in vitro, and/or with animals. However, top Herbalists obviously have years of experience knowing what works with cancer patients.
1 ASTRAGALUS (Huang Qi):
A Chinese herb; an immune system booster, known to stimulate body´s
natural production of interferon. It also helps the immune system
identify rogue cells. Work with the herb in both cancer and AIDS cases
has been encouraging. The MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas conducted
research showing that taking Astragalus when having Radiotherapy doubled
2 BERBERIS FAMILY (e.g. Podophyllum peltanum): Slow
active purgative. Research has shown these herbs to have a strong
action against cancer and they have been used with many cancers,
especially Ovarian cancer. In Cancer Watch March 2015, the herb was
shown in research to outperform brain cancer drug, Temozolomide in vitro.
3 BLOODROOT (Sanguinaria canadensis): Research
shows consistent anti-neoplastic activity. It has been shown to be
effective against cancer tumours, and can shrink them; it is one of the
herbs in an anti-cancer poultice called Black Salve; and has proven
useful with sarcomas.
4 BUTCHERS BROOM (Ruscus aculeatus): The
active ingredients of this herb has been found to be the ruscogenins
which have tumour-shrinking and anti-oestrogenic abilities. Thus its use
in the treatment of breast cancer.
5 CAT´S CLAW (Uncaria tormentosa): An
adaptogen and powerful immuno-stimulant, it enhances the white cells
clean up process (phagocytosis). It is an excellent companion to
astragalus, curcumin and echinacea. Research indicates it can reduce
tumour size, particularly with skin cancers. It also helps reduce the
side-effects of chemo and radiotherapy.
6 CHAPARRAL (Larrea mexicana):
Cancer Watch covered a major research study from the US which heaped
praise on this herb. It appears to boost the immune system, stop
metastases and reduce tumour size. Seems especially interesting with
breast cancer and is another ingredient in Black Salve. It is also an
anti-oxidant and anti-microbial, with low toxicity.
7 CURCUMIN (Turmeric): This
spice (Curcuma longa or Turmeric root) has been shown to have
significant anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity. That alone
seems enough for certain hospitals in America to consider using it in
the treatment of polyps and colon cancer. However new research shows
that it can both shrink cancer tumours and inhibit blood supply growth
to tumours. It is a powerful antioxidant with liver protective benefits,
and outperformed several anti-inflammatory drugs without side-effects
8 DANG SHEN ROOT (Codonopsis pilosula):
increases both the white blood cell and red blood cell levels, so can
be extremely helpful to patients having chemotherapy and radiotherapy,
or to patients whose cancer diminishes levels of either.
Another known immune system booster, it gained a populist reputation in
treating colds. There is research on its helpfulness with brain
tumours apart from its abilities to increase the levels of certain
immune white cells in the body.
This herb caused a storm when research from Rochester University in New
York showed it to be more effective than the drug cytarabine in killing
leukaemia cells. The US Food and Drug Agency put the active ingredient,
parthenolide, on to its fast track programme. Nothing has yet been
heard. But then, the FDA has never approved a herb for use as a cancer
One cause of stomach cancer can be the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
This burrows into the mucous lining of the stomach to hide from gastric
acids, and then causes irritation, acid reflux, ulcers and even cancer.
Goldenseal is generally anti-microbial and is used in the Caribbean and
South East Asia against parasites. Goldenseal, helped by the mineral
Bismuth, will kill Helicobacter pylori. Vets seem to know this, even if
12 MILK THISTLE: Known
for years to be helpful to the liver, this herb has now been shown to
be capable of protecting the liver during chemotherapy. Research in
America showed that leukaemia patients who took milk thistle had reduced
liver toxicity and chemo side-effects. There is a little evidence that
it has its own anti-cancer activity too.
13 PAU D´ARCO:
This tree bark was original thought to be a strong anti-cancer agent,
but then its actions were clarified as strongly anti-bacterial,
anti-yeast and anti-microbial. That alone might be enough in some cases
of cancer cause. But new research on the differing ingredients has shown
the quinoids possess immune strengthening abilities and seem to help in
cases of blood and lymph cancers.
14 RED CLOVER:
Research from a number of cancer centres including the Royal Marsden
has shown its potential as a part of a treatment programme against
oestrogen-driven cancers, from breast to prostate. One active ingredient
in the so-called Herb of Hippocrates is the anti-oestrogen Genistein,
which Professor Powles formerly of the Royal Marsden dubbed ´the
15 SHEEP´S SORRELL:
Used in Essiac and other herbal remedies, it is a cleanser and aids
healthy tissue regeneration. There is some suggestion from research that
it helps normalise damaged cells and tissue. It is also a highly
praised ´vermifuge´ - intestinal worms have little or no resistance to
16 SKULLCAP (Scutellaria barbata): Research has shown action against many cancer types, for example against cancers of the lung, stomach and intestines.
17 SUTHERLANDIA (Cancer Bush):
Peer reviewed research studies indicate that this herb is
anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It boosts the immune
system and inhibits Tumour Necrosis Factor, known to drive wasting in
18 THOROWAX, or HARES EAR (Bulpleurum scorzoneraefolium): Research has shown its ability to enhance the production of natural interferon and it seems especially useful in bone cancer.
One of the top private hospitals in South East Asia extols the benefits
of freshly juiced wheatgrass. One shot gives you the chlorophyll of
some 12 or more kilograms of broccoli. It acts as a blood purifier, and
liver and kidney cleansing agent. In research, after two weeks of daily
use, blood and tissue oxygen levels improve, as does circulation.
20 WORMWOOD: Another
Chinese Herb, this has outperformed certain anti-malaria drugs and is
now used by the aid agencies. It is strongly anti-microbial and
anti-yeast and can be used as an effective part of an anti-candida diet.
Also certain cancer treatments cause excesses of yeasts to form (for
example, in Leukaemia treatment) threatening the patients health
further. Excess yeasts are even felt by some cancer experts to be one of
the causes of cancer. However, in recent research Wormwood has been
shown to have direct anti-cancer properties.
Many of these herbs are available freshly prepared via the Natural Selection shop. Click here to go to the shop.
Please be clear, no one is saying these herbs are not without any
side-effects. Equally they may conflict with some drugs. The important
point is that we are still discovering many of their benefits, albeit
very slowly, because individual local herbalists just do not have the
funds to conduct large scale clinical trials like the drugs companies
do. You should seriously consider the usefulness of herbs as a part of
your integrative cancer-fighting programme. They just might make a
serious difference to your health. But please make sure you go to an
expert medical herbalist for clear and informed advice.