t’s not just the cancer medication that most people are worried about, as far as the side-effects are concerned. They are all sorts of medication synthesized by the pharmaceutical companies that come with plethora of chemicals in them and can cause other sicknesses in the process of curing. Therefore, this crisis among the pharmaceutical companies caused due to the lack of minimizing the side-effects of the medication has led to the popularity of the herbal approach or alternative medication.
Cancer as a whole has been one of the most dreaded diseases. And even moving deeper, one of the most prevalent cancers is the breast cancer, which has been at its high this year. Hence, the demand for alternative medication, including herbal remedy for the breast cancer has been getting higher day by day.
Is herbal remedy for breast cancer efficient?
There remains a limited scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of natural therapies including herbal remedies. One of the websites regarding the same reported, “the potential for interactions of herbal with conventional medications, consumption of high dose with consequent adverse effect and the limited, insufficient data concerning the possible hazards of herbal consumption, pose serious public health issues.”
Herbal Treatment and Breast Cancer
Among Complementary and alternative medicines, herbal medicine is the most commonly used group of treatment. Some biological response modifiers, derivatives of herbs, are recognized to hinder the growth of cancer by modifying the activity of precise hormones and enzymes, while other herbs diminish lethal side effects and complications of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Moreover, phytoconstituents resulting from the herbs such as Vinca rosea, Taxus species, Allium sativum,Aloe vera, Angelica sinensis, Astragals membranaceus, Glycine max, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Hordeum vulgare, Hydrocotyle asiatica, Medicago sativa, Morinda citrifolia, Panax pseudoginseng, Saussurea lappa, Taxus wallichiana, Tinospora cordifolia, Viscum album, Withania somnifera, Zingiber officinale etc. have been used in numerous preparations to improve function of the body’s immune cells that stimulates production of cytokines including interleukin, interferon, tumor necrosis factor as well as colony stimulating factor. These preparations assist the body to battle cancer more efficiently and also decrease the harmful side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Herbs That Can Be Used For Fighting Breast Cancer
Studies have found that Echinacea purpurea increases the amount of natural killer cells in the experimental mice and suggested that E. purpurea could be a possible treatment for anti-tumor therapy in the future.
Glycyrrhizin is a chief constituent of licorice root and is a sweet tasting triterpenoid saponin. The dried roots and underground stems of the plant are used in herbal remedies. Glycyrrhizin along with its aglycone and glycyrrhetinic acid have also been stated to encourage activity of interferon, supplement the movement of natural killer cells and modulate the growth response of lymphocytes through augmentation of IL-2 production. Experimental studies have recognized number of substances in licorice that may help avert DNA mutations, reduce tumor development, or even destroy cancer cells including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia cells.
Two species of cat’s claw, Uncaria guianesis and U. tomentosa have also gained much attention particularly in the West because of their immune-stimulant properties as they contain a rich source of phytochemicals with more than 30 known constituents including at least 17 alkaloids, along with glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterol fractions, and other compounds found in the root and stalk bark.
Garlic encompasses hundred or more biologically beneficial secondary metabolites, such as alliin, alliinase, allicin etc. Allicin is a predecessor to numerous sulphur comprising compounds that are accountable for the taste, aroma as well as its pharmacological properties. The antitumor property of Garlic is attributed to its high level of a wide-ranging diversity of organic sulfides and polysulfide’s. It is known to augment action of the immune system by activating lymphocytes and macrophages to kill cancer cells.
Flaxseed contains a rich supply of lignans. Mammalian lignans appear to be anti-carcinogenic because lignan metabolites hold a structural resemblance to estrogens and can attach to estrogen receptors to hinder the development of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer. In women with breast cancer urinary excretion of lignans is reduced, while the intake of flaxseed powder enhances urinary concentration of lignans by many folds.
Turmeric imparts a rich yellow color to food. Turmeric’s anti-mutagenic action as well as cancer inhibition activity is attributed to its phenolic constituents. It has been shown to curb the progress of breast, lung, stomach and skin malignancies. Its antioxidant curcumin, has been shown to be a successful anti-inflammatory agent in humans and slows down the development of cancer by averting the production of toxic eicosanoid such as PGE-2.
Burdock is used in oncology as well as in many other serious health problems. It comprises of some powerful anticancer features that averts mutations in the oncogenes. It has been used in the management of breast cancer, ovary, bladder, malignant melanoma, lymphoma and cancers of the pancreas. Studies document that it decreases the size of tumor, ease the pain and prolongs the survival phase.
Polyphenolics in green tea (Camellia sinensis) are also recognized to have anti-mutagenic and anti-cancer actions. The most abundant polyphenol in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) which has also been the focus of pre-clinical and clinical research in a variety of health settings. Tea polyphenols have also been shown to inhibit tumor cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in laboratory and animal studies while in other studies, tea catechins have shown to inhibit angiogenesis and tumor cell invasiveness as well as modulate immune system function.
The dried roots of Ginseng are used in traditional medicines to treat a variety of conditions, including cancer. Constituents of ginseng have been shown to inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor in mouse skin, inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells in animal models, inhibit cell proliferation, induce differentiation, and stimulate interferon levels. Other tumor cell processes may also be interfered with by ginseng constituents.
Dandelion or Taraxacum officinale, has a history of use in Chinese, Arabian and Native American traditional medicine, to treat a variety of diseases including cancer. To date, however, very few studies have been reported on the anti-carcinogenic activity of Dandelion.