Treating cancer with herbs may seem like a far-out idea to conventional practitioners in the U.S. But the fact is, herbal preparations can be extremely helpful when used as adjuncts to toxic chemotherapy (some relieve side effects) or radiation. Some herbs are natural pain relievers. What's more, these age-old treatments can do no harm when used with the aid of a professional.

Daniel Mowrey, PH.D. is Director of the American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City, and is author of several books, including The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. He notes:

"The following herbs can provide nutritive and therapeutic support to the body during the course of, and during recuperation from, any debilitating condition, be it arthritis or appendicitis, major surgery or cancer, pneumonia or polio. They provide a comprehensive cleansing and detoxification program, including nutrition, stimulation, rejuvenation, and remedy. The combined action of several of these herbs is even believed by some to cure cancer, though proof of that theory has never been satisfactorily shown."

Red clover has been used in America for over 100 years to treat and prevent cancer.

Chaparral is undoubtedly beneficial for some people with certain types of cancer in certain stages of development, but it is not clear who may benefit, which cancers are most susceptible or at which stage of cancer development the herb is most effective.

Licorice root is one of the great detoxifiers in nature. It inhibits the growth of certain tumors and actually stimulates the production of interferon, that critical chemical in the immune system that could be the key to preventing and treating many immune-response deficiency diseases.

Oregon Grape root has a direct action on the skin. It is used to restore the skin to a smooth, clear condition following any kind of skin disease or other illness that may have dried out the skin or produced sores.

Stillingia root is a North American plant that became the alterative of choice the last century. It is now accepted as a treatment for tuberculosis and cancer.

Burdock root is another classic blood purifier, or alterative. It is also diuretic and diaphoretic. So, in three different ways it helps cleanse the body of toxins and wastes, especially those that accumulate during illness.

Cascara sagrada is a primary laxative. It helps remove consolidated, bacteria-laden waste matter from the large intestine during periods of illness.

Sarsaparilla is used for rheumatism, arthritis, skin disease, venereal disease, fevers, digestive disorders and as a general tonic.

Prickly ash bark and buckthorn bark were a part of the famous Hoxey cancer cure.

Kelp supplies an incredible number of nutrients and possesses numerous medicinal properties of its own. Note especially its anticancer, antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive and fibrous qualities.

"Although there is no such thing as a specific remedy for cancer, and probably never will be, nature makes some helpful plants available to us. These plants are able to aid and exert a prophylactic effect," according to Dr. Alfred Vogel of Switzerland, author of The Nature Doctor. The plants described below are his selection and represent just a sample of those that can be useful.

Butterbur, known by the botanical name Petasites officinalis, has achieved wide recognition as a remedy. In the first place, its antispasmodic effect eases tension in the cells and reduces the patient's susceptibility to pain. Secondly, it has an anticarcinogenic effect. As butterbur is a nonpoisonous plant, it can be taken in large amounts without any danger of side effects. Some cases are known where this simple plant, in conjunction with a change of lifestyle on the part of the patient, has produced remarkable results.

Mistletoe, a peculiar parasitic plant, likes to live on certain trees and is also known as Viscum album. It, too, has proved to be a good plant remedy for cancer, because of its effect of stimulating the cell metabolism.

Celandine, also known by its botanical name Chelidonium, is a further effective help, as are preparations made from Podophyllum, Boldocynara, Lycopodium, barberry and all other plants that stimulate the liver. Cancer patients always suffer from liver insufficiency, so it is understandable why plants that stimulate the activity of the liver can help to improve the patient's condition.

Echinacea has proved its reliable effect on all kinds of inflammation and is therefore a good supportive remedy. It can be used internally and externally.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a fine pain reliever in cases of cancer of the stomach and intestines.

Lactic acid is also beneficial in caring for cancer patients and should be considered for this purpose. Molkosan, sauerkraut juice and vegetable juices taken alternately will improve the patient's condition and quench his thirst, however great it may be.

Using herbs as part of cancer treatment is a mainstay of medicine around the world. According to John Heinerman, Ph.D., author of The Treatment of Cancer with Herbs (BiWorld Publishers, Orem, UT), herbs are used in China, Russia and elsewhere along with Western drugs to promote healing and to reduce nausea and other side effects.

He cites the following herbs as beneficial in minimizing the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs: Siberian ginseng, lobelia, goldenseal, echinacea, sarsaparilla and wild Oregon grape.

Herbs which help mend tissues damaged by cobalt radiation are: liquid aloe vera, Siberian ginseng, kelp, huckleberry leaves, comfrey and chickweed.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The books

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The plants

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