The role of natural products in cancer cure has been understood by modern science to be restricted to be prevention properties of fruits and vegetables. The presence of antioxidants in plants helps the body build immunity against cancer.
Cancer is a lifestyle disease and is said to be triggered by genetic triggers. The role of yoga, pranayama, meditation, tai chi, qi gong has also been seen to help cancer patients. These practices are now being mainstreamed in many cancer facilities across the globe.
While there are anecdotal claims by individuals of the role of certain herbs and herbal combinations to help cancer patients, scientific studies in most of these cases are restricted to animal trials. Curcumin found in turmeric spice is one such natural product where the weight of scientific evidence for this molecule’s anticancer properties is mounting. Human clinical trials will be required to finally validate this molecule’s anticancer properties.
Plants have been a source of most modern drugs. It will therefore be inappropriate to dismiss plants completely in the treatment of cancer. There is a huge amount of research effort worldwide in discovering new molecules for treating various cancers. Many of these studies are taking place on plants.
I have, in the course of my research on natural solutions of cancer looked at the medicinal properties of close to 100 plants that are claimed to possess anticancer properties in TCM, Ayurveda, and Tibetan medicine.
The world of plant medicine and natural solutions is vast and complex. There are no definitive answers to their role in treating cancer. Let me leave you with some scientific references.
Balachandran, P. & Govindarajan, R. (2005). Cancer—An ayurvedic perspective. Pharmacological Research, 51(1), 19–30.
Basnet, P. & Skalko-Basnet, N. (2011). Curcumin: An anti-inflammatory molecule from a curry spice on the path to cancer treatment. Molecules 16(6), 4567–4598.
Borins, M. (1998). The dangers of using herbs. Postgraduate Medicine, 104:1, 91–100; doi: 10.3810/pgm.1998.07.535.
Drew, A.K. & Myers, S.P. (1997). Safety issues in herbal medicine: Implications for the health professions. Medical Journal of Australia, 166(10), 538–541.
Hartwell, J.L. (1969) Plants used against cancer. A survey. Lloydia, 32, 78–107; 153–205; 247–96.
Balneaves, L.G., Wong, M.E., Porcino, A.J., et al. (2018). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information and support needs of Chinese-speaking cancer patients. Support Care Cancer 26(12), 4151–4159
Cassileth, B.R. & Deng, G. (2004). Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer. Oncologist 9(1), 80–89.
Natural Solutions for Cancer – Sudhir Ahluwalia