Friday, August 24, 2012

Natural Alternatives: Five Cancer-Fighting Herbs

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer kills 292,540 men and 269,800 women each year.  It’s the second leading cause of death.  That being said, as more people are being affected by cancer they’re turning to alternative therapies and treatments, tired of invasive conventional "treatments" that make them feel even sicker.  They’re not taking it anymore and are looking for answers, better answers.  Some of those answers rest in cancer-fighting herbs. (Please Note: These herbs should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.)

Here are five herbs commonly used to fight cancer:
Tea Inventory
(Photo credit: euphbass)
1.  Ginger - Ginger has been studied and used to fight colon cancer.  The main ingredient in ginger, gingerol, has been shown to significantly reduce cancerous tumors in mice.  In addition to its tumor-reduction potential, ginger is also used to quell nausea for chemotherapy patients, for those choosing a more traditional approach.  It’s an herb with many wonderful qualities.

2.  Astralagus – This herb, also known as Huang ch'i, has been studied as a cancer-fighting agent due to its ability to boost the immune system.  Studies have shown it can increase cancer-killing cells by as much as 260%.  However, this particular herb also has some side effects including low blood pressure, light-headedness and fatigue. 

3.  Green Tea – Green tea, tea leaves that have been steamed and dried without fermenting, has been shown to slow the division of lung and colon cancer cells.  While study results have been primarily positive, the National Cancer Institute is studying green tea to further determine the effects of green tea on cancer.  Green tea also offers antioxidants, which are excellent at supporting the immune system and optimizing overall health.

Turkish Tea
Turkish Tea (Photo credit: dimi)
4.  Iscador – An extract from European mistletoe, iscador contains lectins, which are theorized to kill cancer cells.  While some studies have shown iscador improves survival rates, other studies have found little or no effect.   A Swiss study did show, however, that iscador more than doubled the rate of DNA repair in twelve out of fourteen breast cancer patients. One drawback to this herb is that there are risks of poisoning and overuse or overdosage, and thus it should only be taken with a doctor’s supervision.

5.  Barbed Skullcap Tea - The Chinese medicinal herb ban zhi lian, also called Scutellaria barbata, is a tea which has been used to help treat lung, liver and rectal cancer.  It has also been shown to slow prostate tumor growth in mice.  Although studies haven’t been conducted on humans, this herb shows promise for the treatment of cancer.

Herbs have been used for centuries by cultures around the world to treat illnesses both mild and severe.  Nature has provided us with a very powerful medicine cabinet.  As scientists continue to study their safety and effectiveness, it’s only a matter of time before scientists discover more cancer-fighting herbs.  For now, these five show amazing promise to both help fight and potentially prevent cancer. 

Please Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for medical advice. If you have, or think you have cancer, be sure to consult with a qualified medical professional as soon as possible, and before taking these or any other herbal supplements.
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