Rowan Hamilton, Dip Phyt, MNIMH
Cancer is not a death sentence! This powerful statement runs contrary to the underlying fears in our population.
Cancer is not a death sentence! This powerful statement runs contrary to the underlying fears in our population. Unfortunately, by the time that most people discover a cancer in their body, the disease process is already underway and may have been for many years.
Medical intervention in cancer has stretched to its limits. No significant decrease in the numbers of North Americans being diagnosed is in sight and people are looking elsewhere for their health and for their lives. Awaiting their call is a vast body of knowledge of herbs in maintaining health, preventing and even eradicating cancer from the body.
At the time of diagnosis, many people look for natural remedies–especially herbs–to help them. Medical intervention however, is often swift and traumatic.
Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and hormonal treatments are rapidly mobilized. They do not address the dysfunctions of body regulation that have led to cancer. Even if the treatments are successful in the short term, cancer may return after the conclusion of the therapy.
Nutrition, environmental medicine and the understanding of subclinical regulation of health have played little part in the medical process, which is concerned with the removal of the cancerous tissue itself. The person with the cancer, their friends and families are often in shock and find themselves without guidance, for their consultant oncologist will have little to say about complementary medicine. Yet when asked what a specialist would do for themselves if they were in the patient’s position the answer is often a surprise! It is at this point that an experienced biological practitioner with qualifications in herbal medicine and clinical training becomes vital. If you don’t know one by reputation contact a professional organization.
By engaging a professional who can guide you through the complementary process, you will obtain the best advice on nutrition, self care and herbs to support you and your choices. This does not mean conflict with your medical specialist. It may be best for you to receive medical treatment and biological therapy at the same time.
In Chinese hospitals, where herbs are part of main stream treatment, few patients experience side effects from chemotherapy or radiotherapy due to the herbs they receive at the same time. This knowledge is available in Canada. The professional herbalist or naturopath can also look after your needs after treatment when regular medical practice has nothing to offer. Of the hundreds of herbs that have been used in cancer treatment a number stand out as being important for prevention as well as for use once the condition has been diagnosed.
In terms of the medical research that confirms its role as an anti-cancer herb, the leader might be aged garlic extract. This is the Japanese discovery that led the way in garlic studies. Aged garlic extract and its constituents SAC and SAMC have demonstrated anti-cancer action in bladder tumors, neuroblastomas (cancer of the nervous system), skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach and lung cancer as well as toxin-induced mutations in cells and DNA. The report of aged garlic extracts inhibition of prostate cancer at the Memorial Slone-Kettering Cancer Center in 1997 was seen as an important medical discovery.
Further studies have shown that green tea has significant anti-cancer properties. Green tea, like so many herbs, contains natural biological modifiers and anti-cancer phytochemicals. In this case analysis has focused on the constituent epigallo-catechin-3-gallat, which has a specific action that targets prostate cancer.
Each herb has a unique affinity for different systems and functions of the body.
Matching the needs of an individual to the right combination of herbs for them requires skill and experience. Few professionals will give a single herb to a patient. As there are something in the order of one hundred different types of cancer, the need for specialist help becomes self evident.
Herbs can address the fundamental health processes of the body. All chronic disease involves dysfunction of the regulation of oxidation and reduction, pH, ionization and mineral and vitamin levels. Disturbance of these vital processes will effect the enzyme functions on which we depend every second of our lives. Your immune system also depends on these regulation processes. A health professional can look at your individual needs and advise you on which herbs you need to restore these systems and with them your health.
There have been many successful uses of herbs to treat cancer. So far, pharmaceutical companies have screened more than 25,000 plants for anti-cancer drugs. This should tell us that looking for single ingredients to attack cancer may be missing the point. Just as cancers are a product of disturbances in the body, so herbs can correct the disturbances as well as control many cancers.
However such is the seriousness of cancer that informed professional advice is always needed. This is the great opportunity for true biological therapy.
Millions of lives depend on it.
As cancer is often associated with high levels of free radicals produced by oxidation and toxic carcinogens, herbs which act as powerful free radical scavengers are always valuable.
Some herbs are specil'icalK anti-neoplastic. That is they preveni the formation or destroy tumor cells. Some arc reported in the literature to arrest the spread of malignancy. These include:
The Canadian Association of Herbal Practioners (403) 270 0936 or your provincial naturopathic association can advise you which of their members are suited for your needs.