BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
QUESTION: I was
browsing your site and had some questions. Is it safe to
take Essiac for somebody with breast cancer that is
hormone recepective and with positive lymph nodes? Also
I have read that it helps but one study that says it
might increase the growth of cancer cells which I donít
think is true have you heard about that?
I don't think there is a shred of solid scientific
evidence that Essiac does increase growth of cancer
cells. Neither have I seen much proof outside of
information from manufacturers that it improves outcomes
for cancer patients. The herbs are safe enough, hormone
sensitive cancer or otherwise. The herbs are what
herbalists call alteratives; that is, they alter long
standing conditions of disease through
gentle, nonspecific cleansing effects. This happens, we
believe, mainly via liver, kidney, and immune function,
and it commonly happens over a long time.
Here's my opinion: If placebo works in
clinical trials 30% of the time, and we have discovered
that a positive attitude and confidence improves cancer
outcomes, people who have a firm belief in Essiac may
indeed do better when they take it.
I may hear all kinds of passionate rebuttals
from Essiac fans. I would prefer to hear from clinical
researchers if there is positive evidence from human
trials that I have inadvertently missed.