties in the case of snakebite. More precisely, suramin impaired the fibrinogen clotting induced by B. jararaca venom, according to this study. Increased concentrations of suramin progressively delayed venom-induced blood clotting, with full inhibition.
5. Treatment for Autism
Suramin has proven effects against autism, a disease that is caused by toxic heavy metals from synthetic drugs and other medical treatments.
Suramin vs Shikimic Acid (Shikimate)
Some articles on the internet have put together suramin and shikimic acid, and claim that shikimic acid is the natural alternative to suramin. They are not the same thing, or at least I have not found studies to attest to this. However, there are quite a few similarities between the two to take into consideration.
- Shikimic acid inhibits the protein neuraminidase found on the surface of influenza viruses, while suramin is able to reduce viral burden in CHIKV-infected mice, according to this study.
- Both suramin and shikimic acid have anti-blood-clotting properties, as studies show (here and here).
- Both have antiparasitic properties (here and here).
4 Natural Suramin Alternatives
1. Shikimic Acid
Shikimic acid is a natural compound found in high quantities in Chinese star anise seeds (Illicium verum) tea, extract, or essential oil (food grade), in pine needle tea (Pinus sylvestris), and arjuna tree fruit (Terminalia arjuna). There are other high natural sources of shikimic acid that you can find here. The similarities between suramin and shikimic acid make the latter one of the top natural alternatives to suramin.
Artemisinin is one of the most powerful natural antimalarial, extracted from the leaves of sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) and its variety Artemisia absinthium. Artemisinin is a natural panacea for most chronic conditions, including cancers, and hematologic malignancies, but without the cytotoxicity to normal cells, unlike chemotherapy. One explanation could be that artemisinin has T lymphocytes immunomodulation effects, that is it regulates the immune system response. Indeed, artemisinin is an amazing natural suramin alternative.
The natural precursor of chloroquine and more modern hydroxychloroquine, quinine is a natural extract from the bark of Cinchona trees (Cinchona officinalis) from South America, an old antimalarial medicine. In the 1970s, quinine was replaced by artemisinin extracted from sweet wormwood for the treatment of malaria, but studies show that they work even better together due to their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Just like suramin, quinine is an antiparasitic medicine, and you can find natural sources of quinine here.
Besides being an amazing antiviral, quercetin shows a strong antioxidant activity by maintaining oxidative balance. Namely, it increases the body’s antioxidant capacity by regulating levels of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent damage caused by free radicals, peroxides, parasites, genetic mutations, toxins, and heavy metals. Moreover, quercetin has antithrombic effects and promotes the relaxation of the heart muscle and even anti-cancer properties. Quercetin is highly bioavailable, and here you can find the top natural sources of quercetin.
Where there is a will, there is always a way. Trust in your own self-healing powers, and in your own path. You are far stronger and more miraculous than you think. Much love!
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