Five Great Herbs for Cancer Patients

Artemisia Annua/ Wormwood

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Herbs for Cancer

Herbal medicine has much to offer people who have cancer, or who have had cancer in the past and want to ensure that they remain cancer free.

If you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatments currently, it is essential that you discuss simultaneously using herbal remedies with your health care providers, as some herbs may interact with chemotherapeutic agents or reduce/increase the effectiveness and dosage of medications used for cancer therapy. It is best to also talk with an expert in herbal medicine.

In most cases, I recommend that herbal medicine and conventional medicine be used simultaneously, but for different purposes. For example, conventional approaches to cancer treatment are often superior to herbal therapies for ridding the body of cancer. However, they weaken the body’s immune system and create serious side effects. Herbal medicine strengthens the immune system and helps to relieve side effects.

Using both types of therapies together results in a highly effective treatment plan that is better tolerated than if just conventional therapies are utilized.

Let’s take a look at some of the most useful herbs that may be employed when treating cancer.

1. Artemisia Annua/ Wormwood

Artemisia has been used by herbalists for hundreds of years. It belongs to an important class of herbs known as alteratives, which enhance the health of the entire body. As the whole body is tonified, it becomes more resistant to illness and able to tolerate physical and mental stressors more effectively.

Artemisia benefits the hepatic, renal and lymphatic systems. It aids the elimination of toxins, including those due to cancer, chemotherapy and radiation. Artemisia helps to balance hormone levels and enhances the health of the immune system.

Compounds within artemisia destroy a wide range of cancer cell types. The herb should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Arctium lappa/Burdock

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2. Arctium lappa/Burdock

The seeds and roots of burdock are used to promote detoxification. They are also nourishing. Burdock helps to relieve skin eruptions and irritation that sometimes occur during cancer treatment.

It is a very safe and well-tolerated herb that helps to regulate elimination. It enhances the appetite and aids digestion, and can help to relieve the excess fluid accumulation that may occur in the presence of advanced cancer or if lymphedema is present after a mastectomy.

Burdock has anti-tumor activities. It is one of the main ingredients in a traditional Chinese therapy still used for people who have cancer. Burdock root is also a component of an herbal blend the a Canadian nurse made famous for treating cancer.

Trametes Versicolor/ Turkey Tails Mushrooms

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3. Trametes Versicolor/ Turkey Tails Mushrooms

Turkey tails are common mushrooms that grow on dead logs. I believe they are among the most useful plants that can be used to treat cancer. They are particularly beneficial for people who have cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

An extract of the mushroom has been used as a complement to conventional cancer treatment in Japan for over three decades. Most experts in Japan alternate the use of turkey tails with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. I myself have used the herb simultaneously with chemotherapy.

Turkey tails mushrooms prevent metastasis of cancer cells, stopping the cancer from spreading via several mechanisms. In addition, turkey tails mushrooms improve the function of the immune system.

Experts believe that turkey tails have the potential to increase survival times significantly.

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Camellia Sinensis/Green Tea

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4. Camellia Sinensis/Green Tea

Many studies indicate that green tea is effective for preventing the occurrence and recurrence of breast cancer. A 2014 study showed that green tea is effective even for women who suffer from difficult to treat hormone receptive-negative cancers of the breast.

An extract of green tea prevents metastasis and promotes weight loss, which is important because obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a compound in green tea that may help the body to respond better to chemotherapy. It interferes with certain chemotherapy drugs, but people who are undergoing other kinds of chemotherapy may benefit by adding green tea to their treatment plans.

Because EGCG in green tea makes cells more sensitive to chemotherapy, it’s possible taking green tea could mean a lower dose of chemotherapy is required. Lowered doses of chemotherapy are desirable as chemotherapeutic agents are potent drugs that produce significant, sometimes life threatening, side effects.

Green tea may also improve the effectiveness of radiation treatments. Topical application of green tea may help to reduce itchiness, burning and discomfort of the skin caused by radiation treatments.

Camellia Sinensis/Black Tea

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5. Camellia Sinensis/Black Tea

Black tea is made from the same plant as green tea but it has different cancer protective actions. Both green and black teas are rich sources of antioxidants, which protect the body from cancer formation and recurrence.

I use black tea bags for people who have large, infected external tumors. Cancerous tumors have a strong blood supply which makes them prone to bleeding. They often have a foul odor. By applying black tea bags directly to the tumor site, bleeding is controlled and odor decreases.

Black tea also has antibacterial actions that help to reduce secondary infections, as well as abundant tannins, which constrict the blood vessels thereby reducing bleeding.

If using black tea bags to control bleeding, purchase tea bags that do not contain staples. I prefer the ones used for brewing iced tea as they are larger. Inexpensive brands of tea bags are fine to use. Do not moisten the teabags prior to using them.

After applying the teabags and leaving them in place, it is likely that you will need to apply an absorbent dressing over the area. Change the dressing as often as needed or as directed by your health care provider.

You may also use moistened black tea bags to relieve pain caused by hemorrhoids. Many people who have cancer become very constipated due to poor diet, narcotic use, and the action of chemotherapy treatments. Hemorrhoids may occur as a result of straining for bowel movements.

Apply the tea bags topically as needed. This is especially soothing if you moisten the tea bags and store them in a refrigerator prior to applying them for the relief of pain, itchiness, and swelling associated with hemorrhoids.


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6. Others

There are many other herbal remedies useful for the treatment of people who suffer from cancer. Including a wide array of culinary herbs in your diet is beneficial because herbs contain concentrated antioxidants and other natural compounds that prevent cancer occurrence and recurrence. Turmeric and rosemary are particularly beneficial.

Oregano oil and garlic are excellent for treating and preventing thrush, which often occurs when the immune system is compromised due to the disease and treatment for it.
Consult with your health care provider prior to implementing herbal or other therapies for cancer treatment.

Read more about herbs for cancer over at NewLifeOutlook.

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