Some of the most shattering words we can hear in life are probably “You have cancer”.
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may save your life but they are also known to cause side effects that range from mild to severe symptoms of, amongst others, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, cataracts, diarrhea, memory and/or speech loss, headaches, etc.
Though there are insufficient (human) clinical trials and research done on herbal treatments (and patients are recommended not to use these while in treatment), herbal medicines can act as a complementary therapy easing cancer symptoms and relieving side effects. However, these treatments should be discussed with each person’s doctor as some herbs can prevent chemotherapy and radiation therapy from killing cancer cells. Certain herbs enhance the effect of chemotherapy in a toxic way that leads to unwanted side effects.
Positive research suggests herbs may help
- Boost the immune system
- Ease cancer symptoms
- Reduce treatment side effects
- Slow cancer spreading (metastasis)
- Attack cancer cells
With its high levels of antioxidants, Rooibos has long been known for its ability to help prevent cancer from developing, but new research shows that it could potentially also be used to treat – but not cure – the disease.
- Rooibos slows down the development of cancerous skin lesions.
- The complex mixture of polyphenols in Rooibos may help protect against free radicals. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage the DNA in cells, leading to cancer.)
- These free radicals can also oxidize cholesterol, leading to clogged blood vessels, heart attack and stroke. The antioxidants in Rooibos can neutralize these free radicals and help to limit their impact.
- Rooibos may prevent the healthy cell from undergoing mutagenesis (by binding free radicals, increasing the antioxidant capacity of the liver and helping the liver to cope with carcinogens).
- Rooibos may prevent a cell with damaged DNA from becoming a cancerous cell.
- Rooibos may prevent cancerous cells from multiplying and forming a cancerous tumor.
- Many of these findings require more research before specific recommendations about the use of Rooibos can be made, and therefore several research groups around the world are currently working on Rooibos (www.sarooibos.co.za)
The most important connection found with cancer was the observation that rats given Rooibos tea as the only source of liquid showed a 500% increase in the master antioxidant, glutathione in the liver. Made within the body, glutathione cannot be taken as a supplement as it is destroyed in the gut. There is ample evidence that glutathione fights cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. For instance, glutathione can bind to the carcinogen aflatoxin, neutralize it so that it cannot bind to DNA and then facilitate the excretion of the glutathione- aflatoxin complex. (Life is Beautiful).
New research, presented recently at the Cancer Association of South Africa’s Research in Action Conference, showed that rooibos and honeybush both have anti-cancer properties that may be useful in the treatment of prostate and breast cancer. These are the two most common cancers affecting South Africans. One in every 26 men will be affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime, while one in every 33 women will develop breast cancer, according to the latest data from the National Cancer Registry.
Herbs and Carmién herbal teas that assist with side effects
Nausea or vomiting: Ginger, Peppermint, Chamomile – Restore, Cleanse
Appetite loss: Lemon Balm, Siberian Ginseng – Restore
Diarrhea: Chamomile, Marshmallow Root – Relax
Constipation: Fenugreek, Senna – Cleanse, Nursing
Skin irritation: Calendula, Panax Ginseng – Restore
Herbs and Carmién herbal teas that relieve symptoms
Pain: Curcumin/Turmeric – Focus, Citrus Chai
Coughing: Black Cohosh – Meno
Anxiety or stress: Passionflower – Calm
Sleeplessness or insomnia: Passionflower, Chamomile – Calm, Relax