According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer of the lungs constitutes a reason of death for many people; even more lethal and common than cancer of the colon. The estimates of adults who lose their battle to lung cancer each year go as high as 1,50,000 (and more).
Some of the risk factors that are linked with development of lung cancer in men and females include smoking, increased and long term exposure to second hand cigarette or tobacco smoke or chemicals; for example radon gas, asbestos or chromium.
Even smokers with lung related disorders, like emphysema, are at an escalated risk of suffering from lung cancer. Needless to say, early detection of this deadly disorder increases one’s chances of survival, especially with initiation of an appropriate treatment plan.
Although the main stay of lung cancer treatment comprises of surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy (alone or in combination with others), the use of specific herbs may aid in both, prevention and quicker recovery from the damage caused by the cancer.
This article throws light on a handful of herbal remedies that can be used only as an adjunct to the main treatment strategies.
7 Herbal Remedies For Treatment Of Lung Cancer
Astragalus membranaceus is a Chinese herb with several other names, inclusive of Green dragon, milk velch or goat’s horn, which may serve as a reliable herb for boosting the functioning ability of the immune system.
Herbal proponents state that the root portion of the herbal plant has both, tumor suppressing and immune system modulating properties, In fact, a study published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Oncology’ mentions that this Chinese herbal cure may accentuate the efficacy of platinum based chemotherapeutic treatment for lung cancer.
The medicinal use of Astragalus or astragalus containing supplements is considered safe for a majority of adults. The daily dose of the herb should not exceed 28 grams. Also, be sure that you adhere to the relevant directions of use given by the health care professional prior to use so as to minimize the risk of side effects.
One of the best herbal ways to thwart growth and damage caused by lung cancer is by having a cup of green tea. Although several clinical studies are still being conducted regarding the potency of anti-oxidant rich green tea in herbal treatment of lung cancer, it is strongly believed that the abundance of phenols (or tea catechins) can lessen the extent of DNA damage that occurs prior to the development of lung cancer.
Although there are different forms in which this herb can be taken (such as capsule), tea form is one preferred by many. You must note that people dealing with hypertension, mental anxiety or ailments related to the heart, liver and kidney must not take green tea in any form. Consumption of caffeine-free green tea is recommended, especially before sleeping.
Cat’s claw, also known as una de gate or Samento, is a herb which is indigenous to the Amazon. There has been an increasing amount of evidence that use of Cat’s claw may have a positive effect on the immune system, primarily due to the presence of immune stimulating constituent, called oxindale alkaloids.
Certain laboratory studies even hint towards the possible role of this herb in retardation or curbing the rate of growth and spread of neoplastic cells. The suggested dose varies between 3 to 6 grams in a day and can be consumed in the form of either tablets, herbal tinctures, elixirs or tea.
However, herbalists contradict the use of the herb in patients who are on medications, such as blood thinners, insulin or anti-hypertensives. Also, those with a history of an organ or bone marrow transplant must not opt for cat’s claw.
According to the University of Medical Center, presence of a flavonoid called Quercetin in fruits and vegetables; for example berries is one of the primary reasons that help lower the chance of suffering from cancer. Numerous clinical trials have successfully established that intake of quercetin aids in slowing the growth of cancer cells in the lungs.
Other than anti-oxidant properties, it fights inflammatory processes and helps in inducing apoptosis (or cell death of cancer cells). Although further clinical trials need to be conducted so as to verify the health benefits of quercetin, it is safe to consume quercetin containing supplements.
Another potent herb that seems to offer positive results, especially for those dealing with lung cancer is Ginseng. In the recent past, a trial carried out by Mayo clinic (using American ginseng) revealed significant results that may help cancer patients deal with weakness and fatigue. The presence of compounds, namely, ginsenosides may help cancer patients.
In fact, Sun ginseng (formed by subjecting Asian ginseng to heat treatment) contained ginsenosides that could bring out suppression of tumour growth. Although ginseng is safe for use, high doses are associated with side effects of difficult in sleeping, nausea and headache.
Grape Seed Extract
Recent studies claim that the use of grape seed extract may hold promise for patients with lung cancer. The anti-oxidant rich (mainly, proanthocyanidins) herbal extract also exerts anti-inflammatory activity. In vitro experiments clearly demonstrated the efficacy of grape seed extract in destroying the lung cancer cells without having any negative effect on the unaffected, normal lung cells.
If you are planning on using this herbal extract, it is advisable to communicate with your doctor, especially if you are on chemotherapeutic drugs. Some of the adverse effects associated with its use include gastrointestinal upset, itching, skin rash and diarrhea.
Garlic is another herb that promises to prevent and treat several form of cancer, including lung cancer. Not only does garlic induce cell death (of neoplastic cells), but also works as a reliable aid in strengthening the immunity.According to Medline Plus, consumption of raw or cooked garlic in amounts equivalent to 3.5 to 29 grams in a week may be sufficient. It is always better to take the medical opinion of your doctor for dose evaluation and possible side effects.