Milk Thistle Can Help Protect Cancer Patients

January 5, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health


I have often suggested to those undertaking chemotherapy that they talk to a homoeopath and get a remedy to protect them from the side effects of the chemotherapy and its effect on the immune system. There are several remedies available from places like the Ainsworths in London and the Galen Pharmacy in Dorset. They latter are happy to advise you by phone if you call them on 01305 263996 and they can then post a remedy out to you.

Now there is a new study out that offers hope for patients who suffer liver inflammation as a result of chemotherapy. A study recently published by the American Cancer Society indicates that the herb could be helpful in allowing patients to take potent doses of chemotherapy without damaging their liver.

Chemotherapy drugs frequently cause liver inflammation with the result that their dose of the drug must be reduced or stopped. Clinical studies have already established that the herb can be used to reduce damage from cirrhosis (from alcohol) or toxins (such as mushroom poisoning) but this is the first review to establish if it can be helpful in cancer patients.

Fifty children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and who all were suffering from liver inflammation, a common side effect of their chemotherapy, took part in a randomized, controlled, double blind study in New York. Half were given milk thistle and half a placebo and at the end of the trial period they performed liver function tests on all the children.

Those who were given milk thistle had improvements in their liver enzymes compared with children receiving a placebo. Taking milk thistle also seemed to help keep fewer patients from having to lower the dose of their medications: chemotherapy doses were reduced in 61 percent of the group receiving milk thistle, compared with 72 percent of the placebo group. In addition, milk thistle appeared to be safe for consumption. Also, the researchers found that milk thistle does not interfere with the cancer-fighting properties of chemotherapy.

For anyone dealing with liver toxicity, from whatever cause, it would seem to make sense to add this herb into any treatment regime.

Ginger root reduces chemotherapy nausea by 40 percent

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies


Ginger is an incredibly versatile spice; it’s recommended for travel and morning sickness and recent research showed it could also be used in the third world to inexpensively treat bacteria-induced diarrhoea, which is the leading cause of infant death in many countries. It is certainly a popular remedy for conditions as wide apart as arthritis and supporting the cardiovascular system, and certainly for treating stomach upsets. It eases stomach cramps, calms any upset and helps increase the amount of bile, for better digestion.

Now it seems there is proof in a study reported by the American Society of Clinical Oncology that it could also help with the nausea experienced by as many as 70% of patients after receiving chemotherapy. MLA University of Rochester Medical Center carried out a study by using ginger capsules, in conjunction with anti-nausea drugs, before their treatment on 644 cancer patients.The figures speak for themselves, with 40 percent of patients reporting much less severe and frequent attacks of nausea when they took the ginger supplement three days before they had their chemotherapy, and for three days afterwards. It’s important it is taken before the chemotherapy to allow the spice time to do it’s work in the body, it’s thought that it is the anti-inflammatory benefit of ginger is an important factor here in preparing the body to withstand the drugs onslaught. The recommended way to take it is in ginger supplements though some crytallised ginger or the odd slice of gingerbread won’t harm either.

This is the biggest study undertaken on this natural spice, and the first to investigate whether ginger could make a difference if taken before the chemotherapy occurs.

I have mentioned the various homoeopathic treatments available to help with the side effects of homoeopathy, but it is good to also have another option, and ginger certainly has a long pedigree in natural medicine as it has been in use by the Chinese for over 2,500 years.

Simple fasting can reduce chemotherapy effects

May 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Natural Medicine

It is one of the basic tenets of naturopathy that regular fasting will aid your body’s own natural defence systems to be activated as it is cleansed of toxins. It usually involves eating no solid food and drinking only water for periods from a day to a week or longer, but only under supervision, though some fasts may involve eating just fruit – usually grapes.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have just discovered a new benefit of fasting that is of huge interest to anyone undergoing chemotherapy. Whilst undertaking anti-ageing research they discovered that certain stressors activate a protective “shield mode” in healthy cells.

What stresses the body most? Certainly being starved is one of the major ones and what the US researchers are suggesting is that if cancer patients fast for two days before chemotherapy that may set in motion a protective reaction in healthy cells, guarding them from some of the more unpleasant and toxic side effects. Cancer patients are often given drugs like Procrit to prevent such side effects so this more natural method would certainly be worth trying.

Also, although it is not ‘news’ as such, it might be worth reminding you that homeopathy also has a lot to offer here. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments for cancer can have significant side effects and homoeopathy has been shown to be useful in terms of emotional support, reduction of anxiety and depression and in the treatment of the side effects from chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Remedies for various treatments for cancer can be obtained from a homoepathic practitioner or by mail order from Ainsworth’s in Wigmore Street in London or from Galen, a practice I use in Dorchester, who make their own tablets and have a good free advice service. If you want to contact them ring 01305 263996.