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Today our hearts go out to all our Plantly friends who have gone through losing a loved one or even battled cancer. Today we want to celebrate those who have survived and also be an inspiration for those recently diagnosed and gather support from families and friends.
So, to do a shoutout from our fantastic team, we want to share some exciting news about outdoor and indoor plants against cancer.
National Cancer Survivors Day an Unforgettable Celebration of Life
National Cancer Survivors Day is now in its 35th year and is one of the most significant events in the world. It is held every year on the 1st Sunday in June. On this day, we at Plantly ask all our plant lovers to join in solidarity with our cancer survivors.
By gathering around the globe, we can recognize our cancer survivors to raise awareness of their challenges and, most importantly, celebrate life. So, to bring our part, we want to share some facts about plants that can be used and not used t for cancer treatment in the article.
Plants Against Cancer
Herbal remedies or botanical medicine have been around for centuries. You find the medicine produces from all parts of a plant, including the leaves, berries, roots, and flowers. Different studies have been done on using plants to treat cancer as plants contain active ingredients creating a chemical change in the body.
Many herbal remedies you can apply to the skin or take by mouth to treat different diseases, hence, the term biological treatments. Yet, as with any medicine, it comes with benefits and side effects.
For example, while different scientific studies examined the effects of various herbs people can use with cancer, some showed some reduction, but many remedies are not yet supported.
The side effects are that some herbs do not interact well with cancer treatments or the medicines used. In addition, some herbs are highly toxic and taken in large quantities.
Can Herbs Help Cure Cancer?
Unfortunately, there is still no reliable evidence that using herbs alone can help treat cancer. Still, some plant extracts were found to have anti-cancer properties and turned into chemotherapy drugs.
The plants include the vincristine from periwinkle and taxanes from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. Another outdoor plant also used in cancer treatment is cannabis. The drug marijuana comes from the plant, with the main ingredient being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.)
THC is one of many types of cannabinoids found in cannabis. The chemical reacts to specific receptors found in the body, especially those connected to the central nervous system. With the recent changes in state laws, you can now find medicinal cannabis products to use with a treatment to manage cancer-related symptoms.
Cannabis cancer patients can receive it to stimulate appetite or help with weight gain. It also helps with pain, vomiting, and nausea. Yet, there is still no compelling evidence suggesting that cannabis can treat or manage cancer.
Hence, it is only used for symptom management at the moment.
Western Botanical Medicine
The medicine you find is from traditionally grown herbs in Europe and North America and some in Asia. These herbal medicines are used with cancer treatments to lower tiredness and improve patients’ well-being.
Scientific evidence shows that herbs need to be used as an add-on with conventional therapies instead of as an alternative. So what can cancer patients expect using these herbs?
After a practitioner looks at the case history, they take a holistic approach to look at the person’s health and symptoms. Then, the practitioner can give a pre-made herbal formula or blend herbs according to the person’s needs.
You find it in creams, tablets, and liquid extracts taken as tea. Compared to other medicines, comprehensive research is available on effectiveness and safety with promising results.
Some tips for using herbal products safely are getting them from a qualified practitioner or a trustworthy supplier. Also, ensure that the products are labeled in English with a name, date, batch number, directions, dosage, and safety information.
We do not recommend buying over-the-counter products from any health food shop, the internet, or a pharmacy. The problem is that many overseas products, for instance, from China, could contain mercury, arsenic in high quantities, or lead.
Chinese Herb Medicine
A crucial part of TCM is Chinese herbs made from different plant parts from the leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, to stems. You find it available in tablet form, or you can drink it as tea. As a cancer patient, you can expect a practitioner to do a case study from a pulse analysis to a tongue analysis.
The herbalist will then combine herbs with foods to restore the body to a healthy balance. Evidence shows that Chinese medicine, like Western medicine, is scientifically evaluated to work with cancer patients.
Many Chinese herbs have benefits to help relieve tiredness, and research is ongoing on different herbal combinations and their effects. Yet, Chinese botanical medicine is complex and best prescribed by an experienced practitioner. The reason is that some of the herbs interact well while others do not.
Chinese Herbs Not to Be Used for Cancer Treatment
While most of these herbs are natural, not all are safe, and taking the wrong doses or a combination of them can result in side effects. Hence, cancer patients must use the herbs with their cancer treatments and be prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
While the herbs are used for menopausal women experiencing hot flushes, clinical trials show it is safe to use for most people. But the herb must not be used by people with liver problems. Neither is there scientific evidence to state it is safe for cancer patients.
Ginkgo Biloba and Garlic
These herbs have blood-thinning effects and can cause internal bleeding if you have a low platelet level from chemotherapy or surgery and are best avoided. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants to help fight free radicals that can cause cancer.
St John’s Wort
It is a popular herb used for mild depression, but it stops some chemotherapy drugs from working correctly. In addition, it can increase skin reaction when a patient goes through radiation therapy. So, if you do feel anxious, then rather ask your doctor for another form of treatment instead.
While the tea is healthy with loads of benefits, it can stop the cancer drug Velcade (bortezomib) from working correctly. Although it’s not yet medically proven, green tea can boost our immune system which helps fight cancer.
Furthermore, if you take herbs as an added medication, we recommend keeping your doctor informed about what you are taking.
The remedies are also known as flower essences diluted from wild plant flowers. The well-known essences are Original Bach Flower Remedies and Bush Flower Essences. These remedies help primarily to cope with emotional problems and contribute to poor health.
These remedies you must take with water. But there is no scientific evidence supporting that these remedies can treat diseases. On the other hand, other evidence shows that it can help to reduce anxiety, depression, and fear.
Proven Anticancer Benefits Found in Five Plants
A team from the National University of Singapore in the NUS Pharmacy recently focused on seven plants used in traditional medicine over three years. In their studies, they found five plants that have anti-cancer benefits.
The researchers took extracts from fresh mature, healthy leaves to examine their effect on cells from colon, cervical, uterine, ovarian, leukemia, and breast cancer. Out of seven plants, the South African Leaf, Simpleleaf Chasetree, and Bandicoot had anti-cancer effects against these cancer types.
While the Black Face General and Fool’s Curry Leaf provided protective properties against some cancer cells, the researchers found out that using Sabah Snake Grass is not practical to prevent cancer cell growth despite what many other scientists say.
While many studies still need to be done on Western and Chinese herb medicines for cannabis, there is some hope with the aforementioned plants. It implicates new therapies, but many further studies still need to be conducted. Hence, we want to celebrate National Cancer Survivor Day and share our love and thoughts with those still fighting cancer today.