When it comes to cancer, we can never have enough weapons at our disposal to fight it.
And, while the internet is full of misinformation on herbs and cancer, I thought it was time to get down to the best, research-documented herbs to help those fighting the disease.
Here are my 10 research-proven anti-cancer herb picks.
Red clover contains a potent compound known as formononetin that has been found to help fight breast cancer. In a study published in the medical journal Hormone and Metabolic Research, scientists found that this compound found in red clover prevents the spread of cancer cells as well as the invasion of cancer into healthy cells so the disease is less likely to spread. While the research is early, it shows the promise of the herb against this prevalent disease.
RED CLOVER An ´anti-oestrogen´ to help beat breast and prostate cancers.
In many cultures, including traditional herbal medicine in Great Britain, clover flowers, stems and leaves have been combined with other herbs to make compound remedies for asthma, eczema, psoriasis, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, kidney stones and, more recently, for hormone-related cancers.
Its actions are:
- Blood purifying and diuretic (helping to rid the body of excess fluid).
- Anti inflammatory (due to its volatile oils)
- Anti catarrhal (due to compounds which reduce airway congestion)
- Antiviral (Chinese research), and
- Antispasmodic, helping to relieve painful cough spasms.
Due to the many attributes of red clover it is found in many herbal decoctions and this makes it a very valuable contribution indeed to the whole of nature´s medicine chest.
One 86 people strong survey on perimenopausal women over a period of 8 months showed a significant reduction in hot flushes. At the 10th AGM of the American Menopausal Society it was reported that 50mg doses of red clover raised HDL cholesterol (the good one!) levels by an average of 28.6%. And more HDL means better heart protection.
Another trial with women receiving 80mgs of the herb, showed that there was a 23% improvement in the elasticity of their arteries. This would explain the traditional use of red clover in China and Russia for heart disease, although decades ago they would not have had the science or research tools to back up their findings.
Red Clover also contains natural tocopherol , a form of vitamin E which some researchers link to reduced risk of heart attack.
Lactuca virosa, commonly called wild lettuce or opium lettuce, is a plant with psychoactive effects. Wild lettuce can be found growing freely in various regions of the world including Australia, America, Southern Europe and India.
Lactuca virosa has yellow flowers and can grow to be 2 meters tall. The name of the plant stems from its “milk-juice” (lactuca) and from the word poisonous (virosa). The milky sap is bitter, and has a narcotic smell.
This sap, lactucarium is present in all species of lettuce (hence the name lactuca), but wild lettuce has the most of this juice while garden lettuce (Lactuca sative) contains the least.
Wild lettuce has been used in medicine for hundreds of years for its various healing properties. As the name opium lettuce suggests, the plant has opium-like qualities, and has been used as a substituent for opium.
Effects of the wild lettuce:
Though the effects of wild lettuce are similar to those of opium, they are decidedly milder. Opium lettuce is a sedative, said to induce a “hypnotic state marked by strange dreams”.*
The leaves of Lactuca virosa may be boiled in water to make a tea that has slightly sedative effects. However, it is the plant’s “milk-juice” that contains the largest concentration of active compounds.
Wild lettuce may be prepared and consumed in several ways.
Consumption of the substance causes the user to feel more relaxed, often euphoric and, at higher amounts.
This is wild lettuce also known as opium lettuce… for a good reason. It has side effects similar to Morphine but milder, being by far the strongest natural painkiller that grows in your backyard.
This milky substance inside this plant doesn’t contain any opiates, but it’s acting directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to lessen the feeling of pain.
Many people have used it as a replacement for addictive prescription pain medicine.Wild Lettuce is un-scheduled by the FDA, meaning it is legal to forage, to grow, and own without prescription or license… just like the Native Americans used it to heal their pain.
Check the video below for more information about this miracle plant!
Not just delicious in gingerbread cookies, this potent spice has been found to have significant anti-cancer and tumor-destroying properties.
Thanks to four different compounds—gingerol, paradol, shogaol and zerumbone, research in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstrates that ginger may help in the treatment of breast, colorectal, gastric, liver, prostate and skin cancers.
This little-used herb may need a second look when it comes to cancer treatment. Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that horsetail halted the proliferation of cancer cells. Additional animal research found that a blend of herbs that included horsetail along with the mushroom chaga was effective at reducing lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic glands) and leukemia tumors, increasing survival rates by 33 percent.
In this study we investigated antioxidative and antiproliferative activity of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts. The antioxidative activity was measured by the electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy-spin trapping method. The influence of different horsetail extracts during lipid peroxidation of (1) sunflower oil induced by the lipophilic azo-initiator 4,4'-azobis(4-cyanovaleric acid) and (2) soybean phosphatidylcholine liposomes induced by the hydrophilic azo-initiator 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride was studied. Antiproliferative activity was measured using the sulforhodamine B colorimetric assay on the human cancer cell lines HeLa, HT-29, and MCF7. The results of ESR analysis confirmed that the extracts investigated suppressed the formation of lipid peroxyl radicals in both systems investigated in a dose-dependent manner.
The results indicate that n-butanol, methanol, ethyl acetate, and water extracts had significant peroxyl radical scavenging activity. Extracts inhibited cell growth that was dependent on cell line, type of extract, and extract concentration. Ethyl acetate extract exhibited the most prominent antiproliferative effect, without inducing any cell growth stimulation on human tumor cell lines. The results obtained suggest that the horsetail extracts could be used as an easily accessible source of natural antioxidants and as potential phytochemicals.
The root of this delightful-tasting plant found that a compound known as glabridin was able to stop the genes for liver cancer from turning on—a process known as gene expression. But, glabridin is not the only compound found in licorice that shows effectiveness against cancer.
Studies show that glabridin and other potent compounds found in licorice root may hold promise in breast cancer and cancers of the digestive tract.
Milk thistle has long been known as a liver protector, but research shows that it may be among the best natural liver cancer medicines.
This cancer information summary provides an overview of the use of milk thistle as a treatment and adjunct agent for people with cancer.
The summary includes a brief history of milk thistle, a review of the laboratory studiesand clinical trials, and a description of adverse effects associated with milk thistle use.
This summary contains the following key information:
- Milk thistle is a plant whose fruit and seeds have been used for more than 2,000 years as a treatment for liver and biliary disorders.
- The active substance in milk thistle, silymarin, is a complex mixture of flavonolignans. Silymarin's primary constituents are the flavonolignan isomerssilybins A and B, isosilybin A and B, silychristin (also known as silichristin), silydianin (also known as silidianin), and their flavonoid precursor, taxifolin. In the literature, the mixture of the silybins A and B is often referred to as silibinin.
- Laboratory studies demonstrate that silymarin stabilizes cellular membranes, stimulates detoxification pathways, stimulates regeneration of liver tissue, inhibits the growth of certain cancer cell lines, exerts direct cytotoxic activity toward certain cancer cell lines, and possibly increases the efficacy of certain chemotherapy agents.
- Human clinical trials have investigated milk thistle or silymarin primarily in individuals with hepatitis or cirrhosis, although small studies have been reported about individuals with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, prostate cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Few adverse side effects have been reported for milk thistle, but little information about interactions with anticancer medications, radiation therapy, or other drugs is available.
- Milk thistle is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.
Many of the medical and scientific terms used in this summary are hypertext linked (at first use in each section) to the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms, which is oriented toward nonexperts. When a linked term is clicked, a definition will appear in a separate window.
Oregano hasn’t been heavily studied against cancer, but early studies, including one in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that 4-terpineol found in oregano is effective against the spread of cancer.
Cancer is a leading cause of death and is responsible for one in eight deaths worldwide. The use of herbs as complementary medicine for cancer, especially advanced cancer, has recently increased. The aim of this study was to evaluate in vitro, the antiproliferative effect of Origanum vulgare against human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), and human colon adenocarcinoma (HT-29).
The essential oil (EO) was extracted from a bought amount of O. vulgare dried leaves and analyzed in a gas chromatograph interfaced with a mass selective detector. The cytotoxicity test was performed by sulforhodamine B assay. The results show that the EO is composed mostly of 4-terpineol and induces a high cytotoxicity effect in HT-29. In the MCF-7 cell line the EO was less effective. In conclusion, this study showed that O. vulgare main component is 4-terpineol and was effective in inducing cancer cell growth inhibition.
Who knew that the herb used almost exclusively as a garnish on foods could be one of the next great natural cancer remedies? According to research in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, parsley acts as an antioxidant to destroy free radicals, protects DNA from damage that can lead to cancer and inhibits both the proliferation and migration of cancer cells in the body.
Petroselinum crispum (English parsley) is a common herb of the Apiaceae family that is cultivated throughout the world and is widely used as a seasoning condiment. Studies have shown its potential as a medicinal herb. In this study, P. crispum leaf and stem extracts were evaluated for their antioxidant properties, protection against DNA damage in normal 3T3-L1 cells, and the inhibition of proliferation and migration of the MCF-7 cells.
The dichloromethane extract of P. crispum exhibited the highest phenolic content (42.31 ± 0.50 mg GAE g(-1) ) and ferric reducing ability (0.360 ± 0.009 mmol g(-1) ) of the various extractions performed. The extract showed DPPH radical scavenging activity with an IC50 value of 3310.0 ± 80.5 µg mL(-1) . Mouse fibroblasts (3T3-L1) pre-treated with 400 µg mL(-1) of the extract showed 50.9% protection against H2 O2 -induced DNA damage, suggesting its potential in cancer prevention. The extract (300 µg mL(-1) ) inhibited H2 O2 -induced MCF-7 cell migration by 41% ± 4%. As cell migration is necessary for metastasis of cancer cells, inhibition of migration is an indication of protection against metastasis.
Petroselinum crispum has health-promoting properties with the potential to prevent oxidative stress-related diseases and can be developed into functional food.
DNA protection; MCF-7 cell migration; Petroselinum crispum; antioxidant activity; antiproliferative activity; hydrogen peroxide
Plantain, the herb, not the banana-like food, has been found to strongly suppress the growth of human cancer cells, according to research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Plantain is found in almost every lawn across North American and may give lawn care addicts cause to reconsider their use of toxic herbicides against this potent natural medicine.
Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid are triterpenoid compounds that exist widely in food, medicinal herbs and other plants. This review summarizes the pharmacological studies on these two triterpenoids. Both oleanolic acid and ursolic acid are effective in protecting against chemically induced liver injury in laboratory animals.
Oleanolic acid has been marketed in China as an oral drug for human liver disorders. The mechanism of hepatoprotection by these two compounds may involve the inhibition of toxicant activation and the enhancement of the body defense systems. Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have also been long-recognized to have antiinflammatory and antihyperlipidemic properties in laboratory animals, and more research is warranted to develop a therapy for patients.
Recently, both compounds have been noted for their antitumor-promotion effects, which are stimulating additional research in this field. Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid are relatively non-toxic, and have been used in cosmetics and health products. The possible mechanisms for the pharmacological effects and the prospects for these two compounds are discussed.
10.ST. JOHN’S WORT
The popular herb St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) often gets an eyebrow raise from the media, even in the face of whole volumes of research espousing its effectiveness for many health concerns. However, St. John’s Wort is one of the best mood-lifting, anti-stress, and anti-depressant herbs out there. But there are many more reasons to reinstate St. John’s Wort as the amazing healing herb it is. I’ve compiled ten of my favorite research-supported uses for St. John’s Wort—all of which are reasons to love this versatile and highly effective herb.
While the world of psychology continues to question St. John’s Wort, study after study proves its effectiveness for depression, particularly mild to moderate depression. Some studies demonstrate that it is as effective as anti-depressant drugs. While there are fewer studies examining St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness against major depression, it has also been found to be helpful in this regard. Exciting research in the Journal of Zhejiang University Medical Sciences shows that the combination of St. John’s Wort and the nutrient quercetin boost the effects of the herb. Plus, St. John’s Wort’s safety record is far superior to drugs used for depression.
Research published in the medical journal Phytotherapy Research showcases St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness as a natural anti-anxiety medicine. While many people attempt to attribute the herb’s anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects to the naturally-present compound hypericin, the reality is that St. John’s Wort is a highly complex herb with many different active compounds, including: naphthodianthrones, xanthones, flavonoids, phloroglucinols (hyperforin) and hypericin. Because pharmaceutical drugs tend to contain one substance intended to function using one active mechanism in the body, we often try to compartmentalize herbs in the same way, when they repeatedly show greater effectiveness as a whole than as individual compounds.
Exciting research in the online journal PLoS One found that hypericin found in St. John’s Wort was highly effective against a type of cancer, melanoma, using three different mechanisms to cause cancer cells to die.
Research published in the Italian medical journal Fitoterapia found that St. John’s Wort and feverfew flower extracts were highly effective against the pain of diabetic neuropathy. What’s more is that the herbal medicine proved comparable to three different drugs used for the condition.
St. John’s Wort has proven itself effective for other types of pain as well, namely in the treatment of migraines. Research published in the medical journal Phytomedicine found that St. John’s Wort blocked pain receptors involved in migraines, making it an effective natural treatment for migraine sufferers.
Research published in the medical journal Menopause found that St. John’s Wort significantly reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal, perimenopausal, and post-menopausal women. Perimenopause is considered the ten years prior to menopause. Post-menopause begins one year after periods have altogether stopped.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Swiss scientists published a novel study in the medical journal Brain Pathology, in which they found that St. John’s Wort has a protective effect against beta-amyloid plaques linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
Exciting new research in the medical journal Cell and Molecular Neurobiology found that St. John’s Wort holds promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
When it comes to herbal remedies, many of us are familiar with the benefits of Echinacea or purple cone flower as an antibiotic, willow bark as a pain killer and aloe as a topical anesthetic and treatment for skin conditions. But that’s common knowledge compared to the insights and treatments that Native American medicine men discovered and used.
Native American medicine men developed a wheel of very similar to the yin/yang of Asian medicine. The use of herbal remedies and other alternative forms of treatment was the cutting-edge medicine of their day. This was a holistic approach to medical treatment that relied heavily on plants and their unique benefits.How North American Indians and Early Pioneers live and Made Pemmican?Watch the video below!