I’ve never been to China… but my clothes have.
The first time I visited Bali, that’s where the airline sent my bags.
But you know me… I just went with it and bought clothes at a little local flea market in the town of Ubud. Except that it’s very humid in Bali and I didn’t have any personal items, either. And if you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t use commercial deodorants because they have aluminum and other toxins in them.
I asked my hosts – now my friends – Westi and Lelir if they had any herbs I could use.
On my most recent visit with my friends Westi and Lelir in Bali I went back to the rice paddies I worked during my first trip …
Westi opened a cabinet full of herbs and grabbed a handful of these little serrated leaves. Then he washed them, and started to mash them up in a bowl with some water.
He added a little salt and tamarind for flavor, and told me to drink it.
I was skeptical but I drank it down anyway.
Well, I drank that every morning, and I had no body odor… even after working in the rice paddies and Westi’s herb garden in the hot sun for hours.
They call the plant he used is called daun beluntas.
Westi told me the local healers also use fresh beluntas to help relieve coughs, digestive problems and reduce back pain.
Beluntas is just one of the herbs and plants I found in Bali that almost no one in the West knows about. I discovered so many that I knew I wanted to write a book so I could show you how you can use them for yourself. It’s coming out soon and I’m calling it Healing Herbs from Paradise: Rediscovering Health Secrets from Bali.
But when I went to do research on daun beluntas there wasn’t much to find. If you look up its English name, Indian camphorweed, you’ll find a lot of botanical references, but not much else.
I had to go digging just to learn that the extract from the leaves and roots is a strong antioxidant.1
It’s so strong that as I looked into it further, I discovered that beluntas has a powerful secret… it kills cancer cells.
In a study that has been completely overlooked by Western medicine, researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan looked at beluntas extracts, and tested them for their cancer-killing power.
They treated cells with differing amounts of beluntas extract. After 10 days, the more beluntas extract they used, the more cancer cells died off. Just a 200 μg/ml of the root extract dropped the cancers’ ability to survive to nearly zero.
Beluntas destroyed and stopped the spread of 75% of brain cancer cells (glioma) and 70 percent of cervical cancer cells.2
Extracts also strongly inhibit leukemia, liver cancer, gastric cancer and other tumor cells.3
Why does beluntas work so well against cancer?
Chronic inflammation caused by oxidation can help tumors form. But powerful antioxidant components found in beluntas help stop tumors from forming.4
Also, the antioxidants found in beluntas get rid of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation in your body and can promote cancer.5
Beluntas has several known antioxidants like rutin, quercetin and beta-sitosterol. But it also has two unique components, plucheiosides A and B. Researchers in India and China, almost the only places where beluntas is studied, have found these to be very potent antioxidants as well.
It’s rare to find beluntas in the West, and if you’d like to use it yourself, you can sometimes buy beluntas leaves (the Scientific name is pluchea indica) at Indian specialty stores online. But it’s not widely available.
Where you do find it, the leaves are often dried and ready to use for tea. But it also tastes excellent raw, and the Balinese pick it fresh and use it as a raw vegetable.
I recommend growing it yourself. It grows fast in sandy soil that’s wet and shady. Places like myfolia.com and davesgarden.com have information on where to buy seeds and how to grow the plant.
Westi is trying to help people grow their own herbs like beluntas and other healing plants and herbs using traditional methods that have been passed down through the generations on Bali. I’ll tell you more about it soon, when Healing Herbs from Paradise is finished.
1. Sen, T., Dhara, A.K., Bhattacharjee, S., et al, “Antioxidant activity of the methanol fraction of Pluchea indica root extract,” Phytother. Res. June 2002;16(4):331-5
2. Hong Y, Liao L, et. al. “Crude aqueous extracts of Pluchea indica (L.) Less. inhibit proliferation and migration of cancer cells through induction of p53-dependent cell death.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:265.
3. “Chemical Constituent Investigation of Mangrove Plant Pluchea Indica (L.) Less.” Master’s Thesis from China Universities. mt.china-papers.com. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
4. Mahatoa S, et. al. “Potential antitumor agents from Lantana camara : Structures of flavonoid -, and phenylpropanoid glycosides.” Tetrahedron, 1994;Volume 50, Issue 31, Pages 9439–9446.
5. Kleinová M, Hewitt M, Brezová V, Madden JC, Cronin MT, Valko M. “Antioxidant properties of carotenoids: QSAR prediction of their redox potentials.” Gen Physiol Biophys. 2007 Jun;26(2):97-103.