Many people with cancer are interested in trying anything that may help them, including complementary and alternative cancer treatments. If cancer makes you feel as if you have little control over your health, alternative cancer treatments may offer some feeling of control. But many alternative cancer treatments are unproved and some may even be dangerous.
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:
Comfrey's use dates back centuries to at least the time of the ancient Greeks. During the Middle Ages comfrey was a widely cultivated herb found extensively in the gardens of monasteries. Throughout the 1700's and 1800's comfrey was also a popular herb grown in many gardens across Europe as well as America. Sometime during the late 1970's however research revealed that comfrey when taken internally can cause severe liver damage so it has lost popularity and internal use is even banned in many countries. Applications in the from of ointments, poultices, or creams are still considered safe though. Comfrey can still be found growing wild in central Europe, and the eastern United States as well as a few western states.
Stellaria media Common chickweed It has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions and pulmonary diseases. 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain.
A critical question is often asked: Why pursue the phenotypic reversion of malignancy? Surely it is better to look for more efficient methods of killing tumor cells? Tumors are remarkable creatures, possessed of manifold means to defeat the arsenal of therapeutics arrayed against them. Among other things, the genomic instability of tumors gives them a persistent evolutionary advantage, ensuring the survival of stronger, fitter, more aggressive cells that will go on to populate the body of their host. The approaches that have been taken show that it is possible to revert the malignant phenotype by the correction of environmental cues and by the normalization of signal transduction pathways even as the genome remains malignant and unstable. In this sense, the microenvironment can be dominant over the malignant genotype. It is of course preferable to eradicate the tumor altogether, but aggressive chemotherapy to eradicate a tumor often kills the host. The malleable nature of tumors would indicate that multiple approaches may be necessary. This raises the possibility of the long-term management of some cancers as a chronic condition in which the malignant potential of the tumor cells is constrained, perhaps for the lifetime of the patient.
There are two kinds of diabetes. People with type 1 must inject insulin into the body regularly. Using herbs or supplements may reduce the symptoms or side effects of type 1, but people should introduce these slowly, with careful medical supervision and monitoring of blood sugar. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. A person with this condition will always have to take some form of insulin.
My wife and I were waiting in one of the examination rooms that were used by the oncology department. It was in a very old part of the university medical complex and the walls between the examination rooms were not soundproof. We could hear a muffled conversation from the next room. Then there was a sudden increase in volume as the patient began to yell at the doctor. It has now been over eighteen years since I heard this man’s statement, and I doubt that I will ever forget it.
Verma, N., Meena, N. K., Majumdar, I., & Paul, J. (2017, December 30). Role of bromelain as herbal anti-inflammatory compound using in vitro and in vivo model of colitis. Journal of Autoimmune Disorders, 3(52). Retrieved from http://autoimmunediseases.imedpub.com/role-of-bromelain-as-herbal-antiinflammatory-compound-using-in-vitro-and-in-vivo-model-of-colitis.php?aid=21395
Another popular ingredient in the Indian spice rack, curry leaves help to stabilize blood glucose levels and impact carbohydrate metabolism. An Indian study published in International Journal of Development Research studied in detail the effects curry leaves have on diabetes type 2. According to the research data, curry leaves contain a phytochemical that can help control blood sugar level in patients with Diabetes type 2 by reducing fasting and postprandial blood sugar level. Diabetic rats given a dose of about 12gm /day for a month revealed that curry leaves may treat diabetes by influencing carbohydrate metabolism and improving liver and kidney function. Also, the amazing antioxidant properties of curry leaves can boost pancreatic cell production, thereby improving insulin function.
Mistletoe therapy is the most frequently used complementary treatment in cancer patients in Germany and Switzerland. Iscador was first used for cancer therapy in 1922 by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman based on anthroposophy. (Anthroposophical medicine views the occurrence of cancer, or any illness, as a disease that involves the whole human being, physically, mentally and emotionally.)
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.