Phytotherapy: The Nature of Natural Healing with Herbs

Managing and Preventing Cancer With Phytotherapy

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With- Phytotherapy
(shutterstock.com)
By Sebastian Liew

I invite you to embark on a journey of healing with herbs and, if possible, work with a healing-centred naturopath or herbalist toward a holistic approach in promoting the overall health of the body and mind.

Cancer has become one of the top three causes of death in many developed countries. It is also one of the most complex diseases of our time.

Cancer is more prevalent today than it was a few generations before. The overall incidence of cancer is 40 percent greater than it was 40 years ago, and there are significant deaths from breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancer.

Obviously, the environment and lifestyle are great contributors to the increased incidence of cancer.

In the medical world, we use chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to get rid of cancer. There has been no real advancement in the success of cancer treatments over the past 80 years.

I believe it has poor success because it aims at treating the tumour while ignoring the whole-body system – immunity, digestion, lifestyle, diet, mental health and so on.

Nevertheless, conventional medicine should not be shunned and phytotherapy can be used alongside conventional medicine for a better outcome. This should be done under the supervision of a qualified, professional, and experienced naturopath or herbalist. Self-prescribed or over-the-counter health supplements are not encouraged.

It is not my intention to debate whether conventional or natural medicine is a better option to treat cancer. I believe that there is a role to play for each healing method, and the objective should always be in the interests of the patient – quality of life, survival rate, improved health status and so on. It should not be about the politics of medicine.

What we need to know is the fact that it takes over 20 years for cancer to develop. Many cases of spontaneous remission from cancer without conventional treatment suggest that there are other forces at play in cancer prevention. These forces may be diet, mental health, exercise, spiritual health, and so on.

If that is the case, prevention is of utmost importance. Why start eating organic or healthy food only after a cancer diagnosis?  Prevention is often associated with regular screening. Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stage may be helpful to increase survival. However, the question is – how early is early?

Therefore, instead of just prevention, we should look at the promotion of health on a continuous basis, targeting areas of our life that need improvement. When should we start doing this?

The time is now.

Please do not assume that cancer only strikes older adults. There is an increasing incidence of cancer in the younger population.

The late Nobel Prize winner Dr Otto Warburg has given us a clue to the prime cause of cancer – lack of cellular oxygenation, or simply lack of oxygen in the cells.

There are many theories surrounding the causes of cancer, including viruses, genes, pollution, chemicals in our food, stress etc.  They may be valid and are risk factors.  However, each of these may not be the prime cause of cancer.

The late Nobel Prize winner Dr Otto Warburg has given us a clue to the prime cause of cancer – lack of cellular oxygenation, or simply lack of oxygen in the cells.  To date, no scientist has disputed his theory.

One of the key promoters of cancer is inflammation.

Chronic low-grade inflammation damages the tissue environment and thus affects cellular oxygenation. Inflammation can be induced by exposure to smoking, excessive alcohol intake, radiation, carcinogens, and obesity.

Interestingly, traditional Western herbal medicine also teaches us that cancer often develops from old injuries (unresolved inflammation) and thrives when blood is poorly oxygenated. The old herbalist doctors called it stagnation or tissue depression, and the person often has a dark or purplish-red tongue.

He or she is highly reactive to stress and has chronically slow digestion or metabolism. Digestion and assimilation are important factors in the prevention of many diseases, including cancer.

Conventional medicine should not be shunned and phytotherapy can be used alongside conventional medicine for a better outcome.

I have therefore listed it as the Third Sacred Letter of Wellness, in my book Leaf to Life: Unlock nature’s secrets to true health.

In a cancer prevention protocol, we need to work on improving and enhancing the whole body, particularly the gut, liver, lymphatics and thyroid, as well as improving lifestyle factors such as sleep quality and inner peace.

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With- Phytotherapy
Eleutherococcus illustration from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (1915). The Chinese name for this root describes its berries and stems, but the bittersweet root is the medicinal part. (Public Domain)

Eleuthero (or eleutherococcus) is an ideal herb to build non -specific resistance to stress of all kinds – physical, chemical, and biological. This herb is confirmed as one of the best herbs to counter the ill-effects of stress, as documented in numerous Russian and European studies. It is also an ideal herb to prevent or treat hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, thus suggesting its normalising effect on the body.

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With- Phytotherapy
Garlic (not garlic oil) prevents colon and gastrointestinal-related cancer. (https://pixabay.com)

Garlic (not garlic oil) prevents colon and gastrointestinal-related cancer. Garlic also enhances phase II liver activity. This is an important step in cancer prevention. Other herbs that enhance liver detoxification are rosemary, St Mary’s thistle, and broccoli.

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With-Phytotherapy
This photo shows the the common marigold (Calendula officinalis), a traditional herb to heal many ailments. (Kardash/photos.com)

Calendula is a lymphatic remedy the helps get rid of blood stasis, and helps resolve inflammation and infections. Together with yarrow herb, they play a role in promoting blood circulation, lymphatic cleansing and thus oxygenation of the cells.

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With-Phytotherapy
The dandelion is considered a weed by some, while others see it as a tasty addition to salads and other dishes. (Cat Rooney/The Epoch Times)

Dandelion root is a bitter herb that clears damp heat and is a powerful liver remedy. It is traditionally used to prevent breast and liver cancer.

Another good remedy for cancer prevention is an elixir made from duckweed. It is an old German recipe by the famed 12th century abbess Hildegard Von Bingen. It ‘cleanses’ the blood via lymphatic channels, enhances liver function, and boosts immunity.

Circulation and cellular oxygenation also depend on the presence of essential fatty acids found in plant oils such as flax, pumpkin, and coconut oil. I do not recommend fish oils for the long term as the sources of fish oils nowadays is controversial.

In addition, consuming any one oil in high concentration will cause an imbalance in the others. It is better to consume various plant oils as food or in supplement form.  It is essential to avoid or minimise eating food cooked with refined oils, deep fried foods, or sugar, as these foods increase inflammation and reduce cellular oxygenation.

In my opinion, when you work on preventing cancer holistically, you are also preventing other common killer diseases – diabetes, high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis.

Therefore, I invite you to embark on a journey of healing with herbs and, if possible, work with a healing-centred naturopath or herbalist toward a holistic approach in promoting the overall health of the body and mind.

Managing-and-Preventing-Cancer-With-Phytotherapy
Sebastian Liew is the first Singaporean medical herbalist and doctor of naturopathy accredited with the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia. He has over a decade of clinical experience in treating and preventing diseases with phytotherapy (Western herbal medicine). He is also the author of the book Leaf to Life: Unlock nature’s secrets to true health. Visit his website at http://slnaturopath.com, or contact him by email at sebastianliew@slnaturopath.com.

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