Cancer Herbal Treatments



  • Echinacea may possess anticancer activity indirectly with its immune enhancing properties
  • Goldenseal and other berberine-containing plants have been shown to exert beneficial effects in cancer therapy
  • Garlic and Panax ginseng have immune enhancing and anti-cancer properties
  • Green tea may inhibit the formation of nitrosamines, which are compounds present in various cooked foods and carcinogenic in laboratory animals
  • Kombucha tea has energizing and immune-boosting properties, and may be valuable in fighting cancer
  • Turmeric and curcumin have demonstrated significant protective effects against cancer development in animal and human research
  • Dandelion and aloe vera may have antitumor properties
  • Juniper berries exhibits antitumor and antiviral activity activities
  • American ginseng may inhibit growth of cancerous tumors
  • Astragalus promotes resistance against disease and may help restore normal immune function for cancer patients. Caution: Do not use astragalus in the presence of a fever
  • Yerba santa may be helpful. One recent study (1992) found that yerba santa extract “exhibited reproducible inhibition” of a potent cancer-causing chemical
  • Seaweeds such as agar agar, blue-green algae, brown algae, chlorella, and Irish moss have immune enhancing capabilities and may protect against cancers of the digestive tract
  • Chaparral contains a powerful antioxidant and may prevent the growth of certain cancerous tumors
  • Licorice may help retard growth of certain cancerous tumors. Caution: If overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure. Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row. Avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
  • Shiitake mushroom enhances the immune system and is used as a cancer-fighting treatment in Japan and China
  • Red clover has antitumor properties and improves overall health
  • Many people with external cancers, such as skin cancers, have responded well to poultices made from comfrey, pau d’arco, ragwort, and wood sage. CautionComfrey is recommended for external use only
  • Pau d’arco contains active ingredients found to be effective against some forms of cancer. It helps to protect the liver and is especially recommended if taking chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Caution: High levels can cause undesirable side effects
  • Herbs that may help prevent cancer include garlic, onions, licorice, carrots, oat straw, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetables rich in indoles such as broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy
  • Rosemary extract may be a chemopreventive agent for breast cancer
  • Pygeum and saw palmetto may be helpful. European studies suggest pygeum may prevent prostate cancer
  • Ginkgo biloba may help to prevent cancer and enhances circulation and brain function
  • Sarsaparilla root attacks microbial substances in the blood stream, neutralizing them.  This effect is due to its antibiotic properties
  • Burdock root and milk thistle protects the liver and aids in clearing the blood of its impurities.  Burdock root has been found to inhibit tumor growth
  • Suma works to strengthen the entire system and fights fatigue
  • Red clover, sheep sorrel, buckthorn bark, rosemary, barberry, and prickly ash taken in combination may be useful
  • Ginger root is valuable in the treatment of nausea and vomiting


  • Foods that may help prevent cancer include garlic, all green and yellow vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, green peas, celery, kale, spinach, and collards, onions, chives, carrots, tomatoes, ketchup, ruby red grapefruit, sweet red peppers, soy products from soybeans, all fruits especially citrus, watermelon, and guava, omega 3 fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon, green and black tea, milk, and fiber (20-35 grams/day)
  • Foods that may help retard the spread of cancer include seafood, garlic, mustard greens, turnip greens, and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, turnips, and rutabagas.
  • Broccoli sprouts are loaded with a concentrated form of sulforaphane, a powerful cancer fighter.
  • Foods that may encourage cancer include meat, high-fat foods, vegetable oils, such as corn oil and excessive alcohol
  • Lower total fat (especially saturated fat) intake to 30% of daily calories
  • Weight loss increases cancer survival


A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Beta-carotene: 10,000-25,000 IU. Caution: Do not take if you are pregnant. Note: Recent studies have cast doubt on the benefits of getting beta-carotene through supplementation. The best way to take beta-carotene into your body is through foods high in beta-carotene, such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya, mangoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Folic Acid: 400-800 micrograms
  • Selenium:100-200 micrograms
  • Vitamin C: 250-1,000 milligrams, taken as 2 or 3 divided doses
  • Vitamin E: 400-600 IU
  • Calcium: 1,000-1,500 milligrams. Caution: Do not take calcium supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Vitamin D: 400 IU. Caution: Do not take vitamin D supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems


  • Use the freshest oils you can find. Oils become rancid as they oxidize and produce damaging free radicals. Buy your oil in small quantities.
  • Reduce your exposure to aflatoxins, which are naturally occurring molds that can grow on improperly stored nuts, grains, and seeds and are potent carcinogens.
  • Whenever possible, bake, oven-broil or microwave meats instead of barbecuing or frying at high temperatures. This will reduce the formation of possibly harmful substances.


  • Cervical and colorectal cancer: vitamin C, fruits and leafy vegetables
  • Prostrate cancer: fiber
  • Breast cancer: wheat diet, vitamin C, and fiber. Note: obesity has been linked to breast cancer
  • Thyroid cancer: cruciferous vegetables
  • Bladder cancer: fruits and vegetables, specifically carrots. Note: Stop smoking and take frequent urination breaks to lower risk of bladder cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer: fruits and vegetables
  • Stomach cancer: fruit in general, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, celery, squash, raw vegetables
  • Laryngeal cancer: fruit and leafy vegetables
  • Esophageal, oral, and pharyngeal cancers: fruit and leafy vegetables
  • Colon cancer: cruciferous and leafy vegetables, carrots, fiber (pectin and oat bran) fruit, and calcium. (Red meat and processed meats have been linked to colon cancer). Note: Pectin, which is the fiber that puts the gel in your jellies, offers double protection against both colon cancer and high cholesterol. Pectin comes from the peel of citrus fruits and apple pulp. A single bowl of gelatin dessert has more pectin than an apple. Other natural sources of pectin are grapefruit, oranges, sour plums, concord grapes, gooseberries and vegetables such as carrots and cabbage.
  • Lung cancer: fruit, carrots and green leafy vegetables

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.