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Chinese herbs safe for breast cancer patients?

Over the years, many medical experts have advised those receiving chemotherapy to steer clear of traditional Chinese medicine, a range of traditional medical practices that developed over thousands of years in China. Traditional Chinese medicine uses medicinal herbs and herbal mixtures that modern doctors have feared may cause adverse reactions or interfere negatively with cancer treatment.

Recently, researchers in Chengdu, China, performed seven different studies by analyzing data from over 500 breast cancer patients. The study found no evidence that traditional Chinese herbs cause harm. Conversely, the study may have found evidence that certain Chinese herbal remedies could protect the bone marrow in breast cancer patients, while strengthening the immune system and increasing overall health.

The studies were performed at the Chinese Cochrane Centre, part of the Cochrane Collaboration Centre, a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing and disseminating systematic reviews of healthcare interventions. The reviews are prepared by volunteer healthcare professionals.

This could be a vital new development to the sixty percent of women who experience many side effects from breast cancer chemotherapy, including a decline of blood platelets, inflammation of the stomach lining, and diminishing numbers of red and white blood cells.

Chinese herbal remedies may also reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy, including fatigue, nausea and vomiting. However, the study was small and inconclusive and further trials and research are needed to determine unconditional safety and effectiveness.

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