Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Herbal And Alternative Treatments For Breast Cancer

Herbal And Alternative Treatments For Breast Cancer
by: Mary Hanna

Herbal remedies have been around for for thousands of years. Now, women with breast cancer facing chemotherapy and radiation are supplementing this traditional medicine with herbal remedies and alternative treatments. They are not abandoning the usual breast cancer treatment; they are using herbal remedies and alternative treatments to curb the side effects.

Ginseng has been used by the Chinese for centuries. They believe that it stimulates the immune system and energies the patient. There are more than 30 active compounds in the ginseng root. Many of the compounds are believed to have anti-tumor properties. In a Chinese study it was found that women who took ginseng before their diagnosis had a higher survival rate than the women who took ginseng after their diagnosis. Women have reported that they have a higher quality of life and suffer less depression while using ginseng.

There is a mushroom, the Maitake that helps in boosting the immune system. Here again, in the East this has been used widely. Lab studies have been done using liquid Maitake extract. Many researchers believe that the mushrooms contain beta-glucans which helps to enhance the immune system. They still don't know why, but they are working on it.

Mistletoe extract has been used in Europe to treat cancer patients for over 80 years. It has been shown to kill cancer cells and boost the immune system. There have been very few studies done here on mistletoe, but some research is under way and will be out at the end of this year. Researchers are studying the safety, the effects on the immune system and its toxicity.

Acupuncture is especially helpful for nausea and post surgical pain. Many studies done by research oncologists have shown that acupuncture was better for women with breast cancer than the medication taken to fight nausea. It also helps in loss of appetite, fatigue and sleep disorders. The AAMA recommends women with breast cancer should get acupuncture during their chemotherapy treatments but only after you have spoken to your primary doctor.

All doctors and researchers stress that diet and exercise play a key role in treating cancer. Stick to a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and grains. The National Cancer Institute recommends at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. Phytochemicals are found in fruits and vegetables and they prevent cancers in a number of ways. Research shows that they help in detoxification of carcinogens, DNA repair, boosting of the immune system and maintenance of cellular control mechanisms. Obesity plays a role in getting cancer. Change your diet, eat healthy and go for a walk or ride a bike. This is a suggestion we should all take to heart.

These alternative methods may well help you through your breast cancer treatment and perhaps even get you a speedier recovery. New studies are being done everyday for women with breast cancer. Discuss these alternative therapies with your Doctor and always let your physician and your oncologist know about any therapies you want to take, before you take them. This will make sure that the alternative therapy won't interfere with your chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor am I in the medical field. This is just information that I researched out of curiosity and the desire to know all of the options available.

Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

About The Author
Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round. She has published other articles on Cruising, Gardening and Cooking. Visit her websites at Cruise Travel Directory, Container Gardening Secrets, and Gardening Herb.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Green Tea: Help Or Hype?

Green Tea: Help Or Hype?
by: Laura Turner

There’s been lots of health-hype lately surrounding the benefits of green tea. I’m certain you’ve heard it, too. Have you ever wondered: “Is it really worth my while to drink tea of the green variety?” Stick around and decide for yourself.

First: The Claims:

A rich source of anti-oxidants:

What are anti-oxidants? Anti-oxidants neutralize “free radicals” or unstable molecules in the body that can eventually become unfriendly and wreak havoc on the cells. Free radical damage can cause everything from sun damage to hardening of the arteries. Green tea will help you bulk up on the anti-oxidant warriors that help to both lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease by controlling blood pressure.

Cancer prevention:

Green tea has been shown to lower rates of cancer in Asian populations. The cancers studied and which have been recorded include: bladder, colon, esophagus, pancreas, rectal and stomach. New evidence suggests green tea may also help prevent prostate cancer, as well.

Help with arthritis

Studies also suggest there is possible anti-inflammatory and arthritis preventing effects in green tea although, I’ll admit, solid scientific evidence was difficult to come by. By simple suggestion, I’ll give green tea an A for effort in the arthritis category.

Liver protection:

Green tea has been proven to protect liver cells by stimulating the immune system. Green tea protects the liver by warding off toxins such as alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Teeth protection:

Green tea has been thought to promote oral health (although scientific proof was difficult to come by here, too). Green tea is supposed to work against bacteria, protecting teeth from cavities.

Weight loss:

Here’s another benefit that will raise many an eyebrow. Several sources I found claimed that green tea may actually help to stimulate weight loss. Yes! Green tea contains polyphenols (molecule compounds) that actually help the body to burn weight and regulate both blood sugar and insulin levels.

The Bad News

What’s the bad news?

The only negative side effect I’ve found is the simple recorded cases of insomnia due to naturally occurring caffeine in green tea. It looks like there’s only 30-60mg in 6-8 ounces of tea, however. That's less than half the caffeine content of coffee which weighs in at 90 mg. per 8 ounce cup.

Other FAQ’s About Green Tea:

How much green tea is enough to reap the benefits?

No one seems to be too sure about the answer to this question, either. Let's be realistic – most people could easily drink 3-4 cups of green tea daily. This is a good round number and one that I came up with based on its frequency in the research studied. A suggestion: why not try replacing your usual cup of coffee with a clean dose of health?

Where to get a good cup of tea?

Check out your local grocery for my favorite: Lipton. There's plenty of others, but I like the way Lipton aims to zip up green tea with variety. They even have a orange, passionfruit & jasmine flavor that's de-lish!

If drinking tea really isn’t your thing, but you still want the benefits – no problem! Green tea is now available in capsule form, too. This could be as close as your local pharmacy. Check around.

In summation:

In this scientist’s opinion, green tea is well worth your consideration. The simple speculation of benefits is enough to get excited about it. It’s easy to digest, tastes good and, hey, if it helps me with my goal of wellness and illness prevention, I’ll take ample tea time, any day!

Research for this article has been created through careful consideration of research and articles appearing on WebMD and though several working texts which include:

Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2004.

Mabey, Richard. The New Age Herbalist. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Mindell, Earl, R.Ph., Ph.D. Herb Bible. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Tierra, Michael L.Ac., O.M.D. The Way of Herbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

About The Author

Laura Turner is a natural health practitioner and author. She hosts and publishes the bi-weekly New Body News and Wellness Letter, The Online Magazine Healthy People Read. (New Body News ) Subscribe for f.r.e.e. and receive her Special Report: "Take Charge of Your Health!"