St. John’s Wort is known as Nature’s anti-depressant. It is often used to treat depression and anxiety. It functions as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). This allows more serotonin to stay where it’s needed to keep you feeling less depressed and anxious. This herb is also used to help quit smoking. St. John’s work possesses antiviral properties and can be used externally to treat wounds.
Cancer patients who choose alternative treatments instead of conventional treatments believe themselves less likely to die than patients who choose only conventional treatments. They feel a greater sense of control over their destinies, and report less anxiety and depression. They are more likely to engage in benefit finding, which is the psychological process of adapting to a traumatic situation and deciding that the trauma was valuable, usually because of perceived personal and spiritual growth during the crisis.
Most studies of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of cancer pain are of low quality in terms of scientific evidence. Studies of massage therapy have produced mixed results, but overall show some temporary benefit for reducing pain, anxiety, and depression and a very low risk of harm, unless the patient is at risk for bleeding disorders. There is weak evidence for a modest benefit from hypnosis, supportive psychotherapy and cognitive therapy. Results about Reiki and touch therapy were inconclusive. The most studied such treatment, acupuncture, has demonstrated no benefit as an adjunct analgesic in cancer pain. The evidence for music therapy is equivocal, and some herbal interventions such as PC-SPES, mistletoe, and saw palmetto are known to be toxic to some cancer patients. The most promising evidence, though still weak, is for mind–body interventions such as biofeedback and relaxation techniques.
Scientists don’t know for sure. Since chemotherapy and radiation kill cells that divide often, stem cells may be less vulnerable because they rarely divide. Some scientists believe cancer stem cells may have genetic mutations that make them resistant to damage from chemotherapy or radiation, or cancer stem cells may be able to repair DNA damage more rapidly than normal cells.
While scientific research in this field is lacking, and most positive information is based on experience from patients, there has been some study into the effects of IPT. In an article appearing in the European Journal of Cancer and Clinical Oncology, Vol. 17, 1981, Alabaster et al. of the Cancer Research Laboratory, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. have published experimental results showing that insulin increases the cytotoxic effect of methotrexate in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells in vitro by a factor of up to ten thousand.
Iscador, also known as Mistletoe therapy (or Viscum album, Viscum album Loranthaceae, and European Mistletoe), is a proprietary formulation manufactured by Swiss medical company, Weleda. The use of mistletoe was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner, and was popularized in Europe, specifically Switzerland and Germany. Today, up to 60% of cancer patients in these European nations receive Iscador injections as part of their cancer treatment. The specialized therapy utilizes a purified mistletoe extract to kill cancer cells and simultaneously stimulate the immune system. One article from the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine notes:
Native Americans used black cherry as a medicinal herb to treat coughs. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. This substance quells spasms in the smooth muscles of the bronchioles, thus reducing the cough reflex.
You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of bromelain. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.
However, patients who use alternative treatments have a poorer survival time, even after controlling for type and stage of disease. In 2017, researchers at Yale School of Medicine published a paper which suggested that people who choose alternative medicine over conventional cancer treatments were more than twice as likely to die within five years of diagnosis. And specifically, in those with breast cancer, people choosing alternative medicine were 5.68 times more likely to die within five years.