Natural Health Therapies and Cancer - Part Three by:Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.
This article is the third installment of a series on Natural Health Therapies and Cancer. The material presented is meant to inform you of complementary cancer therapies that are available in the medical community. These therapies are to be used in cooperation with other cancer treatment methods. They are not meant to be done in place of your physician's care. In the previous articles, we have covered the basics of cancer, the causes, the various types and stages, and how nutrition can trigger and promote cancer growth. This article will focus on Anti-Cancer Herbal Supplements as a form of cancer therapy.
Herbal therapy is also known as Phytotherapy or Phytomedicine. As you may recall from previous articles, the word 'phyto' means 'plant.' This form of cancer therapy focuses on herbal or botanical supplements have been used for centuries in dealing with a wide range of diseases. Many of these plants have been studied by pharmaceutical companies to isolate active ingredients for use in drugs. A few key examples are foxglove (used for digitalis), rauwolfia (used in reserpine), and opium poppy (used in morphine).
The anti-cancer herbal supplements that we will discuss in this article are listed below in alphabetical order. Due to the number of herbals involved, we will only be able to cover each one briefly. However, this does give us a starting point to follow-up at the library for more in-depth information. Remember that 'herbal' does not equal 'safe.' Although herbal therapies usually work more slowly than pharmaceuticals, adverse reactions can occur if the wrong dosage, a poor quality herb, or the incorrect herb is used. In addition, there are potential interactions with prescription drugs. Always check with a medical professional before using any complementary therapies.
The effects of these various herbs on cancer have been researched and documented by a large number of studies worldwide. The results indicate that the herbs work by:* Stimulating DNA repair* Producing antioxidant effects* Promoting protective enzymes* Inhibiting cancer-activating enzymes* Inducing oygenating effectsThe anti-cancer herbal and botanical supplements currently being used by a variety of medical practitioners are:AlgaeChlorella, Sea vegetables, and Green Drinks provide high levels of antioxidants that help to clean up the damage done by free radicals. The albumin, vitamins, and minerals contained in chlorella are considered a major detoxification resource. Aloe VeraLong used for burns, cuts, and minor skin irritations, tests indicate that this plant has tumor-fighting capability. A major component of aloe vera called Acemannan has displayed remarkable ability as an immune system stimulator.AmygdalinKnown also as Laetrile, this substance is found in the pits of apricots and other fruits. It has been used for centuries and produces a cyanide compound that targets cancer cells.AstralagusThis herb is widely used in China, often in conjunction with ginseng. Research shows that it increase Natural Killer (NK) cell activity, reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and boost interferon levels.Cat's ClawUsed in Peruvian tribal medicine, this herb displays antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties. Studies have indicated that it enhances the immune system as well as digestive system. EchinaceaThis well-known herb has shown properties that enhance the immune system. Test results indicate an increase in NK cell activity ranging from 90-221%. Echinacea provides support to battle secondary problems like infection.Essiac This is an herbal tea originally used by Native Americans. It contains burdock, sheep sorrel, Indian rhubarb, slippery elm, and other herbs. It has been shown to boost immune system function, diminish inflammatory processes, and reduce the toxic side effects of many drugs.FlavonoidsA group of phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. These substances have very high antioxidant levels. This group contains quercetin, rutin, citrin, hesperidin, proanthocyanins, and anthocyanins.GarlicEnough scientific evidence exists for this longtime folk remedy that scientists held the First World Congress on the Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents in the late 1980s. Research points out garlic's ability to suppress cancer initiation and growth by boosting NK cell and T-cell activity. Garlic also blocks cancer cell adhesion to blood vessels which helps prevent metastases. Gingko BilobaThis herb has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. One of its components, gingkolide B, interferes with a chemical in the body that promotes tumor growth. Gingko also has a high antioxidant level.Ginseng Used for centuries in Asia, this small woodland plant has been documented to have immune system enhancing properties. It stimulates macrophage and NK cell activity as well as boosting the production of antibodies.Grape seed extractPycogenols, the active ingredients in grape seed extract and pine tree bark, might be the most powerful antioxidants found to date. Studies show that they are 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C in reducing free radical damage. Green teaA popular drink in Japan and China, green tea has been shown to reduce the risks of throat and liver cancers. This is attributed to the high antioxidant properties found in green tea, far exceeding those of Vitamin E. The average daily consumption of green tea in Asia is 2-10 cups. Haelan 851This is a liquid soybean concentrate made with a specialized fermentation process. The preparation contains zinc, selenium, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, C, D, E, and K. It also contains high levels of genistein, an isoflavone shown to increase cancer cell death, inhibit blood vessel growth to tumors, regulate hormonal imbalance, and provide other anti-cancer functions. HANSIA homeopathic combination of about 10 herbal components, HANSI has been shown to increase NK cell activity in the immune system. The primary ingredients in the formula are from rain forest and desert plants such as cactus, aloe, arnica, licopodium, and lachesis. Made in Argentina, this formula is available in the U.S. on a three month supply basis.Hoxsey's herbsThis is an herbal preparation that contains red clover, burdock root, buckthorn, barberry bark, stillingia root, chaparral, licorice, cascara amarga, and prickly ash bark. Used since the 1840s, these herbs produce documented antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-estrogen activity. They also have been shown to boost immune function and inhibit blood vessel growth to tumors.Iscador (Mistletoe)Used by European physicians since 1920, Iscador has been found to increase the length and quality of life, stabilize the cancer, cause tumor reduction, and improve the overall condition of the patient. Immune system function, particularly NK cells, increases within 24 hours after Iscador treatments.Larch arabinogalactanThis is a complex carbohydrate compound derived from the Western Larch tree. Studies have shown that it enhances the activity of NK cells, macrophages, and immune-enhancing chemicals called cytokines.Maitake mushroomMaitake, shitake, and reishi mushrooms have all been shown to promote NK cell and antibody activity. Maitake mushrooms consistently show the greatest results in inhibiting cancer development and metastasis. Pau D'ArcoAn herbal extract derived from the inside of the bark of certain trees in the South American rainforest that has displayed anticancer properties. The key component, lapachol, has a unique molecular composition that produces biological activity against cancer.Pectin, modified citrusThis is a food fiber found in fruits which has been modified to bring out the immune system enhancement properties. Research show that modified citrus pectin boosts the function of both T-cells and NK cells in the immune system.SilymarinKnown also as milk thistle, this herb is full of antioxidants and flavonoids. It has been seen to provide protection from liver damage. Studies indicate that Silymarin accelerates the regeneration of damaged liver tissue. This is important in cancer patients because all toxins including chemotherapy drugs are filtered through the liver and excessive toxins can result in liver dysfunction. TurmericA major ingredient in curry powder, this herb comes from India and is a member of the ginger family. Studies show that it provides powerful antioxidant effects, inhibits tumor growth and formation in certain cancers, and reduces production of some cancer-promoting enzymes.In the next article, we will explore the use of Physical Support Therapies for cancer therapy. These methods include Detoxification, Biological Dentistry, Water Therapy, Heat Therapy, Bodywork/Therapeutic Massage/Exercise, and Qi Gong. I hope that this material has been helpful and informative. The material in these articles is a portion of an e-book available on my website.About the authorJerry Ryan, Ph.D. is a Natural Health Coach who teaches individuals and group classes on the scientifically documented benefits of natural health techniques. He is also an internationally published author and has been a guest speaker at such places as NIKE World Headquarters. For more information, his website is http://www.JerryRyanPhD.com http://www.articlecity.com/articles/health/article_6411.shtml