The TCM CoD™ Tea System: a Comprehensive and Safe Approach to Health Maintenance in Cancer Patients

R.C.Bruening, Ph.D., Millenium Inc., Boston, USA


The TCM CoD Tea nutritional system provides a three-prolonged approach to the recovery or maintenance of a healthy immune system, and is especially valuable for individuals facing immunological challenges such as immuno-suppressive medications given after organ transplantation, chemotherapy and radiation used in cancer treatment, certain viral infections, immune- deficiency diseases including AIDS, and auto-immune disorders. The system consists of a herbal tea preparation, a diet plan and an exercise regime. Over the years, it has become an integral part of the daily life of several thousands of people worldwide.

The CoD diet regime was inspired by the choice of food ingredients, cooking practices and eating habits of the native peoples of the Amazon rainforests as well as those of the Chinese,Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese. These cultures have a long tradition of herbal medicine, combined with a nutritional system that protects against many of the diseases that plague western societies today including breast and prostate cancers, obesity and diabetes.

The CoD diet incorporates up-to-date recommendations by leading dieticians from Europe and the United States. The overall aim is to limit the intake of saturated fat, stimulants and simple sugars, while optimizing the balance of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, complex carbohydrates and easily digestible proteins.

These dietary adjustments help detoxify and de-acidify the body, resulting in a change of blood pH towards the neutral, at which point the immune system functions most efficiently. The diet has been developed to complement and enhance the anti-oxidative and cytoprotective effects of the the CoD herbal tea (1) by eliminating certain foods which are believed to contribute to oxidative stress caused by inflammation-inducing free radicals (8).

The exercise regime helps promote a healthy blood circulation and the corresponding capillary oxygen supply, especially to the brain. It combines elements of Yoga and Tai Chi with Western fitness principles. The exercise regime was designed to support and optimize the beneficial physiological effects of the CoD tea. For more information on the CoD dietary and exercise regimes, please go to {,

The TCM CoD™ Tea

a) Ingredients and Composition

The central focus of  composition of this entirely botanical preparation are the result of almost twenty years of scientific research by a team of botanists, physicians, natural products chemists and traditional healers led by mag.dr.Thomas David, in Vienna. The original discovery of the herbs that make up the majority of the ingredients took place over 19 years ago in Brazil and is vividly described in dr. David’s book “Miracle Medicines of the Rainforest” (3).

These plants have been used successfully by the native populations of the lowland Amazon region for perhaps thousands of years against a variety of chronic degenerative diseases.

The two principal ingredients, Uncaria and Tabebuia are widely available in Amazon region as complementary medicines with indications against a variety of chronic degenerative diseases (1) ranging from general immune dysfunction to cancer for perhaps thousands of years.

On a cautionary note, these two genera contain many species and subspecies, only a few of which provide the desired medicinal benefit. A systematic botanical description may not suffice when it comes to identifying the more potent subspecies, many of which look alike to a Western-trained botanist, although they are easily distinguished by the native healers and curanderos.(2)

To make matters more complicated, the native healers use only specimens collected from particular regions of the forest, since the soil and other environmental factors play a decisive role in the potency of the final preparation. Moreover, specimens must be harvested at particular times of the year. With these factors in mind, it was clear from the outset that the large-scale collection of  ingredients for what was to become the CoD tea had to involve the local people in a very direct way.

As a result, the tea ingredients are cultivated and collected by the native people of the rainforest under ideal conditions and using the principles of sustainable harvest. In complete agreement with the spirit of the Rio Treaty, the local producers are paid in cash on site for their work and their crops. By leveraging the unique skills and knowledge of the native Amazonian people, the consistency, high quality and bioactivity of the raw CoD tea materials has been assured for over ten years.

b) Scientific Analysis and Molecular Effects of the Main Components

If one searches the scientific literature databases such as Medline
( using the key words Uncaria or Tabebuia (the botanical genera of the main components of CoD tea), one finds a large body of publications describing the physiological effects and the chemical nature of the bioactive ingredients of these plants. This in turn offers a scientific explanation of the many observed effects of the CoD tea, some of which are described in this article (3).
Chemical analysis of the tea reveals an unusually high anti-oxidant potential. This has certainly to do with the presence of Uncaria species, which are known to contain several tannins such as the low-molecular weight catechins and procyanidins. This group of phenolic compounds is known for its anti-oxidant properties, and their strong anti-inflammatory activity has been described (9,10,14). Another group of interesting compounds in Uncaria are the nitrogen-containing iso-indoline alkaloids, for which neuro-protective activities in the central nervous system, as well as immune-stimulant effects have been established (5,12,13)

1 The matter of botanical identity becomes even more complicated by the free use of synonyms by localmedics: currently, about 20 different botanical genera are being marketed under the name of Una de Gato (=Cat’s Claw=), for example, and only one of them is Uncaria. Moreover, the genus Uncaria contains 34 species, each with several subspecies, of which only a few show the desired medicinal properties. Similar confusion exists for Pau d’Arco (a.k.a. Lapacho), only one of which is Tabebuia avellanedae, again with a number of subspecies with different degrees of bio-activity(2).

To assure that this distinction would always be made in the future, a new vernacular name was introducedfor the particular Uncaria species in the CoD tea: instead of Cat’s claw this group of plants was named  Claw of Dragon (CoD)(3).

Such ingredient/activity relationships have been established for many vegetables and spices, such asgarlic, onions, carrots, ginger, to name only a few.

In Tabebuia, the other major genus of CoD ingredients, the most interesting compounds in respect to the CoD tea are the naphthoquinones, namely lapachol and lapachone. The quinones (a group of chemicals which include vitamin K and Coenzyme Q10, (also known as ubiquinone), play important roles in the body as redox-catalysts of cellular respiration and function as powerful traps for inflammation-inducing free radicals. In-depth scientific investigations of these compounds have established a number of cellular and molecular mechanisms of action, which help to explain the successful use of plants from this genus in complementary anti-cancer therapy. A recent study by scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, demonstrates the direct induction of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in lapachone-treated multiple-myeloma cells (6,7).

Cancer cells are notorious for being able to deactivate this natural process, making themselves quasi-immortal as a result. Apoptosis-inducing compounds such as lapachone appear to reverse this effect, at least in a culture dish, and provide a rational explanation for the anti-cancer properties of the Tabebuia plant. Other studies using in vitro cell-based assays have clearly demonstrated an apoptosis-inducing effect of Uncaria, the other main ingredient in the CoD tea, in many cancer types (11).

A study by Gupta and co-workers reports the reversal of Multiple-Drug-Resistance (MDR) by lapachone, again in myeloma cells (4). MDR is the phenomenon whereby, after initial success with chemotherapy, a tumor recurs that is resistant to most available chemotherapy agents. This severely limits the treatment options available to the cancer patient. Consistent with the lapachone study, one of the first independent scientific analyses conducted on CoD tea pointed towards an MDR-reversing activity. The study, conducted by scientists from the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, showed that chemo-resistant breast adenocarcinoma cells regained sensitivity to Epirubicin, a frequently used chemotherapy agent, when cultured in the presence of CoD tea infusion (2b). Clinical studies of cancer patients receiving both CoD tea and traditional chemotherapy have provided additional evidence for the adjuvant effect during classical cancer therapy (see below and 2a).


Effects of the TCM CoD system in Cancer Patients

The CoD tea, in concert with the corresponding dietary and exercise regimens, has been used as a nutritional support system for cancer patients since 1993. At the time of writing, several thousand people have profited by participation in the program. Prior to adding the CoD system to their daily nutrition routine, the vast majority of these people had relapsed with recurrent disease following classical cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. In order to document as carefully as possible the beneficial effects of the CoD system, Dr. David and his research team collected a substantial body of data from patients on their overall health status, including daily activities and eating habits, changes in appetite, body weight, energy, mental health(mood) and stress level. With the patients’ consent, Dr. David and his team also reviewed the medical records of the tea recipients, before and after initiation of the CoD program. From these records, a consistent picture emerges of strong synergism between the TCM CoD support system and current cancer treatments. What follows is a summary of the more common physiological, psychological, biochemical and clinical responses observed in cancer patients during the first 2-3 months of TCM CoD program participation:

 • An increased sense of well-being; lessening symptoms of depression and a more positive attitude towards life in general

•  Better quality sleep

•  A reduction in pain level, often resulting in a decreased use of analgesics.

•  Increased appetite, with resulting gains in body weight, physical strength and stamina

•  Increased mobility and a greater desire to move around

•  Improved immune system function (increased count and activity of white blood cells)

•  A trend towards normalization of anti-oxidant potential (increased blood

   concentrations of co-enzyme Q10, various anti-oxidant enzymes, trace elements, and vitamins)

•  Biochemical indicators of tumor load (so-called tumor markers, e.g. serum PSA in the case of prostate cancer) begin to diminish.

•  In some cases clinical signs of tumor regression are observed, such as a reduction in tumor size or reduced swelling of lymph nodes.

After more prolonged use of the TCM CoD support system, one or more of the following
responses have been noted in many patients:

•  A further gain in body weight

•  continuing return to normal mobility, in some cases resuming job-related  activities

•  significant reduction in pain

•  further normalization of immune responses, liver enzymes and anti-oxidant status

•  stabilization of tumor volume and, in some cases, gradual regression

•  increased efficacy of renewed chemo-and radiation therapies (1)

Both patients and treating physicians agree that the reduction in pain, increased sense of well-being, better sleep and greater mobility attributed to the CoD system all contribute a significantly enhanced quality of life.

From the data gained so far, it appears that not all types of cancer respond equally well to the CoD system. Data currently being collected and compiled will allow statistical analysis of long-term survival data for each cancer type. Based on the experience to date, nine types of cancer show clearly beneficial effects of the CoD system, either alone or in combination with other cancer treatments. These nine are non-small-cell adenocarcinoma of the lung, adenocarcinomas of the breast, prostate, colon and stomach, osteosarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma and multiple myeloma. Some good responses have been seen in cases of ovarian and bladder cancer. Astrocytoma and glioblastoma of the brain seem to respond favorably after radiotherapy, in cases where radiotherapy alone had been unsuccessful. Less favorable responses are seen with primary hepatoma, cancer of the pancreas, and Wilm’s tumor of the kidney, however the sample size is too small to draw any firm conclusions at this point. It should be noted that in many cases where nobenefit is derived, the disease had simply progressed too far for the CoD system to be effective.

The benefits of the TCM CoD system as a dietary support for classical cancer therapy is currently being investigated in four open-label clinical studies in Hungary, Russia, andAustria. The longest of these has been ongoing for two years with 40 cancer patients recruited. In addition to clinical responses, these studies are monitoring the overall immune status, anti-oxidant levels including coenzyme Q10, and the concentrations andactivities of inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS).


The TCM CoD system is more than a herbal tea, but is also not just a dietary supplement plus exercise program; a more suitable description would be that of a Specialty Nutrition for Cancer Patients. The nutritional formulas of the CoD diet and the composition of the TCM CoD herbal tea composition were gleaned from cultures that have an ancient knowledge of medicinal plants and a healthful nutritional system that appears to protect against several cancers common to western societies. The implementation of a closely

defined nutritional program incorporating the TCM CoD tea, the antioxidant-rich CoD™ Vital Plus,the TCM CoD diet and daily physical exercise, requires in many cases a complete change of lifestyle and dietary habits.

In  order to be successful, the system requires the elimination of all agents that have an immune-suppressant effect such as tobacco and other stimulants, caffeine, alcohol,saturated fats and deep-fried or junk foods. The first goal is the detoxification of the body and the regeneration of the immune response, which goes hand-in-hand with the stabilization of the acid-base balance in the body and restoration of a high anti-oxidant potential. This is the main purpose of the TCM CoD™ nutrition system. In tandem with scientific studies, which have greatly enhanced our understanding of the protective properties of TCM CoD™ tea and its ingredients at a molecular biological level, accumulating clinical data provide ever stronger support for the inclusion of such a nutritional support system as a key component of effective integrative, biological cancer therapy.


David, T., Li, Q., Georgopoulos, A. et al. CoD™ -extract -an adjuvant Biotherapy for Cancer, Hepatitis C and Immunedeficiency. I. Reunion Internacional del Genero Uncaria, Iquitos, Peru, 2001. Abstracts.

a) David, T., Li, Q., Georgopoulos, A., Galfy, P. et al. CoD™ Té – una Bioterápia aditiva contra Cáncer, Hepatitis C y Inmunodeficiencia” (Resultadosde los investigaciones cientificos preclinicos de 19 anos y estudios clinicos controlados de 9 anos). IV.Congreso Mundial de la Medicina Tradicional, Lima, Peru, 2002. Abstracts.

b) Laxhuber, L.A., Metzger, R. (Cell Control Biomedical Laboratories, GmbH, Martinsried), 1997. Personal communication.

David, T. Medizin der Schamanen, VGS Verlag, Köln, 1997. Engl. translation:
Miracle Medicines of the Rainforests, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT, 1997.

Gupta, D., Podar, K., Tai, Y.T. et al. Beta-lapachone, a novel plant product,
overcomes drug resistance in human multiple myeloma cells. Exp. Hematol. 30(7), 711-20 (2002).

Kang, T.H., Kitajima, M., Aimi, N. et al. Pteropodine and isopteropodine positively modulate the function of rat muscarinic M(1) and 5-HAT(2) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocyte. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 444(1-2), 39-45 (2002).

Li, Y., Li, C.Y., Yu, D., Pardee, A.B. Potent induction of apoptosis by beta-lapachone in human multiple myeloma cell lines and patient cells. Mol. Med. 6(12), 1008-15 (2000).

Pardee, A.B., Li, Y.Z., Li, C.J. Cancer therapy with beta-lapachone. Curr. Cancer
Drug Targets 2(3), 227-42 (2002).

Romero, I. et al. IV Congreso Mundial de Medicina Tradicional, Lima, Peru, 2002. Abstracts.

Sandoval, M., Charbonnet, R.M. et al. Cat’s Claw inhibits TNF alpha productionand scavenges free radicals: role in cytoprotection. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 29(1), 71-8 (2000).

10. Sandoval, M., Okuhama, N.N., Zhang, X.J. et al. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa and U. guianensis) are independent of their alkaloid content. Phytomedicine 9(4), 325-37 (2002).

11. Sheng, Y., Pero, R.W., Amiri, A., Bryngelsson, C. Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation in human tumor cells treated with extracts of Uncaria tomentosa. Anticancer Res. 18(5A), 3363-8 (1998).

12. Suk, K., Kim, S.Y., Leem,K. et al. Neuroprotection by methanol extracts of  Uncaria rynchophylla against global cerebral ischemia in rats. Life Sci. 70(21), 2467-80 (2002).

13. Wagner, H., Kreutzkamp, B., Jurcic, K. The alkaloids of Uncaria tomentosa and their phagocytosis-stimulating action. Planta med. 43, 305-7 (1988).

14. Wirthe, C. Wagner, H. Pharmacologically active procyanidines from the bark of Uncaria tomentosa. Phytomedicine 4, 265-6 (1997).

[The above is a translation by the author of the following publication: Bruening R. “Das CoD® Tee System: Eine Spezialernährung für Krebspatienten”, Erfahrungsheilkunde 2003, 1:1-4. (in German)]

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