Melanoma Treatment: Herbs
Herbs have been used in melanoma treatment, and the management of its side effects for over 50 years. In fact, herbs have been used in many forms of medicine like Chinese, Indian, African, and more for centuries to treat cancer, or symptoms of cancer.
Herbs Used In Melanoma Treatment
In some cases, scientific studies have shown a positive effect of using herbs for treatment, or as part of an overall melanoma treatment protocol. In other cases, while there have been no scientific studies demonstrating a positive effect, many cancer patients have used these herbs and believed them to be helpful. Typically, these herbs are considered helpful in the treatment of melanoma because they can sometimes stop the growth of melanoma tumors, or stop the spreading of melanoma throughout the body (i.e. they have an “antiproliferative effect”). Here are some of the most popular herbs used in the treatment of melanoma.
- Maitake mushroom extract boosts the immune system and can help to either limit or reverse tumor growth. It is also said to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and lower some side effects of anti-cancer drugs, such as hair loss, pain, and nausea. Read more about Maitake and melanoma.
- AHCC (brand name ImmPower) is believed to stimulate the immune system to help fight melanoma (and other cancers). It has also been shown to mitigate some chemotherapy side effects and enhance the effectiveness of at least one chemical. Read more about AHCC (ImmPower).
- Chinese Dandelion Root
Herbs Used In Managing Side-effects from Melanoma Treatments
There are many side effects and complications that come from melanoma, and more importantly, from some of the drug and medical treatments commonly used in fighting melanoma. Some side effects and herbs that could be helpful in managing them:
- Low Blood Cell Counts: Many treatments can affect the body's ability to produce enough blood cells such as red cells, white cells and platelets. Chemotherapies, in particular, will kill both cancer cells and "good" cells. It does not differentiate between the two types of rapidly dividing cells--it attacks all of them. During chemotherapy, your body's ability to naturally produce the "good" cells is hampered. There exist herbs that may be helpful in stimulating the production of these blood cells.
- Nausea: Some melanoma treatments can cause nausea. Some nausea is the result of your body's immediate reaction to the treaments. Other nausea is a result of your body's detoxifying organs (liver, kidneys, bladder) becoming overwhelmed with the large burden of toxin and waste that can be produced during treatment. Different herbs can help with each type of nausea associated with melanoma treatments.
- Pain: Pain and discomfort are a common side effect of melanoma treatments. While there are a variety of pain medication that your doctor may give you, several herbs have been shown to be helpful in pain management while undergoing treatment for melanoma.
Herbs Used In Prevention of Melanoma
A variety of herbs have been used for the purpose of melanoma prevention. In some cases they are used in prevention only because they may help prevent a primary melanoma tumor from forming, however, they may not have any positive effect once that tumor has already formed. Some herbs, however, can be helpful with prevention and treatment.
Effect of Maitake on Melanoma
There are several factors that are believed to be the effects of Maitake on melanoma: Stimulation of the immune system: Maitake has been show to stimulate Natural Killer (NK) cell activity (1). NK...
Read more about Melanoma and Maitake.
Effect of AHCC (ImmPower) on Melanoma
AHCC is a hybrid of several species of medicinal mushrooms that was developed in Japan. It is usually known under its brand name, ImmPower™. AHCC has been used by many people who believe it helps...
Read more about Melanoma and AHCC (ImmPower).