Chinese Herbal Medicine may help breast cancer sufferers

11 June 2008


Study has shown that Chinese Herbal Medicine may help breast cancer patients.

Chinese herbal medicine may protect the immune systems of breast cancer patients from the effects of chemotherapy, researchers said today. Scientists analysed data from seven studies involving 542 women with breast cancer. They concluded that Chinese medicines may safely reduce the immuno-suppressive side effects of powerful anti-cancer drugs.

Some 60% of women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer experience a range of side effects including nausea, vomiting and fatigue. They may also suffer inflammation of the gut lining, reduced numbers of blood cells, and a weakened immune system. In Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese medicinal herbal mixtures and compounds are prescribed to counteract the unwanted effects of chemotherapy.

Six women were tested in randomized, controlled trials comparing treatment with and without Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM). Three showed improvements to white blood cells - key elements of the immune system made in the bone marrow - in women given the herbal extracts. Two herbal compounds appeared to have had a general positive effect on quality of life and one study reported reduced toxicity in the liver and kidneys.

The research was conducted by Chinese scientists working for the Cochrane Collaboration, a UK-registered charity, specialising in reviewing scientific data. The researchers, led by Dr Jing Li, from the Chinese Cochrane Centre in Chengdu, China, wrote in their paper published by the Cochrane Library: "The results suggest that using Chinese herbs in conjunction with chemotherapy or CHM alone may be beneficial in terms of improvements in bone marrow suppression and immune system, and may improve overall state of quality of life”. (18 April 2007).

Categories: Herbal Medicine