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Ask the Herbalist- Cancer

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QUESTION: I am so glad I have found your site. For about a year and a half I have not able to put one foot in front of the other and I am a very active person normally. In the early fall I started having headaches and nausea every day and noticed my vision and concentration was declining. I was about to make an appointment to see if I could find out what the problem was.

Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer about that time which of course took priority. I am one of the lucky ones and my cancer was caught very early and I believe it was rated a Stage 1.   I chose to have both breasts removed and it ended up that cancer was the other side as well but did not show up in the mammogram. The lymph nodes were biopsied on the one side before the actual mastectomy but of course not on the other. It had not spread to lymph nodes on that side but the other side was not checked. I am not required to have chemo but given Tamoxifen to put me in a post menopausal state to block estrogen for five years.

My headaches, nausea and fatigue had gotten much worse. Anytime I mentioned that I had the problem before I knew about the cancer it fell on deaf ears and they kept saying it was just from the surgery and constipation from it. I was honestly giving up hope and started a little searching the internet to find out about Tamoxifen and see if I could possibly do anything to put quality back in my life. I ended up finding out all about the liver and the need for detoxification.

I have always had trouble with constipation all my life and it was not unusual to go three weeks without a bowel movement and to tell you the truth I thought that was normal. I have never gone more than once a week my entire life that I can remember and I am 52. The doctors don’t believe me and I honestly can’t blame them. So needless to say is it any wonder I have cancer. I changed my eating habits two weeks ago and only eat organic foods focusing on eating tons of raw fruit and vegetables and drinking water. My cancer is estrogen fed so the oncologist says I have no choice other than to take the Tamoxifen which makes the constipation so much worse no matter how healthy I eat. Is there any remedy that would help to keep the estrogen fed cancer from returning other than Tamoxifen as well as ideas on how to get the liver going again? I am worried I have damaged it beyond repair all these years. I am sorry this is so long and my guess about the liver could be wrong but I have to hope something will help me. Anything at all you might suggest would be a blessing because if I am lucky enough to make it to work I have to take a shower the night before and still have a hard time. On weekends I don’t even attempt to get out and don’t have the energy to even do chores that are really piling up. I have missed worked without pay so I did not have the money to try this and that but would spend my last dime on something you thought might help.

ANSWER: My motto has aways been: "Good health is not the absence of illness, but the presence of balance and harmony".  You're a survivor of a devastating illness, and I will do my utmost to help if I can.

Please be aware that our suggestions here at the site because of space and time are generalized, and due to your particular presenting problems I would encourage you to allow us do an individualized evaluation, which would determine the correct treatment plan, but more on that later. Let's try and get you well. 

It is extremely important to begin with a fresh canvas. I suggest a 48 hour fast. Drinking only infusions of Dandelion root tea. Your local herbal store should have it. Boil the root, cover for 15 minutes. Sweeten honey with a bit of honey. 

If you can find the extract so much the better, just add 25 drops to an infusion of Green tea and drink 4-5xs day during your fast. You need also to drink plenty of fresh water during this time. If hunger overtakes you you may eat Yogurt or crackers. Please continue to take your medicine during your fast. 

My next suggestion is to begin dealing with your constipation wisely, and I could suggest several remedies such as: Cascara Sagrada, Senna or Globe Artichoke, but better and by far healthier is fresh carrot juice. I would sincerely encourage you to buy a juicer, they are cheap enough about $30, and 1 hour before bedtime, juice 6 carrots and 1 stick of celery (to off-set any acidity). Before juicing the carrots cut the top and tip, scrape the carrots under cold water (we don't want hot carrot juice) scrape just enough to get the waxy film and any dirt off. You will see results in the morning. You may do this during your fast and continue after. 

Following your fast it is extremely important that you eliminate from your diet: Heavy red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods. Avoid foods with preservatives and processed foods. Moderate your intake of coffee and alcohol. 

Enhance your diet with fresh fish (salmon, mackerel), honey, brown rice, nuts and grains, fresh garlic and onion (these two will help fight off illnesses). Eat lentils, and garbanzos often (these last two contain a lot of fiber), and plenty of fresh raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits.

Continue drinking the Dandelion infusions 2xs daily for 14 days and the carrot juice as needed.  The suggestions above will begin helping your liver as soon as you start. 

As to the other end of your question regarding your cancer. Drink Green tea 2xs day. Add to all your broths, soups and stews a large Astragalus root. extract and discard when the dish is done. In the alternative add 25 drops of the extract of Astragalus to your meal 2xs day. Astragalus is tasteless and odorless. 

Astragalus is by far the very best herb to supplement the auto immune system.  You may want to consult with your physician on the energy issue about taking 1 sublingual vitamin B-12 daily.  There are also several Traditional Chinese Medicines Lisa, and a few other exotic remedies that would more than likely be of help, but we would need to do an evaluation for you to determine the appropriateness, frequency and dosage. I sincerely recommend one, if you are interested you may email me directly at: clinician@doctor.com

QUESTION: I’m a 53 year old otherwise healthy male except that I was just diagnosed with prostate cancer 2 weeks ago. T1a, early stage, no tumor but cancer cells found in 1 of 12 samples taken from a prostate biopsy containing 30% cancer cells in that one sample, Gleason score 3+3 or 6.  I had no symptoms just a PSA ranging from 1.95 to 3.35 over 12 years and currently 2.5 but my Dad had prostate cancer at 65, had radiation and is alive and well at 76 today. So with Dad having the cancer and my PSA at 2.5 the urologist has insisted for the last two years that I get a rectal ultrasound with needle biopsy of the prostate so I finally did. Although upon rectal digital exam the prostate was fine and when the ultrasound biopsy was being performed the prostate looked fine and healthy and I was told not to worry you seem to be fine, my results still came back to their surprise that I had prostate cancer. Logically I would think that only 1 sample of 12 and only 30% contained would be insignificant and the fact that my PSA has been around 2.5 for the last 12 years, maybe I have had it for a while and it doesn’t seem to be growing, however the urologist says cancer is cancer and the prostate needs to come out and I shouldn’t wait more than 3 months to get it done! 

Prior to diagnosis I ate a good diet of fruits and vegetables, mostly organic, although not much exercise, I am average and not overweight at 180 lbs., 6 ft. and I sit in an office most of the day. However I have had a sugar addiction and can’t stay away from sweets, cakes, pies, chocolate, etc… Now with the prognosis I have decided and have already started cold turkey to be the best I can by completely eliminating all sugars, except a few natural fruits like apples, pineapple, oranges, blueberries and a few strawberries. I am juicing organic raw vegetables from the local farmers market twice a day, I have cut out all red meat, fried foods and junk food eat outs. I am exercising 30 minutes a day, using our far infrared sauna daily, getting a series of colonics to detoxify and now going to an acupuncturist. I am also taking many supplements and vitamins of course after tons of research only what is good for me. My question is this: the Chinese acupuncturist I am going to is giving me herbals pills (tiny round black pills) to take about 10 to 15 of them twice a day and doesn’t seem to want to tell me what is in them as I have asked twice now. I am a cautious person and like to research everything and the side effect associated with everything I take. The fact that I am cleansing my body and taking lots of things I don’t want any negative interaction or something that may make the cancer grow faster. Can you tell me what I should be taking in the form of herbs?

ANSWER: Also many thanks for being quite clear on your medical issue. 

An acupuncturist that will not give you the name of a formula is no acupuncturist at all! Ask again and tell him that you will not take them until you know what they are, and if he won't tell you, you need to seek someone else.

Now then, having said that, I would suggest as I often do in these and other cases that you eliminate all red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods. all of these stagnate the system and will not allow it to work properly.  Moderate your caffeine intake.  I suggest a 48 hour detox, drinking only infusions of Dandelion root. Sweeten only with a bit of honey. If hunger overtakes you eat cracks (unsalted) or yogurt.

Start enhancing your diet with plenty of fresh fish, salmon and mackerel are great for Omega-3 content, eatr plenty of fresh garlic and onion (these will help your immune), brown rice, plenty of grains and nuts. For snacks eat pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (good for the prostrate). Continue to eat plenty of fresh fruits and raw or steamed locally grown vegetables. Include watermelon, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. these last contain lycopene which has been shown to protect against prostrate cancer.  

The spice turmeric has been shown to slow down cancer as have the compounds in pomegranate juice, I suggest you use both. If you must use salt in your foods use only Kosher salt, it contains only 12% sodium versus 25% for regular salt.  Drink plenty of fresh water daily.  Include 50mg Zinc daily in your diet. It nourishes the prostrate gland and it is vital for the immune system.   

You do need some form of exercise, low-level regimen, like Tai chi, Yoga or walking. 

To an infusion of Green tea, add 15 drops extract of Saw Palmetto and 10 drops extract of Stinging Nettle. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 3xs day.

These will help improve glandular function.

QUESTION: My doctors have me getting mammograms every 6 months to "watch" my right breast as they say I'm a strong candidate for getting DCIS.  What can I do now to help prevent this?  Would Essiac help?  My breasts have always shown calcification as well. 

ANSWER: The jury is still out on Essiac; what we do suggest is a change in diet and lifestyle below. Our suggestion is for you to begin supplementing the immune by adding: To all your broths, soups and stews: a large piece of Astragalus, a handful of Chinese angelica, a small piece of white Chinese ginseng root and Black seed oil extract or tincture. Extracts work better and faster.  (Black seed is related to the common Fennel and is a great supplement for the immune system, but it should be incorporated with other immune system supplements.)

To restore hormonal balance we suggest that you take Evening Primrose or Fish oil capsules because they contain essential fatty acids which are essential to you. Add to that 1,000mg Vit. C 3xs day.

To replenish decreased estrogen and progesterone levels I suggest 30 drops of tincture of Agnus castus, in a decoction of Chinese angelica and Peony root in equal parts, each morning. Sweeten only with honey.

Supplement with a good multi-vitamin, multi-mineral daily containing all 22 amino acids. Zinc is also a very important mineral to maintain in your system take 50mg tablet once daily.

I suggest and urge to consider first, eliminating from your diet: Pork, white sugar, salt, red meats, eggs, pasta, sodas, all dairy (except yogurt), caffeine, cigarrettes, alcohol, fried and greasy foods, and all foods containing additives or preservatives.

We sincerely recommend a diet that includes plenty of fresh garlic and onions, citrus fruits, black currants, tomatoes, broccoli, cabagge and potatoes, wheat germ, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, seafood, brazil nuts, lemons, grapefruit, cherries, red pepper and bananas.

Also enhance your diet with: Oily fish, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, turkey, steamed green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, carrots, corn, apples, yogurt and in particular eat plenty of oats.
Snack on black licorice sticks and/or pumpkin seeds. Eat more fish containing high amounts of omega-3s, these are: tuna, anchovies, cod, trout, mackerel, salmon, pollock sardines, and also, clams, scallops, crab, shrimp and mussels.

During the day, I recommend that you mix 20 drops of tincture of Helonia with 30 drops of tincture of Black cohosh in an infusion of Skullcap, you may add 20 drops of tincture of St. John's Wort to this. Drink 2-3xs day. Sweeten all the above with honey, not white sugar. You may also combine with any of these a pinch of Dandelion root.

You may also find comfort in massaging essential oil of Fennel or essential oil of German chamomile into the abdomen to ward and fight off other symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
You may add 15 drops of essential oil of Lavender to your baths to relieve stress and depression. A low-level exercise regimen will also be of help.

QUESTION: My son recently discovered a lump in his testicle and subsequently had an orchiectomy then had to undergo chemo .  After the chemo he got the all clear but was then told there "might" be some cancer invasion to the lymph nodes in his abdomen and he was told to undergo a procedure called an RPLND.  Since this is a very invasive surgery he has opted to take a wait and see approach.  He goes monthly for blood work to test tumor markers and about every 10 weeks for ct scans of the abdomen although they want him to do this more frequently.  He is currently eating a lot of kale, brown rice etc.  He is staying away from soy products as I believe this cancer could have been a result of his being a vegan since the age of about 14-22 and consuming a lot of probably gmo soy.  He is now 23 and drinking essiac tea during the day to help his immune system.  My question is do you think the essiac would be helpful in his situation? 

ANSWER: The jury even after all these years is still out on Essaic.

Depending on the individual it may or may not be appropriate. To really find out you may want us to do an individualized evaluation from which we can prepare a treatment plan just for him. So without any more info, I would just be guess-timating. Suffice to say, that many people have found some form of comfort in using Essaic.  Remember they said "might be". Continue with the testing and blood work. 

I would recommend that you son drink Green tea 3-4xs day and add to these 25 drops of extract of Astragalus to supplement the immune system. Sweeten only with a bit of honey. Also drink plenty of fresh water daily. 

I suggest he avoids white sugar, all dairy, pork, alcohol, and eat red meats and eggs in moderation. Avoid chip, colas and sodas. Drink coffee in moderation.  He should enhance his diet with plenty of fresh salmon and mackerel, fresh garlic and onions, honey, brown organic rice, yogurt, fresh local raw or steamed vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits.  Besides the Green tea, drink Dandelion or Chamomile teas.

QUESTION:  My uncle is not feeling well from  a few months ago. He was admitted in hospital his weight is losing. The test report after complete medical checkup is given  below. Doctor said that he has pancreatic cancer and there was a tumor in his pancreas that was removed by surgery.  Please kindly inform us if he has the above disease and what should he use in food and what prevention is there for him.  Secondly I searched for it over the internet so I found that Thymoquinone extracted from Nigella sativa seed oil is the best for this cancer but we cannot have this herbal. We just have black seeds of that. Can we extract it at home. If we can, then how should we do? And how many times daily a patient will take a dose of it?

ANSWER:  There are very many things for you to do to help him. In your country, they make a preparation of the pomegranite, skin, seeds, and fruit, dried with other herbs, and they take it, it is very good for cancer and the liver is always involved.  The black sesame seeds has the reputation of being good for cancer. Use, 1-4 tspns daily, or crush the seeds, and use 1/8 cup daily.  You would have to find a company, that could cold press it for you, I know there are companies that do this in your area of the world. We strongly suggest putting castor oil packs on the abdomen, and doing fresh juices, especially vegetable juices, and our herbs we suggest for the healing and cleaning process, as in the downloads.

  I was wondering if you have any recommendations of herbal support for post chemo depression and the “chemo brain.”  I had a friend who fell into a deep depression after chemo for breast cancer.  She was also at the end of menopause.  I’ve heard this is a dangerous combination but I don’t understand why.  Being unable to carry out tasks as she used to, created a lot of anxiety on top of this.  Are you aware of any herbs that can help the blood flow through the brain in the usually pattern that may help prevent “chemo brain?”

ANSWER: Here are some of the suggestions, that you can do, after the chemo, and to help recover.
Below are some of the herbs and why they are so beneficial. I also suggest you go to a Chinese herbalist, and acupuncturist ( ask around at the local health store, and find one who has the best results). 
Also purchase from us, or from your local health store, Floradix, this is all herbal and fruit for building the blood, very important for women, especially after chemo, this alone will help the brain functions.  We also have a blend, called Giver to My Liver, that is wonderful, and contains, many of the herbs listed below, and has proven clinically to help the liver, in a short time.  Bilberry fruit, for me has been one of the very best for brain function for me, I notice a difference in a couple of days, it is great for eyes too, is anti oxidant, and anti aging, and helps free radical damage from the chemo.

Astragalus membranaceous is also known as Huang Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Recent research has highlighted the ability of this herb to improve the functioning of the immune system and protect against disease. Studies also suggest that Astragalus helps prevent the spread of malignant cancer cells to surrounding healthy tissue. Research conducted by the University of Texas found that an extract of Astragalus helped to restore immune functioning in cancer patients with compromised immune systems . This is particularly important after chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Astragalus also helps to lower blood sugar levels, accelerate wound healing, relieve fatigue and lower blood pressure.

Silybum marianus (Milk Thistle): This herb has been used since ancient times for treating a wide variety of ailments, but particularly as a liver tonic. Milk Thistle is widely prescribed for preventing and treating liver disorders as well as protecting the liver from damage caused by alcohol, viruses and prescription drugs. Milk Thistle is a potent antioxidant and laboratory studies indicate it may have useful anti-cancer properties.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) contains bitter principles which have a beneficial effect on the liver and digestive system. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, D, C, various B Vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. It enhances liver and gall bladder functioning and promotes efficient clearance of harmful toxins from the body. Dandelion is also considered a very effective general tonic and is known to detox and help the body recover after serious trauma or illness.

QUESTION: My mother is fighting what once started as adrenal cancer and is now in her liver, (one kidney and adrenal gland removed through surgery, March 2007). She has since tried to different chemos, the last one was sutan,
last summer not sure what it was and has had radiation seeds inserted in the liver tumors which I believed were successful. Each of the chemos were not successful.
            Currently she suffers from such edema for a variety of reasons. I believe the edema condition has added about 20 extra pounds of weight on her. She says it is so uncomfortable, it hurts and she can no longer fit in her old clothes.
   With little background on my mother, is there any possibility you could recommend some type of natural herb that would relieve her edema. Also I if you have ever had any success with treating cancers with herbs we would be interested in these too.
            My mom and dad live in Florida and I am doing research for them. My mom was just 70 on 4/7. She and Dad have been married for 52 years. My mother normally a very young vibrant 70 is fighting a good fight. Thank you for your time and any help you could recommend.

ANSWER:  Thank you for inquiry. How is your Mom?
      Please read the download (cleansing/gall bladder flush) on suggestions for cleanse and detox, this is important for your Mom to do and know about. In her case she could use a lot of steamed veggies to start with, and some raw foods, as her system allows.
        Taking our formula, Tumour Time, and doing the cleanse with Life Force Fiber Food is essential.
Taking , 100 mg pure COQ10, with 1000, mg Ester C, 8-10 times daily is also strongly helpful in her condition. Proven to reduce growth and size of tumours, and cancer making cells.
         Aloe Vera juice, is a killer tape for cancer cells, she should drink 1/3 c at least 3 times daily, she can sip it.  Soak her legs in pails of Epsom salts two times per day, hot water, finish with cold.
Vigorous professional massage therapy, acupuncture, are very important.  Using the Fomula , called Water Out, or Kidney Care will also help the edema.  Please let me know if I can be of further help. All the very best to you and your Mom.

My cousin has pancreatic cancer.  We still do not know the stage of his cancer, however, I would like to know which herbs could be useful to help him.

ANSWER:  Thank you for the inquiry, please look at the extras as supporting a person with this conditions will take, a full regimen.
Focusing on the Physical, Mental, Spiritual state. Detoxing on all levels is necessary, ridding the body of unnecessary baggage and toxin, as well as the mind, and lifestyle.
Using fresh green beans, both raw and steamed, plus using fresh raw ginger to season, as well as a food, and beverage with maple syrup and lemon, or just with honey and ginger to taste, is an important food for the pancreas. Ginger, green beans and zucchini, are exceptional for normalization of pancreatic function. Easy on the sweets ( sugar makes cancer grow).
We suggest using 100 mg, of PURE COQ10, with 1000mg each time of Ester C, 10-12 times daily, this is proven to scientifically halt the advancement of tumour growth, and abnormal cellular production.
Start out at lower doses, then as his tummy can handle, increase.
Use lots of steamed and raw veggies, fresh fish. Raw and lightly steamed vegie and fruit juices
Use laughter as much as possible, and have a good time, feelings of love and care, are extremely important if wanting some form of recovery, or peaceful passing , if this is where, they are to go.
Hot springs, local grown produce, healthy and simple.
Use our formula, Tumor Time, 1 tspn, 3 times daily. ALso drink Essiac tea, as suggested on box.
Use castor oil packs, on feet and on abdomen, nitely, 5 days a week

Gall Bladder Flush #1
Items Needed:
Olive oil, 20 ounces
Prune or grape juice (If you absolutely abhor either of these, then use unfiltered apple juice.  Even pineapple juice is fine.)
Several fresh lemons, about 10 depending on their size.  You will want to have enough lemon juice on hand as it helps you to manage the oil.
Herbal tea (Life Force Invigorating teas are best suited for this.)
A good herbal laxative or an enema bag.
The very best way to flush the gallbladder is to do a proper 7 day fruit fast first and then proceed with two days of a juice fast during which you take the oil.  Therefore you would proceed as follows:

Days 1 to 7:
Fruit of any kind, mainly raw but some cooked should be fine such as apple sauce, as much you want to eat.  Keep to one kind of fruit each day.  Some fruit juice and herbal teas.  Also eat nuts, preferably soaked overnight.  They are easier to digest in a semi-sprouted state.  Continue to take the Life Force Fiber Food as recommended.  It will both cleanse your body and allay your hunger pangs.  If you find you simply can not stand the hunger, a little yoghurt is fine once in a while.  However the Fiber Food should be adequate.
Days 8 and 9:  Suggested time schedule
Beginning at 9:00 AM 
Take 1 ounce of olive oil mixed with prune, grape or other juice and some lemon juice.  Try using the blender.
Ž    Repeat the procedure every hour until you have, over the day, consumed 8 to 10 ounces of olive oil.  Go to bed fairly early.
Repeat the regime the second day only finishing with a laxative before bed if necessary
Days 10 to 14:

Go back to your fruit fast, continuing with Fiber Food.
Days 15 to 20:

Ease back into regular foods with lots of salads and vegetables.
Note:  People that cannot tolerate olive oil can use Safflower oil but it doesn’t cleanse as well as olive oil.
Follow cleansing diet


QUESTION: I recently heard of "sheeps sorrow" as a treatment used to fight cancer. Can you give me any info on this herb, where it grows, what it looks like, any suppliers, or documentation of it's benefits?

ANSWER: I think what you mean is Sheep's Sorrel and it is an ingredient in Essiac often used as nutritional support for cancer. Are you looking for something specific? Have you been diagnosed, or do you have symptoms that concern you?

QUESTION: I have cancer in the family. I was told it is a good idea to top up on antioxidants. What are the best antioxidants to take?

ANSWER: Lots of herbs have antioxidant properties.  But first you need to ensure you are eating a healthy diet. It won't do much good to put quality herbs in a system that is subject to junk food all day.  Stay away from all processed foods, white flour, white sugar, artificial sweeteners and impure water. Include lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet every day.  Bilberry, Gingko Biloba, green tea and rooibos are all excellent antioxidants. Also Blueberries are full of them, but make sure they are organic.  Take a good supplement every day. I like ACES from Carlton labs. It is vitamins A, C, E and selenium.  Also Zinc is very good for you.

  My sister is three months pregnant and just found out she has cervical cancer. Her doctor told her that she's in the second stage of the cancer, but can't do anything until the baby is born. I did a research project on burdock root a couple of years ago, so I was planning on making her a tincture, maybe with red clover blossoms and reishi. My boss recently told me about mgn-3, but didn't know about taking it while
pregnant. Do you know anything about this? Any suggestions of herbs and supplements that she can take would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:  If she were not pregnant I would try a poultice of Yarrow, Echinacea, Wild Indigo, Goldenseal, Chickweed, Plantain and Calendula.  The herbs would be made into a paste  then applied to a old diaphragm and inserted against the cervix each night for 5-7 days (remove in the morning) clean and then apply fresh herb paste the next night for the week or so; then off for several nights, then again for a week then off then on and so on for a month of time total.  This has proven very effective in the past for this condition, I would be concerned at this junction in her pregnancy to try this method.  Consult with her Doctor after her first trimester and see if he/she would consider this method.  Burdock and Red Clover blossoms help increase the body's ability to eliminate things, my concern would be the body trying to flush the good (the baby) and the bad (the cancer).  The medicinal mushroom reishi is a immune balancer bringing the body's natural defenses back to normal.  It might be a good choice for her it is considered a food based medicine.  But, the body sees the developing baby as a foreign object to the mother's body, the mother's immune system is kept in check so the baby is not attacked during pregnancy turning her immune system up could also effect the baby.  Blood test would need to be done to check her immune system levels and response to the therapy.  There is not an easy answer, I am sorry.  I will think of her in my prayers.  I would be glad to help anyway I can.

  I have recently completed 3 months of chemotherapy after a malignancy and  subsequent modified radical mastectomy.  The pathology showed the tumor to  be estrogene receptive and I am beginning a five year therapy with tomoxifen.   The chemo has triggered hot flashes and night sweats.  I need to know if  Black Cohosh is a form of natural estrogen or phytoestrogen (I can not take  either), or if it is a safe way for me to deal with there very uncomfortable  side effects.  

This is a download from the Natural Pharmacist Website www.tnp.com

Safety Issues    

    Black cohosh seldom produces any side effects other than occasional mild gastrointestinal distress. Studies in rats have found no significant toxicity when black cohosh was given at 90 times the therapeutic dosage for a period of 6 months.10 Since 6 months in a rat corresponds to decades in a human, this study appears to make a strong statement about the long-term safety of black cohosh.  Unlike estrogen, black cohosh does not stimulate breast-cancer cells growing in a test tube.11,12,13 However, black cohosh has not yet been subjected to large-scale studies similar to those conducted for estrogen. For this reason, safety for those with previous breast cancer is not known. Also, because of potential hormonal activity, black cohosh is not recommended for adolescents or pregnant or nursing women.  Black cohosh has been found to slightly lower blood pressure and blood sugar in certain animals.14,15 For this reason, it's possible that the herb could interact with drugs for high blood pressure or diabetes, but
there are no reports of any such problems.  Safety in young children or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.    

I have found there site to err on the side of caution, sometimes with general cautions... what I like about there site is their material is cited.

My concern for you would be the drug of choice, Tamoxifen use has been linked to uterine cancer saving you from possible recurrence of breast cancer (not totally guaranteed) and threatening you with another cancer.  Tamoxifen has also been linked to high trigyceride levels.  But only you and your doctor can chose the correct course of action against your disease.

I would sugget immune modulating, potentiating, building herbs such as astragalus, medicinal mushrooms, echinacea, etc. and adatptogens to deal with stress such as ginseng, licorice etc.  Another great formula for cancer is called Fu Zheng, it boosts the immune system, has adaptogens and combats the side effects of cancer and its treatments, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
End of Answer

This is a download from the National Cancer Institute...

Their Date reviewed: 03/05/2001

Questions and Answers About Tamoxifen

What is tamoxifen?
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is a medication in pill form that interferes with the activity of estrogen (a hormone). Tamoxifen has been used for more than 20 years to treat patients with advanced breast cancer. It is used as adjuvant, or additional, therapy following primary treatment for early stage breast cancer. In women at high risk of developing breast cancer, tamoxifen reduces the chance of developing the disease. Tamoxifen continues to be studied for the prevention of breast cancer. It is also being studied in the treatment of several other types of cancer. It is important to note that tamoxifen is also used to treat men with breast cancer.

How does tamoxifen work on breast cancer?
Estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells. Tamoxifen works against the effects of estrogen on these cells. It is often called an "anti-estrogen." As a treatment for breast cancer, the drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells that are present in the body. As adjuvant therapy, tamoxifen helps prevent the original breast cancer from returning and also helps prevent the development of new cancers in the other breast.

Are there other beneficial effects of tamoxifen?
While tamoxifen acts against the effects of estrogen in breast tissue, it acts like estrogen in other tissue. This means that women who take tamoxifen may derive many of the beneficial effects of menopausal estrogen replacement therapy, such as lower blood cholesterol and slower bone loss (osteoporosis).

Can tamoxifen prevent breast cancer?
Research has shown that when tamoxifen is used as adjuvant therapy for early stage breast cancer, it reduces the risk of recurrence of the original cancer and also reduces the risk of developing new cancers in the other breast. Based on these findings, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded a large research study to determine the usefulness of tamoxifen in preventing breast cancer in women who have an increased risk of developing the disease. This study, known as the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT), was conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), a component of the NCI’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program. This study found a 49 percent reduction in diagnoses of invasive breast cancer among women who took tamoxifen. Women who took tamoxifen also had 50 percent fewer diagnoses of noninvasive breast tumors, such as ductal or lobular carcinoma in situ. However, there are risks associated with tamoxifen. Some are even life threatening. The decision to take
tamoxifen is an individual one: The woman and her doctor must carefully consider the benefits and risks of therapy.

Women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer have the option to consider taking tamoxifen to reduce their chance of developing this disease. They may also consider participating in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (see question 5).

At this time, there is no evidence that tamoxifen is beneficial for women who do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

What is the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR), and how can a woman learn more about it?
The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) is a clinical trial (a research study conducted with people) designed to see whether the osteoporosis drug raloxifene (Evista®) is more or less effective than tamoxifen in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer in women who are at an increased risk of developing the disease Raloxifene may have breast cancer risk reduction properties similar to those found in tamoxifen. This study will also examine whether raloxifene has benefits over tamoxifen, such as fewer side effects.

The STAR trial, which began in June 1999, is being conducted by the NSABP. It will involve about 22,000 postmenopausal women who are at least 35 years old and are at increased risk for developing breast cancer.

Women can learn more about the STAR trial in several ways. They can call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237). The number for deaf and hard of hearing callers with TTY equipment is 1–800–332–8615. Information is also available on NSABP’s Web site at http://www.nsabp.pitt.edu or NCI’s cancerTrials™ Web site at http://cancertrials.nci.nih.gov on the Internet.

What are some of the more common side effects of taking tamoxifen?
In general, the side effects of tamoxifen are similar to some of the symptoms of menopause. The most common side effects are hot flashes and vaginal discharge. Some women experience irregular menstrual periods, headaches, fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting, vaginal dryness or itching, irritation of the skin around the vagina, and skin rash. As is the case with menopause, not all women who take tamoxifen have these symptoms. Men who take tamoxifen may experience headaches, nausea and/or vomiting, skin rash, impotence, or a decrease in sexual interest.

Does tamoxifen cause uterine cancer?
The BCPT found that women taking tamoxifen had more than twice the chance of developing uterine cancer compared with women who took a placebo (an inactive substance that looks the same as, and is administered in the same way as, tamoxifen). The risk of uterine cancer in women taking tamoxifen was in the same range as (or less than) the risk in postmenopausal women taking single-agent estrogen replacement therapy. Additional studies are under way to define more clearly the role of other risk factors for uterine cancer, such as prior hormone use, in women receiving tamoxifen.

Most of the uterine cancers that have occurred during studies of women taking tamoxifen have been found in the early stages, and treatment was usually effective. However, tamoxifen was life threatening for some breast cancer patients who developed uterine cancer while taking tamoxifen.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal (pelvic) pain are two symptoms of uterine cancer. Women who are taking tamoxifen should talk with their doctor about having regular pelvic examinations, and should also be checked promptly if they have any abnormal vaginal bleeding between scheduled exams.

Does tamoxifen cause blood clots or stroke?
Data from large treatment studies suggest that there is a small increase in the number of blood clots in women taking tamoxifen, particularly in women who are receiving anticancer drugs (chemotherapy) along with tamoxifen. The total number of women who have experienced this side effect is small. The risk of having a blood clot due to tamoxifen is similar to the risk of a blood clot when taking estrogen replacement therapy.

Women in the BCPT who took tamoxifen also had an increased chance of developing blood clots and an increased chance of stroke.

Does tamoxifen cause eye problems?
As women age, they are more likely to develop cataracts (a clouding of the lens inside the eye). Women taking tamoxifen appear to be at increased risk for developing cataracts. Other eye problems, such as corneal scarring or retinal changes, have been reported in a few patients.

Does tamoxifen cause other types of cancer?
Although tamoxifen can cause liver cancer in particular strains of rats, it is not known to cause liver cancer in humans. It is clear, however, that tamoxifen can sometimes cause other liver toxicities in patients, which can be severe or life threatening. Doctors may order blood tests from time to time to check liver function.

One study suggested a possible increase in cancers of the digestive tract among women receiving tamoxifen for breast cancer. Other trials, including the BCPT, have not shown an association between tamoxifen and these cancers.

Studies such as the BCPT show no increase in cancers other than uterine cancer. This potential risk is being evaluated.

Should women taking tamoxifen avoid pregnancy?
Yes. Tamoxifen may make premenopausal women more fertile, but doctors advise women on tamoxifen to avoid pregnancy because animal studies have suggested that the use of tamoxifen in pregnancy can cause fetal harm. Women who have questions about fertility, birth control, or pregnancy should discuss their concerns with their doctor.

Does tamoxifen cause a woman to begin menopause?
Tamoxifen does not cause a woman to begin menopause, although it can cause some symptoms that are similar to those that may occur during menopause. In most premenopausal women taking tamoxifen, the ovaries continue to act normally and produce estrogen in the same or slightly increased amounts.

Do the benefits of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer outweigh its risks?
The benefits of tamoxifen as a treatment for breast cancer are firmly established and far outweigh the potential risks. Patients who are concerned about the risks and benefits of tamoxifen or any other medications are encouraged to discuss these concerns with their doctor.

How long should a patient take tamoxifen for the treatment of breast cancer?
Patients with advanced breast cancer may take tamoxifen for varying lengths of time, depending on their response to this treatment and other factors. When used as adjuvant therapy for early stage breast cancer, tamoxifen is generally prescribed for 5 years. However, the ideal length of treatment with tamoxifen is not known.

Two studies have confirmed the benefit of taking adjuvant tamoxifen daily for 5 years. These studies compared 5 years of treatment with tamoxifen with 10 years of treatment. When taken for 5 years, the drug reduces the risk of recurrence of the original breast cancer and also reduces the risk of developing a second primary cancer in the other breast. Taking tamoxifen for longer than 5 years is not more effective than 5 years of therapy.

Sources of National Cancer Institute Information

Cancer Information Service
Toll-free: 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237)
TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers): 1–800–332–8615

NCI Online
Use http://cancer.gov to reach NCI's Web site.

CancerMail Service
To obtain a contents list, send e-mail to cancermail@cips.nci.nih.gov with the word "help" in the body of the message.

CancerFax® fax on demand service
Dial 1–800–624–2511 or 301–402–5874 and follow the voice-prompt instructions. 

  Thank you for this resource.  Would you by any chance know of any mouthwash-sort of preparation which could be used by people undergoing chemotherapy, when they ahve mouth ulcers, to relieve the intense discomfort?  My mother had some such preparation when she was on chemo and she felt it really helped her a lot, and now she has several friends who are undergoing chemo, who have the same problem, but she doesn't remember how or where she got what she had.  Thanks for any assistance or guidance you can give.

ANSWER:  From a great book on cancer, Herbal Medicine Healing and Cancer, by Donnie Yance.   He suggests the following mixture.

30 ml Aloe Leaf Concentrate
30 ml Glycerin
15 ml Licorice extract
15 ml Propolis extract
10 ml Collinsonia extract
10 ml Echinacea extract
5  ml Chamomile extract
5  ml Thuja extract
5-10 drops of Clove essential oil.
Suggested dose is 60 drops of above mixture to 1-2 tablespoons of warm saltwater rinse, it can be used every couple of hours.  All the above extracts are alcohol based.

A product we carry in our practice is called Tooth and Gum tonic, it is a great herbal rinse.

A thick tea of plantain, licorice, slippery elm and calendula would be soothing and tasty, make a tea of calendula flowers, licorice root and plantain leaves, strain herbs out, let cool then add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of powdered Slippery Elm (if you cannot find Slippery Elm use powdered Marsmallow root) to each 8 ounces of liquid.  Then let the mixture sit until slightly thickened.  Slosh around mouth for a couple of minutes then swallow.

Where can I find information on Drachasha,Chavana or Prash.I am being
treated for stomach cancer,and have been solicited to buy these as a
legal substitute for Cannabis. I cannot find any material on these Herbs.

ANSWER: I am not sure by what you me "legal substitute for Cannabis".  In the
Cannabaceae family there are only two members that I am aware of:

Hops, Latin Named Humulus lupulus
Marijuana, Latin Named Cannabis sativa

"Drachasha" I cannot find any information on this one.  Please provide me
more information to go on.  Do you have the spelling correct?  Can you
provide manufacturer's name or ingredients list, latin names would be best
for plants.

"Chavana or Prash" is probably Chyavan Prash or Chyvanaprash an Ayurveda
formula that is made from mostly Amla fruit, Latin Named: Emblic Myrobalan
(50% or more) plus many other herbs 20 to 30 which is usually made in a base
of Sucanat sugar, Herbal ghee and Honey.   It is traditionally given in India
for chronic conditions not sure how it relates to your question on Cannibus.

The term "Ayurveda" comes from the Sanskrit words "ayur" (life) and "veda"
(knowledge). Ayurveda's 5 to 6,000-year-old healing techniques are based on
the classification of people into one of three predominant body types called
Doshas and is reported to be one of the earliest forms of herbal medicine.

If you are being solicited by someone to buy these product, it is well for
you to question this person, get all the information you can on the products
and manufacturers.   If you can provide more on the Drachasha I would be
interested in knowing what it is and then may be able to voice an opinion.


I am to begin chemo for colon cancer very soon. I intend to take natural remedies also. I have read about Pau D Arco, and it's wonderful action re cancers.  Is there something else that is as effective, but less costly to use for  fighting cancer? 

ANSWER: We have found great success with a TCM herbal combination called Fu Zheng for fighting the adverse actions and side effects associated with Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy. See the question on Breast Cancer for details behind this formula.

For Cancer use medicinal mushrooms, they help bring a weakened immune system back to normal to fight the cancer.

Medicinal Mushroom are used as an amphoteric to the immune system. Amphoteric herbs normalize function, so if it is overreacting they calm, if it is underreacting they stimulate. This classification is not found in western medicine only in the herbal realm. 
The medicinal mushrooms in use today are Chaga, Maitake, Shitake and Reishi (Gano derma). Additionally a non mushroom the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herb Astragalus is also amphoteric to the immune system.

Astragulus, Yellow Leader, TCM named: Huang Qi, Latin Name: Astragulus membrananceus - immune amphoteric 

Chaga, Birch conch, Latin Name: Inonotus obliguus - immune amphoteric

Maitake, Hen of the Wood's, Latin Name: Grifola frondulosa or Lentinula elodes

Reishi mushrooms TCM named: Lang Chih \Ling Ja\, Latin Name: Ganoderma lucidum(Red-best- on oaks), G. sinensis(black), G applinatum(huge artist conch), G. Tsugae(grows on hemlock tree), G. oreganensis

In addition 

Licorice root, TCM named: Gan Cao, Latin Named: Glycorrhiza uralensis has been traditionally used as an immune amphoteric herb.

Finally alterative herbs have been used to treat Cancer, they help the body eliminate wastes via all the pathways available. The Hoxy or Essiac Formulas are some classic anticancer alterative based formulas.

You may want to increase elimination using Alterative herbs: barberry, oregan grape, red clover, cleavers, poke, alder, etc. 

One final idea, an herb which is good for the bowels is Slippery Elm and will coat the lining of the bowels to help sooth the tissue. It is also nutritive. As a second choice Marshmallow will do the same.