Complementary Therapies: Herbs and Botanicals


If you want to take botanicals to help fight your cancer, be sure they have been studied.

Shortly after my chemotherapy ended, I had lunch with an old friend with whom I had had a really close relationship. I could tell almost immediately something was wrong.

She had hardly contacted me to that point. I had always allowed her lots of slack because she was one of those friends who had had a difficult life. But I had always thought of her as someone very smart. And then she said something I will never forget, “I have a friend who cured his cancer with diet and herbs. Why didn’t you use those techniques?” This was in 1987 and there was lots of publicity about apricot pits and their ability to cure cancer.

I remember just looking at her and thinking, “Boy am I a fool, I had to use doctors.”

Mind you, I was smart enough not to take the advice of someone who put ads in the back of some sleazy tabloid. I had done some research and liked what I read about wheat grass and done some of that. This was before many of the evidence based trials had been done.

Lunch was over, as was my relationship with this person.

I developed a philosophy at that time. When someone wants to offer me advice on some herbal or edible cure, I ask if the person has had cancer. If they haven’t, I politely tell them to go to hell. If they have, I am willing to listen all day. I know they have done their research.

And, you know it is funny. I have yet to have a friend or acquaintance who has had cancer who cured it themselves with food or herbs. I have had friends who have felt better with certain herbs or food. It is a wonderful dream.

In 32 years, I have never known one person who has had cancer talk about the herb or food that cured them. I do know that logic tells me that certain foods and herbs will help me feel better and get a foothold.

But, there are herbs and food that will help you fight the disease. A good source of information on these is the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center web page concerning botanicals. Go to the main web page and search for botanicals. Know what you are taking before you do it.

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