According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases in the US in 2014. During the same period, 585,720 people are expected to die from cancer-related causes.
This makes cancer the second highest killer in the country after heart disease.
These numbers are worrying.
The war against cancer is clearly far from being won. This is despite huge funds that go annually into research and development of new drugs as well as equipment to fight the disease.
Although they are not well recognized, herbal remedies for cancer continue to find a place as an alternative option amid the despair and letdown from the more conventional treatments.
Nevertheless, they have always faced immense challenges.
Challenges Faced by Herbal Remedies for Cancer
The first obstacle that has always stood between cancer patients and herbal remedies is the lack of information that is reliable and backed up by research.
Even after being used for thousands of years, most herbs are still not well understood. There is still much that is not known, making it hard for patients to make well-informed decisions.
This situation exists because of many years of neglect from those in positions of influence. Lack of funding becomes the biggest culprit preventing strong research on herbal remedies for cancer.
Both federal and state governments have neglected to extend funding to find the opportunities that may lie in some herbs.
Another challenge to herbal remedies for cancer is competition from the more established, organized and well-funded pharmaceutical companies. It is no secret that cancer treatment is a multi-billion dollar business.
According to The American Journal of Managed Care, the US spends close to $200 billion annually on cancer treatment and related projects.
From these numbers, it is clear that the stakes are very high. This gives entities that have always been part of cancer care programs a reason to defend their turf aggressively.
They do not tolerate the herbal remedies that are seeking to give patients an alternative to what they offer – never mind that up to 85% percent of drugs being sold in drug stores were initially derived from herbal sources.
It is likely that the story could be different for many cancer patients if these same companies chose to embrace herbal remedies. They could play a part in developing them into more efficient and potent solutions to cancer conditions.
Why Herbal Remedies are Still an Option for Many
These challenges have long been an issue. Still, herbal remedies for cancer have remained a popular option for many Americans for a number of reasons.
- They are easy to use, with fewer dose requirements than in pharmaceutical remedies.
- Most pose hardly any danger of overdose, which is a major risk of using conventional drugs.
- They often do not have side effects but instead help patients to overcome the side effects of the conventional medicines.
- They are often cheaper than conventional drugs. (Bear in mind that cancer is one of the most expensive diseases to treat.)
- They can become part of the patient’s everyday life without danger of addiction or change in body performance.
There are many sides of cancer that herbal remedies can be used to address. However, the most common are:
- Helping patients overcome the chronic pain that comes with most cases of cancer
- Managing nausea and vomiting
- Helping to overcome lack of sleep
- Allowing patients to regain their appetite
- Helping patients deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments.
What you should Know about Using Herbal Remedies for Cancer
When making a decision about whether or not to adopt herbal options, it is important to bear a few things in mind.
There are many genuine dealers and prescribers of herbal remedies for cancer out there. Unfortunately, at the same time, there are many others who are out to scam unsuspecting patients. Falling victim to this leads to loss of money and to getting poor quality products that may even be harmful to your health.
While most herbal remedies have not gone through thorough clinical tests, there are some that have been subjected to every aspect of modern-day drug processing. This means that they are as good as any other drug product out there.
Some herbal remedies are more effective when consumed as part of daily diet. In essence, this makes it hard to tell whether some herbal remedies are food supplements or drugs.
What should Guide you When Making a Decision to Use Herbal Remedies
Among the things that should guide you in choosing the right dealer of herbal remedies for cancer, the following points are critical.
- Deal only with an entity that follows the laws and regulations put in place by both the federal and state authorities. Genuine herbal remedy providers should subject themselves to the demands of the law. Any sign to the contrary should be a warning for you to move on to the next shop.
- Seek help from dealers who have chosen to adopt industry best practices. While herbalists have been disorganized and unregulated in the past, it is now common to find associations of herbal medicine providers across the country. Most of these local and national organizations encourage their members to abide by rules and meet quality requirements. This guarantees value for your money as well as your safety.
- Tell your doctor about your intentions to start using herbal remedies for your cancer condition. This is important because you do not know how the herbal remedy will interact with the medication you are receiving from your doctor. It must be mentioned that not every doctor will agree with you on this one. Still, he or she should know.
Some of the Common Herbal Remedies for Cancer
There are many herbs that are used around the world for treating different types of cancer. Most of these are locally available in towns and cities across the US. However, there are some that stand above the crowd:
This is derived from a breed of cannabis, sativa. Though associated with marijuana, which has a bad reputation around the world, hemp oil and cancer have a link.
The oil is effective in dealing with cancer conditions such as nausea, vomiting, pain and lack of sleep. It also has been shown to slow or stop the growth of cancerous cells.
The most-used form of hemp oil is one that is low in the psychoactive THC element but high in cannabidiol (CBD). It is also legal in all US states.
For patients with chronic pains, hemp oil with some THC is recommended, and doctors can now prescribe it in many states that have passed laws to allow patients to receive it.
Aloe vera, unlike hemp oil, is not very controversial. It has been in use as a medicine for centuries, and it is not only cancer that it is used to address but many other diseases as well. It is also used in beauty products.
This herb are effective in stopping the growth of cancer cells when either eaten or applied on the skin. It is also useful in helping patients deal with the problem of constipation.
This is a legume plant that is a native to China. It was used in the East before it found its way into the US.
It has been embraced as a helpful remedy for cancer patients. The most useful part of the plant is the roots. When consumed, they help in improving the immune system of patients as well as fighting further cancer growth.
This is a tree that grows widely in both Europe and America. Its fruits, leaves and bark appear to help reduce the risk of cancer growth.
Its nuts are also used to make different forms of foods and snacks. Even though no research has proven how the herb tackles cancer, most of those who have used it confess to getting well after some time.
This herb is also known as mountain tobacco. Its daisy-like flowers and leaves are used to treat skin wounds and inflammations related to cancer.
Of many herbs that are available for managing cancer and its symptoms, this is among the few that can cause serious side effects.
It has been observed that a good number of people are allergic to it. Nevertheless, it is used by many cancer patients around the country.
After reading this article, you are in a better position to make informed decisions regarding herbal remedies for cancer.
What one thing is likely to turn you off from using herbal remedies to manage a cancer condition? Share your answers with us.