Monday, November 28, 2011

Herbal Medicine and Cancer

Before I continue this essay, I want to share that what I share is not meant to be a substitute for seeking professional help or for a doctor prescribed therapy. I am not recommending any individual to ignore the council of the healers that they have chosen to care for them. That being said, I do believe that we have a right to decide which course of treatment is right for us and a right to refuse a treatment that does not feel correct for us. We are the ones ultimately responsible for our lives. What follows are my own notes about herbs and cancer. These notes are part of a work in progress and will most likely be revised, added to, and updated many times. I like to call them "pioneer" notes written on the journey itself with no guarantee that the journey will reach the place desired. Much of the pioneer notes are compilations of the notes of other pioneers.

There was apparently a study that found about 3,000 herbs that had anti-cancer properties. I found mention of the list on several sites. None of them placed the whole list online. Some of them seemed to have broken down the list into the key ingredients. It seems that the original study, which was more in alignment with allopathic (conventional) medicine, did not distinguish between the various functions that the herbs had. There are, for instance, primary active herbs and secondary support herbs. In the latter category, some of the herbs may balance some of the side effects of the primary herbs. For instance, although herbal medicine is usually very safe, some herbs are a little harsh feeling on the intestines and intestinal soothers can often make the herbal brew feel more pleasant when drunk. Some herbs help the detox process. Others will help the active healing elements reach the places that they need to go. Others will provide a subtle nutrition or tonification which is often needed when undergoing a healing crisis.

I noticed that several herbs seemed to recur on many websites as primary active herbs:

reishi mushroom

None of the sites mentioned any dosage level for these herbs, though I gathered that one could make them according to what would be appropriate per a cup of tea. Chaparral can be toxic on large amounts and I would recommend researching this for a safe dose and err on the side of less rather than more. It seems that a product called Kyolic, an extract of the active ingredient in garlic, may be superior to garlic or at least easier on the intestines and breath of people. I did notice that it comes in a liquid and powdered capsule form, with the powder having whey, a dairy product. This does not fit my vegan diet and may be a concern for others, especially when I ran across an article (that I hope to post on this blog) sharing how cancer has three stages, (1) presence of carcinogens, (2) cancer igniters, and (3) onset of cancer. We get a lot of carcinogens, since even cooking food produces some. But they do not generate cancer unless something ignites them. The researcher in the article only found two. One was animal products, including dairy and animal flesh, and the other was nicotine. It seems wise to be a vegan nonsmoker to have a cancer preventative lifestyle. It could be that whey is not a cancer igniter. The article did not detail what aspect of dairy was the issue. I found the article interesting, because it fit every experience I knew of cancer. There was even two exceptions that proved the rule of a friend who was vegan and only got cancerous tumors after being convinced to give up her vegan diet and another person who kept a vegan macrobiotic diet for over 10 years and was cancer free, but then decided it was too much discipline, ate differently, got cancer and died. It is unclear whether becoming vegan after the fact of getting cancer can help reverse the process. One friend pulled this off, but needed to other things too, like receiving energy healing treatments. There are probably other cancer igniters, too, but I suspect that the researcher found the most popular ones. I also met with some people who went through chemotherapy or tumor removing surgery who ended up getting a tumor regrowth later on. All of them were either on the standard carnivore diet or had a lacto-vegetarian diet. I must admit, by scientific standards, my sample size is very small and this data may not hold up when more and more cases are studied. But I thought I would mention this and maybe others can check along with me. One caveat about diet, though, is that it is hard to get accurate data about the diet profile of a person. I found that many people are unclear about what a vegan diet is. Some people think being vegetarian still allows fish and chicken. While others are called themselves vegan but make an exception for feta cheese or accidently let dairy slip in through the soy cheeses that still have casein in them or protein smoothies that have whey in them. Merely taking the word of someone for what their diet is does not quite work. I have found too many people who fudge on this. When it comes to this kind of study, it would need to be more precise than only using the subjective testimony of what people think they are eating (though it might be good to note what they think their diet is anyway).

There are some people, like Hulda Clark, who believe that Cancer is the result of micro-viruses or pathogens. These people recommend doing an anti-parasite protocol with:

golden seal
black walnut
grapefruit seed extract
oregon grape root

I think that there is something to this theory. I do find that such powerful anti-parasite brews can help knock out a lot of stuff. It needs to be combined with a person avoiding "cancer feeders" like sugar and maybe flour products in general (though the kind of healthy vegan diet that I recommend would do this automatically, using stevia in the place of carbohydrate based sugars). If the tumor is near the skin, a tincture can be rubbed on the skin near where the tumor is. There is some risk in this procedure, though, since there are different types of cancer and some tumors are benign and maybe should be left alone. I had a friend die of a cancer that was misdiagnosed. The doctors cut into the relatively benign tumor and made it spread all over the body so fast it killed her in about two weeks. I have not heard of an herbal tincture rub nearby doing anything bad though. It seems that usually an herbal brew either hits the mark or it does nothing good or bad. The anti-parasite brew is intense. If it does work, there is something called "die off" where it kills the pathogens and the parasite bodies become toxins that the person must flush out of the system. This phase can be rough to experience. If does happen, it is a good sign, but it requires that a person continue to use the anti-parasite brew for about one month to make sure any hidden parasite eggs do not hatch and start the problem all over again. There is a challenge, too, with this process, because sometimes the pathogen in question is a good hider and finds a place in the body where the herbal brew cannot reach. Some have found success adding caster oil rubs to force the pathogens from these hiding places. It is also possible to use "transport herbs" to bring the active potency to the locations where the pathogens are hiding. P'arco on the list is considered anti-cancer on some lists I found on the internet and is also a good one for handling candida overgrowth. It is the easiest of the herbs to handle in this category, yet it seems to do a lot of good things.

The list above is a compilation of several anti-parasite lists and protocols. Hulda Clark mainly used Wormwood, Clove, and Blackwalnut (tincture). I have found clove oil to be very powerful, though it is important that the purity of the oil be food grade (steam distilled rather than chemically extracted).

The following list are herbs that appeared in some lists and protocols for cancer:

green tea
slippery elm
bee propolis
codyceps sinesis

These seem to add well to the above formulas, though I would personally not use bee products because of being vegan. The status of insects in a vegan diet is mixed. Some people are calling themselves "begans" to indicate that they use honey and bee products. I do not think that bee products would ignite cancer like regular animal products, so as far as cancer is concerned either vegan or began is okay. I just think the poor bee has had a rough time lately and would like to give them a break. Even when their products are not used, they pollinate a lot of plants and do good service to life and humans.

Ginger on this list is probably a support herb that soothes the intestines, helps stuff move through the bloodstream, and transport the active herbs to where they are needed. I do not think it helps to directly fight the cancer, but I could be wrong. It is also a very good anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant, which may reduce cancer and other ailments by removing this basis for their existence inside us.

Turmeric is similar to ginger, but may be the most potent herbal anti-inflammatory.

Rosemary seems to be a Vitamin C reloader. This means that it allows us to use the Vitamin C we have about five times more than usual. This means we can get the benefits of Vitamin C with less acidity in our bloodstream. Cancer seems related to a more acidic internal environment.

Oregano seems to also have anti-parasite properties as well as many other good properties. I am less familiar with this herb and hope to learn more about it. The herb has come up quite a few times in a number of anti-cancer formulas.

Jalapenos and Cayenne are often on anti-cancer lists. They can be rough on the system, though, and person will need to see how well he or she is handling them. Since Hispanic culture uses them a lot in many recipes (and I sometimes go to a particular Mexican restaurant when I get a certain kind of flu and their salsa knocks it right out), people who like this kind of food may be more adapted to its use. I have noticed that many cultures have a certain kind of chili paste or curry that is very hot and this might do well too if you can handle it.

Ganoderma is one that I have not researched at all, but was on a few lists. I mention this one here so that anyone curious can follow through.

I added garlic again, because it recurred on a few lists. It seems it is both an active herb and a support herb.

These herbs were considered support herbs to the main active anti-cancer herbs. Notice that some of the herbs on this list have been mentioned in another context. Most herbs are multi-functional and so this is no surprise:

aloe vera

These herbs were found on some lists and I thought that they were worth listing here too:

saint johns wort
slippery elm
gingko (transport herb, especially for brain, increases blood oxygen)
grape seed extract
lemon balm (soother, like the mints, and also has some anti-cancer properties)
milk thistle (liver and kidney clease, anti-radiation)
sage (soother)
celery seed
oregano seed (also called ajwan)
mint (soothers)

Many of these are support herbs. Some are on other lists mentioned above. Sage is known as an intestinal soother. Celery seed seems to remove acidity from the body and may help to alkalize the system. Nettles can provide some nutrition and is high in chlorophyll and serotonin.

A note about Rosemary: It is very potent. You probably do not need for much of this. Even a few of its tiny leaves in a cup will do.

Finally, one last list which I thought interesting but have not fully researched at this time:

artemisia (wormword, but may suggest other members of the same family, like mugwort)
curcumin (may be like cayenne and ginger)

One possible brew:

chaparral (small dose because of possible toxicity)

lemon balm
celery seed
stevia (for sweetener and has some anti-cancer properties on one list)
oregano seed
green tea (or other forms of camellia sinesis)
cinnamon (small amount, creates a thickening effect in the brew itself that could clog the straining process)
black seed

I think that this would be a good base brew for an anti-cancer strategy and has enough good ingredients to strengthen health. The only consideration is how much of the anti-parasite protocol to add to this. Again, these are pioneer notes and will probably need to be tested and refined further. I have skipped a line between the primary herbs and the support ones.

I have been brewing these herbs in a pressure cooker and then straining them in a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids.


  1. One brew where amounts were recorded:
    I put 3 quarts of pure water (well water passed through a carbon filter to remove chlorine, law requires the park that I live in to put chlorine into perfectly good well water), then 3 heaping tablespoons of Reishi mushroom powder, then 3 heaping tablespoons of Fennel seed, then 3 heaping tablespoons of Iceland Moss, then 3 heaping tablespoons of Dandelion Root, 1 tablespoon of Oregano seed (Ajwan or Ajwain in Aryurvedic classification), 2 mugwort leaves, 2 sprigs of Artemisia Annua, 1 handful of fresh Mint and Lemon Balm from the garden, 1 tablespoon of Black Seed, 2 heaping tablespoons of DGL powder (I prefer the straight licorice over this processes version, but a friend requested this substitution, this version apparently takes out some of the harsher elements of licorice), 1 heaping tablespoon Camu Camu, 1 heaping tablespoon of Mangosteen, 2 tablespoons of Jasmine Green Tea (high grade), 1 tablespoon Turmeric, 1 tablespoon Ginger, 3 heaping tablespoons Burdock Root, 10 level tablespoons of P'Arco, 3 heaping tablespoons of Echinanea, 2 heaping tablespoons Whole Cloves, 3 level tablespoons Chaparral, 10 capsules Kyolic (as mentioned above, I prefer straight Garlic or the liquid Kyolic which does not have Whey). Many of the ingredients are just support herbs. Some are included because I am making this for a friend who wanted me to add them to the brew and would serve as support herbs. The pressure cooker is brought to full steam for less than a minute and then turned off and then left to cool for about an hour, then strained and put in preferably glass containers.

  2. What I learned from measuring the amounts used is that most of the herbs were done at one heaping tablespoon per a quart. You actually get less than three quarts from putting three quarts in the pressure cooker and using it to brew the herbs. The dried herbs soak up a lot of the liquid and reduce the amount of quarts to very slightly over 2 quarts. I would have added some Stevia as a sweetener but my friend requested that I leave any sweetener out (and was adding Marshmallow Root to take care of this, brewing it into a kind of gel that is apparently smoothing to the intestinal track and mildly sweet). Since Stevia has anti-cancer properties in and of itself, it seems an ideal sweetener for such brews.

  3. What is presented above is a relatively safe dosing. I would use less. I would recommend working with a good herbalist or naturopath who can watch the process and reduce the use of some herbs and increase the use of other herbs. My general experience is that people do not always dose themselves very well and can get into trouble. Unless one is going to study and experiment for a long time, without the pressure of an immediate crisis, it is wiser not to work alone. I cannot vouch for any brew presented on this site for any one in particular. Even a safe dose for most may not be ideal for someone with certain conditions. If anyone is uncertain, they really need to work with a health specialist.

    I do believe in biochemical individuality and to factor in the person who is receiving the brews and where they are at, adjusting accordingly, and err on the side of nonharm rather than boosting the doses very high to force results.