Abstract: Alternative therapies – including herbal remedies – can play a crucial role in treating mesothelioma. Herbs such as cat’s claw and astragalus root are commonly given to cancer patients. Findings show that these (and other) herbs may help mesothelioma patients reduce their symptoms without pharmaceutical intervention.
Health and Wellness Blogger, The Mesothelioma Center
Before modern medicine, herbalists and homeopaths relied on herbs to treat cancer symptoms. Even with the development of advanced therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, some doctors still prescribe plant or mineral-based medicines to patients who wish for a more natural form of treatment.
Herbal therapies range from common substances such as garlic to more obscure formulations such as Essaic. Some of the most common herbal remedies used in the treatment of mesothelioma include:
- Astragalus root (used to boost the immune system – especially in patients who have already undergone radiation therapy or radiation therapy)
- Cat’s claw capsules or tea (stimulates the immune system and helps the body neutralize cancer-causing free radicals)
- Nux Vomica (a homeopathic anti-nausea medication derived from the Strychnine tree)
- Ginseng (an Asian plant-based supplement used to fight fatigue)
These (and other) herbal therapies are generally not intended to cure mesothelioma, but some mesothelioma survivors have noted success with a combination of natural therapies, including herbs. Some herbs can boost the patient’s natural cancer-fighting abilities, but they have not been found to stop the cancer’s eventual growth. Instead, they are viewed as a palliative therapy for the management of the cancer’s symptoms and side effects.
Herbal remedies are fairly accessible. The more common ones can be located in a supermarket or drug store, and the others can be obtained from a holistic medical practitioner’s office or a vitamin specialty store.
Other Alternative Therapies
Herbal supplements are often used in conjunction with other natural mesothelioma therapies. Acupuncture, aromatherapy and massage therapy are some of the most commonly used alternative cancer treatments. Others include:
- Chiropractic care
- Mind-body therapies
These natural therapies and herbs are favored by mesothelioma patients because of their low risk of side effects. Unlike traditional medicine, these treatments are highly unlikely to cause any complications.
Although they are generally safe, all herbal therapies or alternative treatments should be discussed with a doctor before the patient begins them. A naturopath or homeopath may be able to coordinate the patient’s natural treatment, or an integrative medicine specialist may draw from both alternative and conventional medicines to create a multidimensional therapy plan for mesothelioma.
Clinical Study on Effect of Astragalus in Efficacy Enhancing and Toxicity Reducing of Chemotherapy in Patients of Malignant Tumor,”by Duan and Wang. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2002 Jul;22(7):515-7.
Tropical Plant Database: Cat’s Claw (2010, March 20). Retrieved fromhttp://www.rain-tree.com/catclaw.htm