Naftusya: history, research, healing effect

History of Naftusia

The first hydrotherapy hospital in Truskavets
The first hydrotherapy hospital in Truskavets

1827 is considered to be an official birth date of Truskavets resort. That year a hydrotherapy hospital with 8 cabins for mineral baths was opened. But not chlorine-sodium waters made Truskavets well-known. The worldwide fame of Truskavets resort is without any doubt a merit of healing Naftusya water, which was first mentioned in documents in 1469 and described in details in 1578 by royal physician Voytsekh Ochko. In the textbook “Natural history”, published in Latin in 1721 in Sandomierz there is a valuable information that “… the villagers of Truskavets and other villages of Galicia drink water with oil for treatment of many diseases”.

Start of scientific investigation of Naftusya

A memorial plaque is dedicated to Theodore Torosevich
A memorial plaque is dedicated to Theodore Torosevich

Start of scientific investigation of Naftusya was given by Lviv pharmacist T.Torosevych, who made its chemical analysis for the first time in 1835 and doctor A.Mashek, who described its healing effect in 1836.

Many Austrian, Polish and Soviet scientists studied the “queen of mineral waters” during the following years. Among Soviet scientist we should mark physiologist, professor B. Esypenko, microbiologist, candidate of biological sciences H. Konotop and an organic chemist, candidate of chemical sciences A. Yasevych. However, the mystery of healing effect of Naftusya remained unidentified – Queen demanded of the scientists their complete dedication.

Professional investigation of Naftusya

In 1981 Institute of Physiology named after O. Bohomolets of Academy of Sciences of USSR opened the department of studying of the mechanisms of physiological action of mineral waters for professional investigation of Naftusya on the academic level. Summary of the first stage of work on Naftusya mysteries is given in a book “Physiological basis of therapeutic action of Naftusya water”(1989). There are the materials of candidate theses of I. Popovych, I. Butusova and V. Bilas and materials of doctoral thesis of S. Ivasivka.

I. Popovych
I. Popovych

The second attempt to solve the mystery of Naftusya was made by scientists of reorganized department of experimental balneology headed by professor S. Ivasivka. Summary of their work is given in a monograph – doctoral thesis of S. Ivasivka “Biologically active substances of Naftusya water, their genesis and mechanisms of physiological action” (1997) and also in the following collective monographs: “Adaptogens and radiation” (1996), “Choleretic action of Naftusya water” (1997), “Naftusya water and fluid-electrolyte metabolism” (1997), which are altogether awarded by the Award of O. Bohomolets of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. In the same period S. Lomejko defended the candidate thesis “Influence of Naftusya mineral water on hemopoiesis in patients with radiational damage of the organism” (1996) and M.Kovbasnyuk defended the candidate thesis “Influence of ferruginous mineral waters of Skhidnycya resort on hemopoiesis” (1997) under the guidance of S. Ivasivka.

But the real breakthrough on the way to Naftusya mysteries began in 1998 since creating a self-supporting research and production group of clinical balneology and phytotherapy on the basis of sanatorium-hotel complex “Dnipro-Beskyd”. O.Chebanenko became a chief of the group, and I. Popovych – its scientific consultant. Doctors of resort sanatoriums and tutors of department of non-traditional medicine and rehabilitation of Lviv state medical university and department of anatomy, physiology and valeology of Drohobych state pedagogical university conducted their researches in this group.

The results of the Naftusya study

S. Ivasivka
S. Ivasivka

Large-scale clinical and experimental researches gave a rich material for writing collective monographs:

  • “Resort rehabilitation of victims of the Chornobyl disaster” (1999);
  • “Nature of balneofactors of Naftusya water and essence of its therapeutic-prophylactic action” (1999) – under the editing of S. Ivasivka;
  • “Bioactive water Naftusya and stomach” (2000);
  • “General adaptational reactions and resistance of liquidators of the Chornobyl accident” (2000);
  • “Chornobyl, immunity, kidneys” (2001);
  • “Balneophytoradiodefensology” (2002);
  • “Sanogenetic basis of rehabilitation of urological patients of Chornobyl contingent in Truskavets resort” (2003);
  • “Rehabilitation of defensive and adaptative systems in Truskavets resort” (2004);
  • “Physiological activity of uric acid and its role in the mechanism of Naftusya action” (2004);
  • “Actotropic effects of balneotherapeutic complex of Truskavets resort” (2003);
  • “Balneocardioangiology” (2005);
  • “Chornobyl, adaptative and protective systems, rehabilitation” (2006);
  • “Balsams on Chornobyl wounds” (2007);
  • “Experimental balneophytotherapy” (2008);
  • “Dysfunction of neuroendocryne and immune systems, metabolism and hemostasis due to unfavorable ecological influences and its restoration in Truskavets resort” (2009);
  • “Adaptogenic balneophytotherapy in Truskavets resort” (2010) – under the editing of I. Popovych.

Two more monographs are prepared for publishing. They are “Balneogastroenterology”, written on the basis of Ph.D. theses of M. Humeha and A. Levytsky, and “Stress-limiting adaptogenic mechanism of biological and therapeutical activity of Naftusya water”, which is a doctoral thesis of I. Popovych. S. Sarancha, M. Petryshak, O. Luzhetsky, R. Kretchak, T. Ilnytska-Rybchych, L. Nesterova, H. Vistak, Z. Struk, O. Ivanytska, Ye. Krugliy, A. Popovych and many others continue to work on their candidate theses. These researchers are united into the Association of scientists of the city. They form scientific school of balneology and phytotherapy of Truskavets, which is widely known in Ukraine and beyond. It is recognised by the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (FEMTEC).

Modern ideas about Naftusya properties, its genesis and mechanisms of prophylactic and therapeutic action are the result of 30-year long research of above mentioned scientists.

What from and how is Naftusya formed?

Wellspring №1
Wellspring №1

Naftusya forms in the resort park, more precisely – in its part with total area of 0,6 hectare. Process of creation of this wonderful water is amazing. It goes in a following way. Precipitations seep through the soil, take from it its organic humus compounds, atmospheric gases, bacteria, and in this condition reach the aquifer, where they begin to interact with a unique kind of soil. This soil is unique, because it contains organic substances (similar to oil and ozokerite, which are deposited in Truskavets and also in its neighbours – Boryslav and Skhidnycya). These substances dissolve in the water and become food for so-called autochthonous (indigenous, local) microbes.

Hydrocarbon-oxidizing microorganisms (HOM) are the most numerous– from 500 to 60 cells in 1 ml of water, thio-acidic (TAM) microorganisms are the next in quantity – 40-10 cells/ml, and sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRM) are the least numerous– 7-3 cells/ml. HOM start to “eat” first, converting inactive oil substances into bioactive substances such as probiotics (dairy products are the most known source of them). TAM and SRM also “eat” some oil-like substances, but the main their nourishment includes waste products of HOM, which undergo recycling (biotransformation).

For readers, who start to make a wry face, we must remind that honey is a product of nectar processing in the digestive system of bees. In the result a unique bouillon is formed. According to the data of chemists O. R. Datsko and A. B. Bubnyak, this bouillon for 2/3 consists of oil products (paraffins, monoolefines, dienes and monocycloolefines, alkylbenzenes, alkenilbenzoles, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, alkylnaphthalenes, sulfur-containing compounds), and for 1/3 – of products, recycled by microorganisms (carboxylic acids, sulfur-containing compounds, esters of aromatic acids, alkyl phenols).

It must be mentioned that the content of above mentioned organic substances in Naftusya is from 0,1 to 1,7 mg/l, and paraffins – 4 mg/l, so their daily admission into the body is `entirely commensurate with a number of pharmacological agents.

Wellspring №1 inside
Wellspring №1 inside

Minerals, which are leached from the rocks, are the associated components of water (ions of bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium and sulphate in concentrations about 0,7 g/l like in fresh drinking water). Water also includes atmospheric and biogenic gases (hydrosulfide – about 1 mg/l, carbonic – about 100 mg/l, traces of methane), silicic acid (10-15 mg/l) and microelements (nickel, vanadium, silver, zinc, molybdenum, chromium, copper, titanium, manganese, barium) in concentrations from 1 to 700 mkg/l. Their activeness is not denied, but it is not essential. So the usual name “mineral water”, which is suitable for drinking healing waters with mineralization more than 2 g/l, does not suit Naftusya. That’s why in 2000 I.L.Popovych introduced a new term “bioactive water Naftusya”, which adequately reflects its essence.

Here we must emphasize that the deposits of Naftusya, unlike oil deposits, are endless, because it constantly renovates owing to rainfalls, which are almost as abundant as Carpathian. However, like every earthly fruit, Naftusya takes time to mature. That’s why amount of pumped water from the wells (there are 8 of them) must have reasonable limitations. In 1980s, on the peak of resort load, signs of worsening of water quality (decrease of content of organic substances and autochthonous microorganisms) appeared. At that time daily amounts of pumped water were about 23-25 m3, and even then these amounts did not reach approved standards – 47 m3/day. So, gossips of enemies that there is not enough Naftusya and it is being diluted by fresh water were not right at that time and are not right now.

Dramatic decline of Naftusya consumption in 1990s was to its benefit, so in the beginning of our century the water quality had completely restored. Former director of hydrogeological regimen-exploitational station (HGRES) professor Stepan Ivasivka and CEO of “Truskavetskurort” doctor of medical sciences Bohdan Aksentiychuk proudly said to mass media that Naftusya is now the same as 150 years ago. During 2000-2010 daily amount of pumped water was about 11-9 m3, so everything is good with Naftusya quality. Now let’s start the talk about this quality.

How does the organism respond to intake of Naftusya?

pyut vodu - Naftusya: history, research, healing effect

When getting into the stomach, Naftusya like each fresh or low-mineralized water irritates many sensitive nerve endings of its mucous layer (so-called thermo-, mechano-, osmoreceptors). This increases the activity of local nervous and endocryne cells, which regulate motility and secretion of gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas. Unicity of Naftusya is that it can irritate also the chemoreceptors because of various organic substances in its content. This is a secret of healing power of Naftusya!

We proved that organic substances of Naftusya (both leached directly from underground water-bearing rocks and produced by specific microorganisms) are perceived by the organism as a threat of possible chemical poisoning, because the organism is “afraid” that after drinking a tiny amount of oil-products it will be subjected to real oil.

Investigation of Naftusya
Investigation of Naftusya

Received signal starts two processes – general (non-specific) and local (relatively specific). The first process is a development of general adaptational syndrome (stress).

Stress is developed as an answer to really harmful factors (trauma, high or low temperature, radiation, chemical or biological poison, infection) and their precursors (appearance of a predator or enemy, verbal threats, personal or industrial conflicts, etc.). Anxiety reaction is a first stage of stress. The most important signs of it include increase of so-called adaptive hormones of suprarenal glands (glucocorticoids and catecholamines) in blood and activation of autonomic nervous system.

Both signs were revealed after one-time intake of Naftusya. There are reasons to think that microorganisms of Naftusya can induce white blood cells to release the same hormones of adaptation as suprarenal ones. This additionally strengthens the effect of the organic substances through chemoreceptors of gastrointestinal tract.

It is known that the moderate stress (eustress) mobilizes defensive forces of the organism and increases its general resistance, whereas the excessive stress (distress) is accompanied by pathological changes (ulcers of stomach and duodenum, myocardial damage up to necrosis, hypertension, immunity supression etc.). Naftusya is a weak irritant and it leads to short-time and low-expressed anxiety reaction, but some days of Naftusya intake activate and increase the power of so-called stress-limiting systems of the organism.

As a result, during the next influence of strong stimulus on the organism, the listed damages will be less expressed or will not emerge at all. This stress-limiting prophylactic effect of Naftusya was demonstrated in animal experiments. World practice shows that anti-stress measures of different genesis (chemical, physical, psychological etc.), which have good results on animals, as a rule, prove their effectiveness in clinical trials.

naftusya - Naftusya: history, research, healing effect

On the other side, this anxiety signal (if confirmed at least over the next two days) activates systems of defense against possible poisoning, which are aimed at acceleration of splitting of poison by liver cells and disposal of it by cells of renal tubules. But both these defensive systems are of multi-use (living organism is more economic than machines), so the specifity of antichemical defense is relative: together with oil-like substances the organism accelerates transformation and disposal of own (endogenous) substances. First of all, it is cholesterol, which is transformed into bile acids (this process leads to increase of bile formation – famous choleretic effect of Naftusya), hormones of adrenal cortex (which are responsible for adaptation to unfavourable environmental conditions) and hormones of gonads (which are also responsible for the adaptation). Because of this transformation blood cholesterol level is decreasing and this is good for prophylaxis or limitation of atherosclerosis and hypertonic disease.

At the same time kidneys accelerate excretion of uric acid, which is a cause of gout and source for urate renal stones. Kidneys also activate urine formation. But the diuretic effect is mostly caused by acceleration of transfer of water from the internal substance of cells to the outer and then to blood with the help of specific enzymes, which are activated by organic substances of Naftusya.

Nature of healing effect of Naftusya

naftysja - Naftusya: history, research, healing effect

Neither choleretic, nor diuretic effect of Naftusya form its healing power. They are only satellites of its main effect, which is aimed at immune cells. That’s why the absense of diuretic effect in one-third of patients is not a sign of absence of healing action of Naftusya on defensive forces of organism. How does this action appear?

Cells, which “eat” harmful microorganisms (phagocytes), produce antibacterial substances (B-lymphocytes) and regulate work of phagocytes and B-lymphocytes (T-lymphocytes), contain the same enzymes as liver and kidney cells, which free the body from oil-like substances. The conclusion is that immune cells are also an object of influence of these substances. Oil-like substances influence immune cells both directly and after preliminary binding in liver cells with proteins. This binding is a process of transformation into so-called antigens – usual stimuli of immune cells. We must emphasize that this immune influence has not only activating, but also regulating and normalizing character. This is very important, because the excessive activation of the immunity is as harmful as its depression. As a result, Naftusya leads to normalization of immunity, which contributes to the total or partial suspension of inflammatory infectious process in any system of the organism. That’s why Naftusya can cure pyelonephritis, cystitis, prostatitis, cholecystitis, colitis, gastritis etc.

Microorganisms of Naftusya together with oil-like substances make their contribution into normalization of immune system. They produce bioactive substances (probiotics), which influence the immune cells. These microorganisms also act like a live vaccine. Investigations of V. R. Bilas (Ukraine`s leading specialist in the field of microbiology of mineral waters) showed that Naftusya, which is deprived of microorganisms by transmitting it through a porous filter, and Naftusya, which contains microorganisms killed by ultraviolet radiation, significantly differ from natural Naftusya, which contains live microorganisms. Indeed, Naftusya is a water of life.

Candidate of medical sciences, head of balneological laboratory of Institute of Physiology named after O.O.Bohomolets, professor Ihor Popovych.