Cancer and Chinese Herbal Medicine

23 April 2008


Wang B, Liu X, Wu Z. [Effect of qi replenishing and blood circulation activating drugs in treatment of middle-advanced pancreatic cancer with radio- and chemotherapy] [Article in Chinese] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2000;20(10):736-8.
OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of Qi replenishing and blood circulation activating drugs (QRBCAD) in treatment of middle-advanced pancreatic cancer with radio- and chemotherapy. METHODS: Patients were divided randomly into two groups, 28 patients treated with radiotherapy and intervention treatment as Group A and 30 patients treated with the same therapy but with additional QRBCAD medication as the Group B, and the effects in the two groups were compared. RESULTS: The short-term effective rate in Group A and B was 53.6% and 67.6% respectively (P<0.05). The remission rates of jaundice and abdominal pain in Group A were 57.1% and 50.0% respectively, while in Group B, 83.3% and 76.7% respectively, there was significant difference between the two groups, P<0.05. The gastroenteric reaction occurred in Group B was significantly lesser than that in Group A, P<0.05. The 1- and 2-year survival rate in Group A were 50% and 21.4%, and in Group B, 80.0% and 46.6% respectively, significant difference (P<0.05) showed in comparison of the two groups. CONCLUSION: QRBCAD could alleviate the gastroenteric reaction caused by radio- and chemotherapy, raise the clinical symptomatic effective rate of treatment, and prolong the 1- and 2-year survival rate of patients.

Anti Cancer Medicine

A study by European researchers has discovered why a Chinese herbal prescription can inhibit some forms of cancer. The study has shown how indirubin, an active ingredient in the traditional prescription Danggui Longhui Wan, works to halt enzymes that promote cell growth. A type of enzyme or protein known as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) triggers cell divisions, and indirubin inhibits CDK. Clinical trials on indirubin in mainland China have found that 26 per cent of 314 chronic myelocytic leukaemia patients showed complete remission and 33 per cent partial remission. Toxicity {of indirubin} was low and side effects were limited to mild abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.Studies are ongoing to further investigate the molecular basis of the efficacies of traditional Chinese medicines as well as their use as potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of cancer. (Nature Cell Biology, May 1999).

Chinese Anti Cancer Herb

(1) Ban Zhi Lian (Herba Scutellariae Barbatae): has been used in recent years in China in the treatment of cancer. Now researchers at Salford University in the UK have found in laboratory trials that the herb destroys the blood vessels supplying tumours. Conventional anti-cancer drugs attack cancer cells themselves but have the side effect of harming healthy cells, leading to side effects. The effect of Ban Zhi Lian appears to be very specific and the “very exciting” findings will be tested in live trials within 18 months and human trials within 3 years, subject to funding.

(2) Ginger and Turmeric fight cancer: Ginger: turmeric and other members of the Zingiberaceae family of rhizomes have a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginger, for example, is widely used in the treatment of stomach problems, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, sore throat, cough, bruises, wounds, childbirth, sore eyes, liver complaints, rheumatism, asthma, and many other disorders. Researchers at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia now report that several members of the Zingiberaceae family effectively block the promotion of cancerous tumors. They tested 11 different species and found that seven of them had strong anti-tumor properties. Their test involved a short term assay of the inhibitory effect of extracts of the rhizomes (roots) on human cancer cells. They found that turmeric (Curcuma domestica) extracts (turmeric root extracted with petroleum ether, chloroform or ethanol) completely inhibited further growth of the cancer cells. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) extracts, especially the chloroform extract, also inhibited further growth, but the concentration of extract was more critical than for the turmeric extracts. The researchers conclude that turmeric, ginger and other Zingiberaceae rhizomes may be useful in preventing the promotion of cancer and that populations with high risks of cancer should be encouraged to include them in their diet. Further work is now underway to isolate the active components in the plants. Vimala, S., et al. Anti-tumour promoter activity in Malaysian ginger rhizobia used in traditional medicine. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 80, No. 1/2, April 1999, pp. 110-16

Categories: Herbal Medicine