Natural Alternatives for Breast Cancer Treatment

Most common treatments are hormone therapy and surgery, but there are natural options out there. While these are not necessarily the options for everyone, it takes some intense education to convince oncologists that there are options like these which avoid some of the horrid side effects of pharmaceutical and hormonal therapies that have been proven to reduce tumors. Even those which have been studied extensively have not been proven to be completely effective, so there needs to be the consideration that there are more options out there.

Green Tea

Green tea contains chemicals known as polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. The major group of polyphenols in green tea are called catechins, and the most important catechin seems to be epigallocatechin gallate (sometimes called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG). EGCG may help cause certain types of cancer cells to die in much the same way that normal cells do. This effect is important because cancer cells are different from normal cells in that they do not die when they should — they continue to grow and spread.

The Chinese have been drinking green tea for at least 3,000 years and it has been popular in some other Asian countries for at least 1,000 years. In recent years, scientists have begun to study its health effects more closely in laboratory and animal studies and in observational human studies.

Many laboratory studies have shown green tea acts against cancer cells in cell cultures. Test tube studies have suggested that compounds in the tea may help stop new blood vessels from forming, thereby cutting off the supply of blood to cancer cells.1

The Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha

According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:

  • Ashwagandha is often used in formulations prescribed for stress, strain, fatigue, pain, skin diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy. It is also used as a general tonic, to increase energy and improve health and longevity and topically as an analgesic.
  • Ashwagandha is rich in iron and also reduced the growth of breast, central nervous system, colon, and lung cancer cells without affecting normal cells.
  • Ashwagandha was shown to prevent chemotherapy-induced neutropenia in mice.

In a small study of breast cancer patients, ashwagandha also alleviated chemo-induced fatigue and improved the quality of life. This shows this herb to be more than a treatment but also quality follow-up care.

The Gerson Therapy and Juicing

Called the “Gerson Therapy,” Dr. Gerson developed this natural treatment to help hundreds of cancer patients activate their body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself by recommending:

  • Organic, plant-based foods
  • Raw juices
  • Coffee enemas
  • Beef liver
  • Natural supplements

Frankincense Essential Oil Therapy

now research trials highlighting frankincense’s potential cancer-fighting abilities are filling medical journals. Specifically, Indian Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has been shown clinically to being a potentially effective treatment for:

  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stomach cancer

According to researchers out of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, the potential cancer-killing effects of frankincense are due in part to its ability to influence your genes to promote healing.

Turmeric and Curcumin 

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells suggest that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to fight cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It seems to be most effective against breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells. In fact, a 2007 laboratory study showed that the combined treatment of curcumin with chemotherapy eliminated more bowel cancer cells than chemotherapy alone.

Curcumin also interferes with cancer development, growth and spread. And researchers have reported that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents. Overall, evidence suggests that in general turmeric works well to help stop cancer in its tracks and is especially effective in helping to treat breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

Mistletoe (the Viscum Album plant)

Mistletoe is often used as an alternative secondary treatment for breast cancer in Europe. Though this treatment is not provided here in the United States, there is one famous American case of breast cancer treatment with mistletoe—celebrity Suzanne Somers used this treatment. There are not many published clinical results on the use of mistletoe as a cancer treatment, but it has received a great deal of publicity because of its unlikely relationship to medical science.

Mistletoe leaves and berries are potentially poisonous. Therefore, because Iscador extract is made from the entire plant, it must be handled and administered carefully. The extraction process begins with the grinding of the entire mistletoe plant. The plant is then soaked in water, fermented and finally filtered to produce the Iscador extract. Mistletoe treatment is commonly administered by injection, just under the skin. As daily treatment progresses, more concentrated Iscador extractions are administered. Side effects may include redness or welling at the injection site and a possible fever, though the fever may play a positive role in the benefits of Iscador.

Clinical research has been extensively practiced for years on the effects of mistletoe and its medical benefits, but the benefits of Iscador in controlled groups of cancer patients is still minimal. In the United States, very few approved clinical studies using mistletoe have actually been performed, as mistletoe is closely restricted because of its severe toxicity. Most published results are anecdotal, including observations and highly publicized stories like that of Suzanne Somers. However, European studies of the cancer treatment benefits of Iscador have been completed for decades. Thousands of cancer patients have experienced a relevant prolonging of life and increase in quality of life after receiving Iscador treatments. These results in Europe and the anecdotal benefits of mistletoe as a secondary cancer treatment may someday lead to its acceptance as a controlled cancer treatment method in the United States.


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