Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with roughly 175,000 new cases reported each year. Conventional treatment for breast cancer generally consists of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, depending upon the extent of the disease. Some women are now opting for a more natural treatment regimen, either in conjunction with the chemotherapy and radiation, or with herbs alone. Some of the following herbs are currently being used for women with breast cancer, with promising results.
Astragalus root, Maitake mushrooms, echinacea and ginseng are used to boost the immune system, which is clearly not functioning properly in an individual with cancer.
Black cohosh, red clover, chasteberry and turmeric are herbs that are high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are a form of estrogen that block the stronger, more damaging estrogens. They work by fitting into the same receptors in breast cells that estrogens do, thus preventing the estrogen's ability to fit there. Chasteberry also may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
Silymarin, an extract of milk thistle, and also a powerful antioxidant, has shown promise for fighting breast cancer. Silymarin also provides an added benefit of protecting the liver.
Some cancer-fighting nutrients that can be added to the diet include green tea, garlic and onions. Studies have shown that the organic ingredient of garlic, allyl sulfur, is effective in inhibiting or preventing cancer development. Green tea acts as a powerful antioxidant and stimulates the immune system. It can be either drunk in tea form, or taken in a standardized capsule.
Herbs such as bloodroot, don quai, juniper and mandrake may help reduce breast cancer cell growth.
Burdock root acts as a powerful antioxidant. It helps to protect against cancer by helping control cell mutation. It also aids in elimination of toxins. Burdock purifies the blood and stimulates the digestive and immune systems.
In addition to herbs that are taken orally, homemade cancer creams may be placed on the affected breast or breasts. These creams contain extracts of herbs and work by promoting a separation of the tumor from the tissue that supports it. Cancer creams are applied to skin tumors or the skin over internal tumor sites. The ingredients differ, but usually are mixed in an oily base like beeswax, olive oil, butter or pine tar, which allow the active ingredients to penetrate the skin. Ingredients may include bloodroot, cleavers herb, lobelia, chickweed, cayenne, DMSO, chaparral, Irish moss, comfrey, marshmallow, myrrh, birch bark and mullein.
As with any health care regimen, consult your doctor or naturopath to determine the correct herbs and dosages for you.