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.
10 POWERFUL CANCER FIGHTING HERBS
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.
Of all dandelion’s amazing health benefits, research is showing the greatest promise is in its ability to fight cancer. One of the most exciting studies about dandelion’s anti-cancer abilities was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Canadian scientists found that after 48 hours of exposure to the dandelion extract, cancer cells begin to die off. The study also found that dandelion was even effective on cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy. Other research published in the International Journal of Oncology found that a tea made from dandelion leaves decreased the growth of breast cancer cells while a tea made from the root blocked the ability of cancer cells to invade healthy breast tissue and healthy prostate tissue. In another study published in the online medical journal PLoS One, researchers found that an extract of dandelion root was able to selectively and efficiently kill cancer cells without toxicity to healthy cells. They concluded that dandelion root has “great potential, as non-toxic and effective alternatives to conventional modes of chemotherapy available today.”
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.
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. Research shows that the compound silymarin works on cancer in 7 different ways. Additionally, the compound known as silybin works on yet another level to protect the genetic material in liver cells while reducing the incidence of liver cancer.
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.
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.
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.
ST. JOHN’S WORT
Most people think of St. John’s Wort for depression, and for good reason—it has been found in many studies to be effective against the disease—but few consider this herb in the treatment of cancer. Research in the online medical journal PLoS One, found that an active ingredient known as hypericin was highly effective against the invasive cancer melanoma.
The above herbs are available in dried form that can be used for tea (use one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water). They are also available as tincture (alcohol extract) or capsule forms; it is best to follow package directions for the product you select.