Herbal Supplements: A One-Two Punch Against Mesothelioma
August 6, 2012
In the world of alternative cancer treatment, the use of herbal supplements is a popular and effective way to strengthen the body against the disease. In one study of cancer patients, modular vitamins, botanical supplements and mineral supplements were the three most frequently used complementary/integrative nutritional therapies. That should be no surprise, given their potential to improve the patient’s health.
Botanical therapies (which include herbs, mineral, vitamins and phyotomedicines) can provide two major benefits to patients who are fighting off mesothelioma. They can serve as an overall aid to wellness by strengthening the body’s organs, optimizing the body’s daily functioning and increasing the patient’s energy levels.
These therapies also have the potential to act as a specific weapon against cancer by triggering natural cell death or blocking cell growth.
Some herbalists suggest that there are more than 3,000 different herbs and botanicals that can have an anti-cancer effect. Meanwhile, there are dozens of vitamins and minerals that patients can use as supplements to enhance overall wellness. Some of the most popular supplements include:
- Vitamin A/beta carotene (reduces the risk of infection; also inhibits tumor development)
- Vitamin E (stimulates the immune system; also protects cells from toxic effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy)
- Zinc (excellent immune system booster, especially in conjunction with magnesium)
- Graviola (showed active cytotoxicity against cancer cells in research by the National Cancer Institute)
- Lemongrass (may trigger natural cell death in cancer cells)
- Curcumin (powerful anti-inflammatory; may also help block cancer-causing enzymes)
Certain supplements can also relieve mesothelioma symptoms. For example, lobelia is an herb with powerful bronchodilating properties. Mesothelioma patients who are having difficulty breathing may benefit from its ability to open up oxygen passageways.
Precautions to Consider when Taking Botanical Supplements
While many herbs and botanicals DO have potent cancer-fighting properties, they are not considered curative treatments. And there are many mesothelioma survivors who attribute their post-diagnosis well-being to botanicals and other natural remedies.
While patients can use these examples as excellent sources of hope for alternative therapies, they should be wary of any botanical supplement that is marketed as a miracle mesothelioma cure. Some doctors do feel that herbal supplements offer more of a placebo effect than a true solution, yet as long as the herbs make their patients feel better and do not cause any side effects, they generally approve of their use.
However, doctors may advise patients to wait on certain herbal supplements, since some botanicals can interfere with mesothelioma treatment. Chemotherapy drugs can interact poorly with specific herbs, while other supplements can increase a patient’s risk for post-operative complications.
While these negative interactions can be avoided by discussing your supplemental regimen with your doctor, more than 70 percent of patients do not tell their doctors about their use of herbal medicines.
To maximize its effectiveness and reduce the likelihood of negative interactions, be sure to tell your oncologist about all medications you are currently taking, including natural supplements and even daily multivitamins.
Have you ever tried herbal supplements or botanical cancer-fighters? Have you noticed a difference in how you feel? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.