Sunday 26th January 2002

Whenever a catastrophe threatens a nation or a community we start seeing the emergence of all that is noble, beautiful and god-like within us fragile human beings. We see people showing courage that we can only call godly - like the firefighters who walked into the burning World Trade Centre when it was already crumbling, and were never seen again. But we also see the emergence of all that is evil, satanic and cunning in some human beings under the cloud of the catastrophe. This is true now of the Aids pandemic that is sweeping through sub-Saharan Africa, threatening to destroy millions of people.

There are men and women in South Africa who are rising like warriors of old to place themselves between our people and the ghoul of HIV infection. There are unsung heroes and heroines, black and white, spending months and years of their lives trying to fend off the demon of Aids. People who come to my mind even as I write are Ms Anne Hutchings of the University of Zululand, who has given enhanced quality of life to thousands of people in KwaZulu, Sr. Priscilla Dlamini who runs a hospice in Emoyeni and has done the same, and Sr. Lana Oatway in Etembeni, and Virginia Rathele in Kuruman. There are many other individuals, as yet unnamed, who are also sacrificing their time and risking their lives fighting a battle that should be fought from the highest echelons of the South African Government.

Confronting these unsung heroes and heroines are men and women whose very names make me feel ashamed to be a member of the human race. There are organizations and individuals I can name who are playing a sinister and demonic part in the Aids pandemic, and what they are attempting to do is to bring about the failure of the anti-Aids campaign in all is parts, and the deaths of millions of people. I want to point out something extremely sinister and utterly diabolical that has been happening in South Africa and which has been happening for the last fifteen years or so. It is a known fact that no pharmaceutical company has yet developed a drug that is both effective in combating HIV and full blown Aids and that can be readily affordable and accessible to the poorest of the poor. Anyone who cares about our country’s and our peoples’ future realizes that something must be used as an emergency stop-gap between the Aids pandemic and our suffering people until such a time as the pharmaceutical companies can produce and make available affordable, effective drugs that can halt the Aids pandemic and neutralise its effect upon our peoples’ bodies.

African Potato (Hypoxis)

In their desperate personal battle against Aids, the black people of South Africa have been taking to using ancient herbal remedies which were handed down across the generations from parent to child. Some years ago our people came up with a plant known in English as African Potato (botanical name Hypoxis), a plant that had been used for generations by men for cancer of the prostate, and by African healers to treat wasting diseases in children. In recent years African Potato became so popular, and was so effective in improving quality of life in Aids sufferers that vendors were boiling it in pots on almost every street corner of towns such as Mafikeng, and bottling it and selling it to our sick people. But suddenly a terrible blow fell upon this ancient African traditional medicine, as unknown white men spread news among the population that this plant was satanic, spread by the devil, and that it contained dangerous bacteria and chemicals, and further that it was a liver poison. I decided to investigate this thoroughly and an amazing fact emerged - I found that the men who were heaping filth on this sacred plant were men who were promoting a fraudulent pharmaceutical medicine which claimed to have been made from African Potato, but which in fact had been made from sterols and sterolins imported from America, extracted from soya beans and pine trees. This was a deadly game of death in which our people were made to throw out something tested by time to embrace something practically worthless that has no impact on the pandemic at all.


And now the dark game of death and genocide is being played once more, this time on a sacred African medicinal plant which is one of the oldest and most effective medicinal plants in sub-Saharan Africa. This plant’s name is Sutherlandia frutescens, known as unwele by the Nguni-speaking black people of South Africa. This plant is known as ‘the medicine of many uses’ because for centuries Africans have used it for combating many ailments in humans, livestock and poultry. In the days before a cure for TB was found by western scientists, Sutherlandia frutescens was the African herbal medicine of choice for treating this disease, known in my early days as consumption. This plant was even used as a medicine by the white settlers who came to South Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, who used it as a weapon against cancer, and who called it ‘Kankerbos’ which means Cancer Bush. It is an historical fact that this plant was even used topically in powder form by whites as a disinfectant and wound-healer for gunshot and assegaai wounds. Even the great Boer President, Paul Kruger, carried it in his saddlebags, and used it when his thumb was shot in a hunting accident. On another occasion, on hearing that a German prince was dying of cancer, President Kruger sent a bag of Sutherlandia by ship to Germany for him, but the prince died before the ship arrived.

No sane farmer will ever use a dangerous herb on his livestock, and Sutherlandia has been used by many generations of Cape farmers as an effective feed supplement for ostriches, useful for many of the ailments that these large and expensive birds are prone. Goats fatten on eating kilograms daily, sheep thrive on it and so do cattle. Even in Australia, South African Sutherlandia is being grown as an experimental feed.

And now a group of white extremists have launched an attack upon this ancient African medicine, and their purpose is to force our people away from it with the resultant deaths that will occur among the many thousands of people living with HIV and Aids presently benefiting from it. One of the extremists has made the astonishing statement that Sutherlandia ingestion is more dangerous than “the alleged disease” (I am quoting this reference to Aids) that it is supposed to combat. What is more dangerous than Aids itself ? And to my surprise and disgust, while he attempts to label Sutherlandia as toxic, he fails to make any reference to the toxicity of many manufactured pharmaceutical drugs that are freely available on the South African black-market, such as AZT. He shows his contempt and loathing for African medicine and culture, and he makes statements which are so exaggerated and so ridiculous that even a half-educated barbarian such as myself can see through. He arrogantly stated on the telephone to a woman known to me that his aim is to destroy a firm manufacturing Sutherlandia products, a firm called Phyto Nova, and that he intends to “take out” one of the firm’s directors, for which he has a particularly obsessive hatred. He arrogantly stated that once he has destroyed Phyto Nova, he will get on with selling the colloidal silver products he markets. Here we have the astonishing spectacle of a human being endangering the lives of millions of people in order to settle a personal and business vendetta.

My challenge to this man and his colleagues is that before you can throw rubbish on an affordable ancient African medicine that enhances the quality of life of people living with HIV/ Aids, I call upon you to produce a better medicine than the one you are attempting to destroy. It is one thing to destroy, gentleman, but to create for the good is another matter.

Yours sincerely,

Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa

Sunday 21st April, 2002

Dear Credo

I have just read your ridiculous accusations about me in your article: "Sutherlandia Safety Statement".

All I am prepared to say in reply, besides the following, is that you are an even bigger old fool than I first suspected.

The "white extremist" remark is absurd, and quite frankly, your use of the race card is a very cheap shot and strips you of any respect I may have had left for you.

Your statement: "And to my surprise and disgust, while he attempts to label Sutherlandia as toxic, he fails to make any reference to the toxicity of many manufactured pharmaceutical drugs that are freely available on the South African blackmarket, such as AZT". This accusation too is blatantly false. On my website, in the research and projects index, just two entries below that titled "Sutherlandia Toxicity", is an entry titled "AZT", which along with the former, I have grouped under "Health Fraud". The specific URL is  and the title of the document is "AZT - Death By Prescription". Also included in this group is homoeopathy and fluoride, in addition to addressing traditional African medicine toxicity in some 25,000 words. 

In reaction to the latter, you state: "He shows his contempt and loathing for African medicine and culture, and he makes statements which are so exaggerated and so ridiculous that even a half-educated barbarian such as myself can see through".

Credo, if you had taken the time to read the latter mentioned "Genocide and Ethnopiracy" report with an open mind, you would be convinced otherwise, but in your zeal to defend the culturally indefensible, you turn your back on a genocide plot far more deadly to African people than the New World Order capitalist scam that is HIV-AIDS.

Your "barbarian" remark is remarkably accurate in the context of defending said cultural acts, including animal sacrifices and muti-murders, over and above the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of African traditionalists annually by the very ignorance upheld by cultural beliefs.

Finally, the ultimate proof of your ignorance is your false statement: "He arrogantly stated on the telephone to a woman known to me that his aim is to destroy a firm manufacturing Sutherlandia products, a firm called Phyto Nova, and that he intends to “take out” one of the firm’s directors, for which he has a particularly obsessive hatred. He arrogantly stated that once he has destroyed Phyto Nova, he will get on with selling the colloidal silver products he markets. Here we have the astonishing spectacle of a human being endangering the lives of millions of people in order to settle a personal and business vendetta". 

What a load of crap. You recklessly repeat libelous statements based on hearsay regarding an alleged vendetta intended to "destroy Phyto Nova" and to "take out one of the firms directors". What a load of malicious crap. I have raised my objections in this private forum to your publicly posted prejudicial lies about me, in respect of which I reserve my rights. You wouldn't like yourself and the other members of Phyto Nova who by allowing this defamatory drivel on their website to be sued by a white supremacist who might use your and their Sutherlandia profits on "the emergence of all that is evil, satanic and cunning", now would you?

Finally, for the record, I do not market colloidal silver. I do, in the context of optimising the immune response of individuals susceptible to or suffering with AIDS, advocate the use of colloidal silver, copper, zinc and manganese, as well as selenium, probiotics, culinary herbs and spices, kelp, oxygen products and green tea. Yes I do supply these to those interested, but I also advocate the use of approximately 100 other natural products, as included in an appendix hereto, none of which I supply.

Because you have been misinformed, I will hold none of all the above nonsense against you, bar for the defamatory and libelous statements already objected to. I shall not even insist on an apology, since I know you think you are defending truth, but I must insist that the defamatory and libelous lies, insinuations and hearsay be removed from the document currently posted on the Phyto Nova website at:, failing which I reserve my rights. A reply from all respondents, individually or collectively is timeously requested.


Stuart Thomson

cc Messrs Nigel Gericke, Carl Albrecht and Ben-Erik van Wyk


Acacia nilotica, Acemannan polysacharrides, Achyrocline flaccida, Aesculus chinensis, Agastache rugosa, Alpha-lipoic acid, Alternanthera philoxeroides, Andrographis paniculata, Arctium lappa, Aspalathus linearis, Astragalus membranaceus, Azadirachta indica, Bee Propolis, Betulinic acid, Boswellia carterii, Brazil nuts, Buxus sempervirens (SPV-30), Calendula officinalis, Calophyllum cerasiferum, Calophyllum cordato, Calophyllum lanigerum (calanolide), Carrisyn-rich Aloe vera, Castanospermum australe, Cayenne, Chamaesyce hyssopifolia, Choline, Co-enzyme Q10, Coix lachryma-jobi, Colostrum, Cordia spinescens, Coriolus versicolor, Croton tiglium, Cynomorium songaricum, DHEA, DMG, DNCB, Echinaceae, Elderberry, Epimedium grandiflorm, Eucommia ulmoides, Euphorbia granulata, Eupatorium buniifolium, Fomitella supine, Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides (FOS), Gamochaeta simplicaulis, Ganoderma lucidum, Garlic, Organic Germanium, Ginseng, Glycyrrhizin, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Hypoxis rooperi, Hyptis lantanifolio, Hyssopus officinalis, Inulin, Jatropha curcas,  L-Arginine L-Carnitine, L-Cysteine, L-Cystine, L-Glutamine, L-Glutathione, L-Lysine, L-Ornithine, L-Threonine, L-Tryphophan, Lithospermum erythrorhizon, Lonicera japonica, Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Maitake mushroom, Marila laxiflora, Maytenus senegalensis, Mentha piperata var crispa, Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM), Milk-thistle extract (Silymarin), Momordica charantia, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), Ocimum basilicum cv ‘cinnamon’, Oleanolic acid, Olive leaf extract, Oregano, Ozone (stringent antioxidative enzyme preparation & extreme caution required), PADMA28, Papaverine alkaloids, Perilla frutescens var crispa f. viridis, Phellinus rhabarbarinus, Phyllanthus myrtifolius, Phyllanthus sellowianus, Platanic acid, Pomolic acid, Proanthocyanidins, Prunella vulgaris subsp asiatica, Pumpkin seed oil, Quercetin, Rhizophora mucronata, Rodiola rosea, Rosemary, Savory (Satureja Montana), Scutellaria baicalensis (Baicalin), Shitake mushroom, Beta-Sitosterols & Beta-Sterolin glycosides, Staphage lysate, St Johns wort, Syzigium claviforum, Tetrapteris macrocarpa, Thiamine disulfide, Tofu, Trametes cubensis, Trichaptum perrottetti, Trichosanthes kirilowii, Urine, Viola yedoensis, Viscum album, Whey protein.


Phyto Nova's Dr Carl Albrecht’s response (CA) below follows my (Stuart Thomson’s)(ST) second document posted above and is presented in its entirety, with commentary by Gaia Research's Stuart Thomson, whose earlier and current comments are italicised.  

Carl Albrecht’s rebuttal was dated 7 May 2002 and Stuart Thomson’s commentary 20 May 2002 

CA: In this attack ST focuses on the following topics: 

1. L-canavanine
2. MRC Safety Study on Sutherlandia  

In this posting I wish to concentrate on the Sutherlandia Safety Study and come back to the canavanine issues at a later stage. 

ST refers to this study as "A perfect bogus study, designed and interpreted to whitewash any toxicity issues" and makes the following assertions to trash the study: 

ST: 1. "No animals were ill, in fact all were characterised as healthy, so in no way resembled target users."

CA Rebuttal:

The aim of the study was to find out if the dried leaf powder of Sutherlandia microphylla was toxic for vervet monkeys given escalating doses over three months. In standard toxicological studies healthy animals are used. By "target users" I assume ST means patients living with AIDS. To my knowledge there are no animal models available in South Africa that could be a model for humans with AIDS. Surely when one intends to study the possible toxicity and efficacy of a promising and reasonable product such as Sutherlandia, the obvious thing to do would be to obtain ethical permission for an appropriate clinical study with humans and then to apply to the MCC for permission to conduct such a study with all the necessary caveats protecting the participants. In fact ethical permission to conduct such a study with Sutherlandia was granted by the Ethics Committee of the MRC in October last year and application was made to the MCC thereafter. At present the application is being considered by the MCC. 

ST Commentary:   

The stated purpose study was to investigate the possible toxicity in vervet monkeys. As a result, it succeeded in showing no toxicity in well-nourished (unlikely to be reliably so in humans) male (the least susceptible sex) healthy (highly unlikely in the target user) vervet monkeys fed for only 3-4 months (as opposed to the 6 months needed to express the start of toxicity ‘under adverse conditions’ in 10% of healthy animals). How this “Toxicity Study” with these severe limitations becomes a “safety study” applicable to humans is science fiction and only those desperate to reach such a conclusion could stretch the truth so far as to exclaim that “Sutherlandia Passes Safety Test” as Phyto Nova’s Albrecht has done.  

Furthermore, to describe Sutherlandia as ‘promising and reasonable’ is likewise jumping the gun, being purely anecdotal at this stage and without any proof whatsoever. As for the planned human trials, I don’t expect that these will be any more relevant, yet will assuredly be hailed as such, and will likely also be a just a sham, bearing in mind the monkey study and that the MRC connections who organised the former will also be involved in the latter.    

ST: 2. "No animals were reportedly receiving medication, in particular, auto-immunity disease risk-increasing drugs".

CA Rebuttal:

ST is hypothesising that Sutherlandia can precipitate auto-immune disease. (Unfortunately this is stated by ST as a fact and not a hypothesis, which it is.) This issue will be dealt with thoroughly in a later posting. Nevertheless, I believe that it is not ethical to conduct experiments with animals, such as giving them auto-immunity disease risk-increasing drugs, without an excellent motivation. The study being discussed here was the first ever to test the safety of Sutherlandia. This was also the first safety study of an indigenous medicinal plant using vervet monkeys. I believe the model used here was excellent and will set the standard for years to come. I believe it is far better than rat or mouse models which are phylogenetically far removed from man and do not allow monthly blood-sampling in sufficient quantity to do a battery of tests. One has to do one thing at a time. It would be arrogant to exclude the possibility that Sutherlandia and other L-canavanine containing products such as alfalfa (on the shelves in supermarkets in South Africa) or astragalus (which has been used in China for 2000 years and is also on the shelves in South Africa) could induce auto-immune disease in susceptible users. If incontrovertible facts were forthcoming that pointed in this direction, it is conceivable that this possible side-effect could be tested in the vervet-model where risk-increasing drugs could be incorporated. To expect such a study now is not reasonable and actually un-ethical. 

ST Commentary:

Yes, I am hypothesising that Sutherlandia can precipitate auto-immune disease. No, I am not stating this as a fact rather than as a hypothesis, but the fact that canavanine can cause auto-immune disease may legitimately be extrapolated to a likelihood that Sutherlandia might do the same, given that it contains ‘significant’ concentrations of canavanine and especially so, given the likelihood of greater susceptibilities which I have identified in the largest group of target users that Phyto Nova are currently using as guinea pigs without informed consent. Albrecht’s final and following utterances appear to indicate that he actually accepts my criticism, but is not prepared to be prudent and put people before profit, which is what I believe he is obliged to do under the prevailing circumstances.

ST: 3. "No animals were females, so in no way resembled the most frequently susceptible target users"

CA Rebuttal:

When conducting an animal toxicity study it is absolutely necessary to reduce variables to a minimum and increase the subjects to a maximum, which is constrained by the budget and logistic facilities. This implies using only one sex in the initial experiment. 

ST Commentary:

If you cannot afford to perform a study correctly to arrive at a meaningful and trustworthy result, you have an obligation to wait until you can do it properly, rather than engaging in a sham to portray it as something it is not, in particular when you intend to silence your critics and convince the gullible and ignorant that the product is safe on the basis of same, which is clearly a case of fraud. Needless to say, the product also should not be mass-produced and mass-marketed until meaningful studies on humans have been completed with informed consent, which is clearly not yet the case, and so exposing countless gullible and trusting susceptible individuals to potential harm.    

ST: 4. "No animals were malnourished, so in no way resembled most likely malnoursihed AIDS target users. In fact, unspecified micro- and macronutrients were supplemented, most likely negating any likelihood of acute toxicity."

CA Rebuttal:

The giving of any drug or tonic (such as Sutherlandia) to malnourished AIDS patients is a big problem. Most AIDS drugs were tested in developed countries where malnutrition is not rife. I agree that the nutritional status of AIDS patients, especially in South Africa, is of cardinal importance in terms of drug side-effects and efficacy. Nevertheless, the appropriate circumstances to measure safety and efficacy in malnourished AIDS patients is indeed with AIDS patients and not with vervet monkeys. The mere conceptualisation of the experimental details of creating a cohort of malnourished vervet monkeys representative of malnourished AIDS patients is exceedingly problematical. How would one induce anorexia and cachexia in the monkeys? ST is mischievously mixing apples with pears. There are appropriate and separate questions that are answered by animal studies and clinical trial with humans.

ST Commentary:

Albrecht agrees with me, but then loses his credibility by failing to admit that he used said study to rebut my concerns re safety in humans arising from mass marketing the drug to susceptible malnourished and seriously ill persons prior to said appropriate human clinical trials as an informal mass epidemiological experiment to add to the several illegal human trials already undertaken without informed consent. It is actually Phyto Nova and Albrecht himself who are mixing apples and pears and do so only when it suits them to sham passing a safety study.      

ST 5: "No animals were monitored beyond 12 weeks, whereas 24 weeks is the point at which well-fed healthy animals on high doses significantly (10%) develop auto-antibodies" 

CA Rebuttal:

The current study was designed to address both acute and semi-chronic manifestations of toxicity in vervet monkeys. In order to study acute toxicity the monkeys received 1x, 3x and 9x the equivalent human dose of Sutherlandia dried leaf powder. (The recommended human dose is two tablets a day containing 300 mg each of the dried leaf powder. This translates into 9mg leaf powder per kg for an average human weighing 66 kg. The same dose of 9mg/kg was used for the monkeys which obviously weighed less than the humans.) Three months was chosen as a reasonable time to observe the manifestation of toxic effects detectable with the battery of haematology and blood chemistry tests. Any statistically significant indications would of course dictate further follow-up studies and in fact the monkeys were kept on the Sutherlandia for an extra month until all the data of the previous 3 months had been statistically analysed. No statistically significant changes were found from baseline to month three in any of the three Sutherlandia groups for any variable and consequently it was considered un-ethical to perpetuate the experiment.

Probably the most comprehensive data published on monkeys dosed with L-canavanine is contained in the study of Malinow et al. (Science, 216, 415-417, 1982). They found that monkeys (Cynomolgus macaques) fed a diet containing 40 percent oven-dried alfalfa sprouts, developed haematologic and serologic abnormalities similar to those observed in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This condition could be reactivated by giving the monkeys pure L-canavanine (1% of the diet). They report on 3 monkeys that developed symptoms of SLE after 2 (8 weeks) and 10 months. The haematologic indicators were a decrease in hemoglobin, red blood cells and hematocrit. In our study with vervet monkeys fed Sutherlandia dried leaf powder in escalating doses, the hemoglobin increased with the highest dose (Figure 3); the red blood cells increased with the highest dose (Figure 1) and the hematocrit increased with the higest dose (Fig. 2). There were no statistically significant changes compared to the controls. IN OTHER WORDS SUTHERLANDIA DOSING SHOWED NO SIGNS OF HAEMATOLOGIC INDICATORS OF SLE AT ALL. In the light of this, it was considered un-ethical to perpetuate the experiment further. 

ST Commentary:   

All completely irrelevant. Interestingly Albrecht labours that it would be unethical to perpetuate an experiment that would be unlikely to harm their monkey subjects, but remarkably does not extend the same courtesy to the human subjects being used by Phyto Nova as guinea pigs in several illegal trials without informed consent and an informal mass epidemiological study of Phyto Nova Sutherlandia consumers, who for the vast majority have no idea that they are paying for and participating in a potentially health damaging, even life-threatening experiment, on the basis of false or unsubstantiated claims to improve their health, and yet will have no idea that the insidious symptoms they might be experiencing might be as a result of their medication rather than their disease, unless of course, they are privileged to have had access to the Gaia Research reports or to an alert doctor so privileged.

ST: 6. "No animals received 3x and 9x the recommended human dose as claimed"

CA Rebuttal:

See Rebuttal 5. 

ST: 7.
"Besides the time frame, the number of animals and frequency of monitoring variables was grossly inadequate".

CA Rebuttal:

I believe the time frame, number of animals and the frequency of monitoring variables was reasonable and so did the Animal Ethics Committee of the MRC. Anyone working in this field knows that the design of studies depend on ethics, science and available budgets. To balance all of this out satisfactorily requires careful planning. It is easy to criticise from the sidelines. 

ST Commentary:

Reasonable to what end and what the hell would the Animal Ethics Committee know about the dynamics of canavanine poisoning? As I said before: “If you cannot afford to perform a study correctly to arrive at a meaningful and trustworthy result, you have an obligation to wait until you can do it properly”. It is for this reason that I am criticising from the sidelines, at great personal expense I might add, to afford consumers with the protection which Phyto Nova, in conflict with the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, apparently do not accept they are entitled to.

ST: 8.
"In virtually every variable, the baseline values reflect greater significant differences than both quarter and end-points and where the control group, which should reflect the greatest consistency over time from the start, is the most erratic of all. In fact the control group appears to have received constant dietary manipulation, so that even were no other criticisms valid, this fact alone would serve to invalidate the entire study".

CA Rebuttal:

I find it indeed interesting that the control values appear to be more erratic than the Sutherlandia-treatment values in general but especially for red blood cells (Fig.2), haemoglobin (Fig.3), platelets (Fig.14), creatine kinase (Fig.23), alkaline phosphatase (Fig.28), uncongegated bilirubin (Fig.28), urea (Fig.32), total cholesterol (Fig.34) and LDL-cholesterol (Fig. 36). What is one to make of this? A very interesting possibility is that Sutherlandia acting as an adaptogenic tonic has stabilised these parameters. Especially the stabilisation of the release of creatine kinase would suggest stabilisation of cardiac-cell-membranes. I find such hypotheses much more interesting, exciting and testable than the un-called-for and distasteful insinuation that the experiment was cooked-up by the researchers involved ("In fact the control group appears to have received constant manipulation" ST). This kind of statement, which questions the integrity of decent hard-working scientists, honestly seeking the truth, is decidedly shameful and induces many a reader to switch off. It is certainly not conducive to rational debate. 

ST Commentary: 

Again, most of this is irrelevant in view of my criticisms. As for the possibility of an adaptogenic effect, this is merely wild speculation, as has been most, if not all that has been so irresponsibly merely anecdotally rather than scientifically attributed to Sutherlandia by Phyto Nova to date, which translates to quackery, if not outright fraud. Without details, I cannot determine where the culpability for this bogus study lies, but I find it interesting that Albrecht assumes that I am pointing a finger at the MRC researchers, who most likely merely faithfully executed the basic study, rather than the Phyto Nova scientists who ought to have carefully planned and submitted the proposal. Yes, the insinuation of a bogus study is distasteful, but only because the evidence so clearly points to exactly that. Furthermore, wild speculations of eg, an adaptogenic effect in an attempt to divert attention from a truly feasible explanation as to the reasons for the large baseline deviations and the clear instability of the control group are apparently perfectly in keeping with Phyto Nova’s sloppy operating style. Is it really so unreasonable of me to question the integrity of those involved in such nonsense and under such circumstances, to accuse me of making statements not conducive to rational debate, when it is clearly Phyto Nova themselves who are not up to the task?  

In my next posting I will deal with the whole L-canavanine story.  

ST Commentary:

Shit, I can't wait! 

Dear list members

Dr Mohapeloa (Ph.D in Mathematics) recently wrote: "The existence of individuals who wage crusades such as Stuart Thomson’s (July 29, 2002 Subject: [druginfo] Sutherlandia for AIDS: Final Nails in the Coffin) is an unwelcome phenomenon that the scientific/medical community just seems condemned to confront from time to time."

Excuse me sir, but since when is the submission of a counter-hypothesis an unwelcome phenomenon in the scientific/medical community?

Obviously this would be the case with those having a prevailing hypothesis so weak as to be threatened by the application of even the minimal scientific method of defending against a referenced critique of unsubstantiated claims around such hypothesis. 

It is in fact my contention that without my participation in this matter, no science would have been applied at all, except of course for Phyto Nova's pseudo-scientific utterances fraudulently passed of as science.

Prof Albrect wrote in his last communication that: "Preliminary reports are not a substitute for results from a controlled clinical trial, but support the hypothesis that Sutherlandia is a profound immune stimulant and anti-viral plant". On their website, Phyto Nova state: "Researchers anticipate that there will be a delayed progression of HIV into Aids, and actual remission of the disease is hoped for".

Phyto Nova provide not a shred of evidence or supporting data for these and other even more ridiculous claims, other than miscontextualised or outdated and subsequently refuted research references to non-Sutherlandia sourced canavanine-containing constituents, plus vague anecdotes and testimonials, which is commonly the case with all snake-oil salesmen generally.

There can be no doubt that canavanine is used as the basis of the main hypothesised beneficial effects attributed by extension to Sutherlandia. What objection then can Mohapeloa have to my arguing on that same basis?

There can also be no doubt that Sutherlandia is claimed by Phyto Nova to be a safe (except possibly in pregnancy) treatment for AIDS, so what objection can Mohapeloa possibly have against me arguing against its use in AIDS.

I note with interest that Mohapeloa's rebuttal has shifted the focus from toxicity to dosage, indicating that there is acceptance that my claims of toxicity are undeniable. He states: "In sum, the line of reasoning appears to be: The ingestion of canavanine leads to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Sutherlandia contains canavanine. THEREFORE the ingestion of Sutherlandia leads to SLE."

It is illustrative to note that Prof Albrecht nearly four month's ago promised me and the Druginfo list a further posting dealing with my hypothesis that Sutherlandia can precipitate auto-immune disease, but that this has not been forthcoming to date.

In contrast to Phyto Nova's paucity of scientific evidence, every statement made by me that is not either introducing, summarising, or concluding my argument, is fully referenced and in most cases consists of actual published scientific abstracts. It is my contention that Phyto Nova's hypothesis is consequently struck down as false, indeed fraudulent by my far superior counter-hypothesis and it is all the more the pity that this has not yet also seen a final resolution in the courts, since Phyto Nova continues not only to bullshit the gullible, but also to put their health, indeed their lives at an unacceptably increased risk relative to non-existent potential benefit.

It is also interesting to note that shortly thereafter, Phyto Nova promised me a High Court action if I did not purge my website of my Sutherlandia Report and our subsequent debate within 24 hours. I indicated my refusal to comply and my willingness to defend my document in court, which latter still stands uncensored at:

Regarding the hyperbole attendant to my "Final nails in the coffin" sub-title to my recent "Sutherlandia for AIDS" update report, surely this is not unreasonable when countering and compared with the totally unsubstantiated hype titles attributed to Sutherlandia in the media to the effect of "Wonder SA Plant Fights AIDS" as a result of Phyto Nova's numerous totally fraudulent promotional campaigns to this end. Surely my extensively referenced precautionary rebuttals are ethically, morally and scientifically superior and preferable. 

As per usual, when on the losing end of an argument, the loser shifts the debate to credentials and resorting to shooting the messenger, eg "We feel that Thomson’s assertions about Sutherlandia are at least ill advised, but fear that his motives are far worse", and reference to "Thomson’s intellectually dishonest devises".

I have already dealt extensively and conclusively with Mohapeloa's pathetically weak three points attempting to rebut my recent report update, but I feel I must challenge him on the issue of dosage, where he states: "In his 'offering' Thomson neatly avoids the matter of dosages", which is a blatant lie to Druginfo list and other readers in his attempt to save face. I have raised several dose issues, including the following:

"Chronic doses would over time be cumulatively toxic at considerably lesser concentrations", since "even small doses allow recognition of clear toxic effects (Tschiersch B, Pharmazie, 17, 621, 1962)". I elaborated on this theme as follows: 

"ST: L-canavanine is also accumulatively toxic at much lower doses over time in several susceptible individuals, particularly those who are malnourished or otherwise deficient in protein / L-arginine and those who are ill (especially with prolonged illness or infections), using medications and or subjected to chemical exposures, under which circumstances, so widely prevalent in South Africa and especially in AIDS patients, even relatively low doses of L-canavanine are readily substituted for arginine. Canavanine may have limited possible short-term minor anti-inflammatory drug benefits, but these are logically only likely at higher active doses, equally likely to be followed by potentially catastrophic consequences for health, as detailed in my report."  

"ST: Not only the dose. Several variables are being totally ignored in this over-simplistic equation. As I have already pointed out, health food eaters using alfalfa sprouts tend to be more well-nourished and are further spared from canavanine poisoning by the fact that alfalfa itself is rich in the L-canavanine antagonist, L-arginine, besides the bulk/weight of sprouts increasing and the canavanine content decreasing at the leafing sprout stage. The essential points to bear in mind is that with Phyto Nova’s target users (cancer and especially AIDS), we are not dealing with healthy consumers, but with those more likely to be suffering protein/arginine deficiency and exposed to chemicals, rendering them more susceptible to adverse auto-immune outcomes from Sutherlandia, especially considering that bacterial and viral agents are also likely to be triggering factors for auto-immune diseases, rendering such persons far more vulnerable to canavanine toxicity."

Directly regarding dosage, I also wrote: "X2 and X6 tablets daily are commonly recommended doses, with no maximum dose set anywhere, but left to the discretion (supervision) of a health care professional, particularly in cancer and AIDS patients (those most likely to be on higher risk medications)." Elsewhere I wrote: "Furthermore, Phyto Nova on their website advocate not just 2, but 6 (2X3) tablets daily, thereby tripling the possible toxicity stakes. A photographic advertisement gives as the suggested dosage, that: “AIDS and cancer patients should take Phyto Nova Sutherlandia on an ongoing basis under supervision of a health care professional”, leaving determination of the dose to the discretion of one of several class of possible quacks considered to be health care professionals".

I also wrote: "Yes, I am hypothesising that Sutherlandia can precipitate auto-immune disease. No, I am not stating this as a fact rather than as a hypothesis, but the fact that canavanine can cause auto-immune disease may legitimately be extrapolated to a likelihood that Sutherlandia might do the same, given that it contains ‘significant’ concentrations of canavanine and especially so, given the likelihood of greater susceptibilities which I have identified in the largest group of target users that Phyto Nova are currently using as guinea pigs without informed consent". 

Mohapeloa also wrote: "Thomson instead resorts to scientifically imprecise statements such as; "It has been amply documented that the canavanine SO RICHLY contained in Sutherlandia can induce…" Question: how many milligrams per gram does "so richly" mean?

Let me clear up the issue of the canavanine content of Sutherlandia as presented to the public by Phyto Nova themselves: (1) “A number of ‘highly active’ compounds (canavanine & pinitol) occur in ‘high quantities’; (2) ”the plant is ‘rich’ in amino acids”  (and the formula of canavanine is illustrated); (3) “Analysis of the plant showed two ‘particularly abundant’ elements”; (4) "’Significant levels’ of L-canavanine are found in Sutherlandia leaves". A high concentration/potency message is indisputable and is clearly only reversed following the fallout resulting from my report.

Mohapeloa also wrote: "Another example of Thomson’s intellectually dishonest devises is the following sentence: "For anyone using a canavanine containing product like Sutherlandia for [the] treatment of AIDS, it should be pointed out that the auto-immune condition which IT causes often complicates and aggravates AIDS. A very likely reading of the capitalised "it" is that it refers to "a canavanine-containing product like Sutherlandia" though once cornered an easy escape for the writer can be to say the reference is to canavanine".

Talk about shooting the messenger and grasping at straws!

Mohapeloa proposes some elaborate trial to test Sutherlandia's potential to cause auto-immune conditions. I would welcome same, but unlike the pseudo monkey conducted previously, it would have to be credible, in which case I would have to be consulted on the design and monitoring thereof, so both parties would be obliged to accept the outcome thereof.

Mohapeloa wrote: "Thomson’s 'offering' offers not even an anecdote – better yet, several – involving the administration of Sutherlandia where patients developed SLE".

Nor should I. The moral and legal obligation is on Phyto Nova as the supplier and distributor to prove otherwise.

Mohapeloa also wrote: "The huge number of articles (presumably appearing in reputable scientific journals) Thomson cites may indicate the harmful effects of canavanine but without a quantitative link to Sutherlandia the references do nothing to support Thomson’s anti-Sutherlandia campaign".

I have already dealt with the quantative link, incidentally, the link which Phyto Nova themselves were were at such great pains to stress prior to my critique. What a wonderfully inventive way to negate 100 scientific studies in favour of none, just summarily dismiss them. The link is there to Sutherlandia via canavanine. Remove the canavanine and you remove the risk of serious harm.........and in the process, any likelihood of any beneficial effect where canavanine might have provided an iota of therapeutic potential and rationale to Sutherlandia as a traditional medicine for conditions expressing excessive nitric oxide, of which HIV/AIDS is assuredly not one. I have already contextualised the unlikely potential of pinitol and GABA to have therapeutic potential at the traces present in the "safe" canavanine toxicity limited doses and in the case of pinitol, I have shown that subsequent studies have failed to substantiate a therapeutic effect even at high doses.  

I don't think there is any contest as to whom is being irresponsible in this matter. It's certainly not me that is distributing this poison as a panacea.


Stuart Thomson

Director, Gaia Research.


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