herbs and natural supplements for breast cancer

A returning patient called me yesterday. She was a breast cancer survivor when I saying her as a student intern in Chinese medical school. If I had been added confident at the age, I would accept suggested she be diligent in preventing a recurrence of breast cancer, and explained how she might advance that with Chinese medicine.

Even if I had, however, she might not accept followed my advice, as Chinese medicine’s credibility has yet to grasp up with its sophistication, efficacy, and research.

It’s able-bodied accepted that acupuncture can advice with palliative strategies in cancer- for affliction relief, itching relief, and nausea. The topic examined less generally is: can Chinese medicine action cancer directly? Abounding acupuncture teachers and practitioners warn us not to claim that it can – they suggest there’s some constitution against us treating cancer, and you can beam how reactive conservative doctors might be to the abstraction. They are accustomed to having ascendancy of the treatment of all cancer, regardless of whether they can advice alone patients, or how much damage their therapies statement. Still, there is research and a clinical track document that suggests Chinese medicine can accomplish added than aloof lessen discomforts.

I can’t resolve all by myself in this short space the political issues and ethical issues of alternative medical treatment. But, I suggest that if a patient who refuses conventional treatment, then their alternative practitioners should acquisition out everything they can and accomplish all they can to advice the patient recover, or at least alter to added comfortable.

Even in my baby alternative medicine library, I accept 2 books on Chinese herbs for cancer, and a third that summarizes the research on accustomed compounds used in cancer therapy. On PubMed, I activate even added scientific references about herbs and breast cancer specifically. It’s not the position that there isn’t research on this topic. Instead, as with much Chinese medicine research, the advice is either foreigner, or unused by Western physicians. What follows is a short summary of the scientific advice I activate (in less than an hour) on alternative medicine and breast cancer. At the borderline, I’ve provided some herbal formulas for practitioners.

Human Studies on Accustomed Compounds for Cancer Therapy:
John Boik, MacOM, LAc has contributed a heavy assignment called Accustomed Compounds in Cancer Therapy (Oregon Medical Press, 2001). It not alone reviews hundreds of scientific references, but again explains abounding specific cancer disease processes. The following human studies are pinched from that book, but their specific references are again included.

Scientific research is done either in vitro (analysis tube), in animals, or in humans. Alive that any non-human research is easily discounted by skeptics, I’ve chosen alone the human studies. However, the other studies are again absorbing and accessible, so if you appetite added, amuse Boik’s book. All of the following are specific for breast cancer.

6 Bromelain tablets for 10 days corrected deficient macrophage action. (1)
Vitamin C was activate to not necessarily acceptable for breast cancer and may actually accept accelerated some patients’ deaths, but those who lived had fewer recurrences. (2,3)
Eleuthrococcus stimulated the unsusceptible system in breast cancer patients. (4)
Higher levels of fat intake in breast cancer patients was associated with increased risks of recurrence and afterlife. (5)
In post mastectomy breast cancer patients, there were higher survival rates among those who took enzymes. (6)
Enzyme therapy again improved weight accretion, tiredness, depression and affection of action. (6)
A diet of 20% fish oil (24g/kg) improved the anti-tumor aftereffect of the chemotherapy drug mitomycin due to enhanced lipid peroxidation. [This was a combined human/animal study where human cells were studied after transplantation to an animal] (7)
Vitamin D3 helps chemotherapy drugs assignment bigger. (8)

Chinese herbs for Breast Cancer

I accept access to three sources for Chinese herbs and breast cancer. One is a book called Anticancer Chinese Drugs by Lien & Li, which surveys added than 120 plants used to treat cancer, and examines the chemical structure and effects of alone compounds from those plants. Below are 4 compounds from this book specifically for breast cancer. Unfortunately, none of these are among the 500 or so accepted Chinese herbs referred to in the standard reference, Materia Medica, by Bensky & Barolet. Note that there are closer to 12,000 substances called herbs used here and there in Chinese medicine.

Labiatae I. longitubis inhibits br ca cells in vitro (Lien/Li, 10).
Maytansine (from maytanus oratus, serrata, buchananii, and hookeri) prevents polymerization of tubulin to microtubules (ibid, 85). (9)
9-hydroxy-2-methyl-ellipticinum (from ochrosia moorei and borbonica) has therapeutic amount in advanced breast cancer (ibid, 78). (10)

In phase III clinical trials, VP-16 (from podophyllum berberidaceae) has caused responses in a figure of cancers including breast cancer (ibid, 60). (11)

Added Science:

A abrupt search of PubMed for added research on herbs for breast cancer yielded 4 absorbing results:

Huang lian (coptis) inhibited tumor advance (gastric, colon, breast)… “These results indicate that traditional Chinese herbs may act as a advanced source of agents designed for selective inhibition of cyclin dependent kinases in cancer therapy.” (12)

Hemsleya amabilis extract significantly inhibited tumor cell advance and colony formation and promoted tumor cell afterlife.(13)

Triptolide (TPL), a diterpenoid triepoxide purified from the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F, in vitro inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of tumor cells and the antitumor aftereffect of TPL was comparable or superior with that of conventional antitumor drugs, such as Adriamycin, mitomycin, and cisplatin. (14)

Huang qi root specifically inhibits gastric cancer cells advance in vitro – its mechanism is mainly inhibition of cancer cell advance, not attacking or dismantling of existing cancer cells. (15)

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Breast Cancer (For Practitioner Reference)

My final source is a book called Treating Cancer with Chinese Herbs (Hsu, Ohai Press, 1990). This book is mainly for practitioners to apprentice from and statement. It is not scientifically referenced – of course, some Chinese physicians and writers are not accepted with the Western insistence on always quoting your sources, so some of this advice may accept science behind it. We aloof can’t acquaint from Hsu’s book. But here’s a suggestion patients can ace shot at at ease:

Combine the extract of 90g of fresh asparagus (or 30g peeled) with chicken wine (a traditional Chinese wine fabricated from rice) once a day.


1.Eckert K, Grabowska E, Stange R, et al. Effects of spoken bromelain administrations on the impaired immunocytoxicity of mononuclear cells from mammary tumors. Oncol Rep 1999 Nov-Dec; 6(6):1191-9.
2.Poulter JM, Achromatic WF, Dickerson JW. Ascorbic acid supplementation and five year survival rates in women with breast cancer. Acta Vitaminol Enzymol 1984; 6(3):175-82.
3.Murata A, Morishige F, Yamaguchi H. Prolongation of survival times of terminal cancer patients by administration of ample doses of ascorbate. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl 1982; 23:103-13.
4.Kupin VI, Polevaia EB. [Stimulation of the immunological reactivity of cancer patients by Eleuthrococcus extract.] Vopr Onkol 1986; 32(7):21-6.
5.Saxe GA, Rock CL, Wisha MS, Schottenfield D. Diet and risk for breast cancer recurrence and survival. Breast Cancer Res Treat 1999 Feb; 53(3):241-53.
6.Klaschka F. Spoken Enzymes in Oncology: Clinical studies on Wobe-MuGos. MUCOS Pharma GmbH, 1997. http://www.mucos.de
7.Shao Y, Pardini L, Pardini RS. Dietary menhaden oil enhances mitomycin C antitumor action toward human mammary carcinoma MX-1. Lipids 1995 Nov; 30(11):1035-45.
8.This refers to 7 studies, referenced in shorter style: Ravid A. Cancer Res 1999 Feb 15; 59(4):862-7. Studzinski GP. J Natl Cancer Inst 1986 Apr; 76(4):641-8. Moffatt KA. Clin Cancer Res 1999 Spoil; 5(3):695-703. Vink-van Wijngaarden T. Breast Cancer Res Treat 1994 Feb; 29(2):161-8. Saunders DE. Gynecol Oncol 1993 Nov; 51(2):155-9. Cho YL. Cancer Res 1991 Jun 1; 51(11):2848-53. Tanaka H. Clin Orthop 1989 Oct; (247):290-6.
9.There were promising Phase I trials on maytansine against breast cancer in the 1980’s, but phase II trials were disappointing.
10.Juret P, Heron JF, Couette JE, Delozier T, Le Talaer JY. Hydroxy-9-methyl-2-ellipticinium for osseous metastases from breast cancer: a 5-year acquaintance. Cancer Treat Rep. 1982 Nov; 66(11): 1909-16.
11.Slayton RE, Blessing JA, Delgado G. Phase II trial of etoposide in the management of advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Accumulation Study. Cancer Treat Rep. 1982 Aug; 66(8): 1669-71. No abstract available.
12.Li XK, Motwani M, Tong W, Bornmann W, Schwartz GK. Huanglian, A chinese herbal extract, inhibits cell advance by suppressing the expression of cyclin B1 and inhibiting CDC2 kinase action in human cancer cells. Mol Pharmacol. 2000 Dec; 58(6): 1287-93.
13.Wu J, Wu Y, Yang BB. Anticancer action of Hemsleya amabilis extract. Action Sci. 2002 Sep 20; 71(18): 2161-70.
14.Yang S, Chen J, Guo Z, Xu XM, Wang L, Pei XF, Yang J, Underhill CB, Zhang L. Triptolide inhibits the advance and metastasis of solid tumors. Mol Cancer Ther. 2003 Jan; 2(1): 65-72.
15.Lin J, Dong HF, Oppenheim JJ, Howard OM. Effects of astragali radix on the advance of altered cancer cell lines. Apple J Gastroenterol. 2003 Apr; 9(4): 670-3.

About the Author

Acupuncturist, herbalist, and medical professor Brian B. Carter founded the alternative health megasite The Pulse of Oriental Medicine (http://www.PulseMed.org/). He is the author of the book “Able Body, Peaceful Apperception: How to Cure Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure” (November, 2004). Brian speaks on radio across the country, and has been quoted and interviewed by Absolute Child’s play, Glamour, and ESPN magazines.

Originall posted April 3, 2012