If you have cancer, you may know that some nutrients can help you handle chemotherapy and radiation treatments. But others may have adverse interactions with the drugs. But one area that researchers haven’t looked at is the use of homeopathic remedies and cancer treatment. Is this combination safe? Is it effective?
Homeopathics are highly diluted remedies of herbs, minerals, and other substances. Amazingly, they can treat symptoms that more highly concentrated amounts of the same substance would cause. They’re so diluted that you can’t detect any measurable amount of the original substance in them.
Still, the question is: how safe and effective are they for cancer patients? Can they interact with conventional treatments and cause serious side effects? And do they really work?
Some people swear by them. They consider homeopathics to be valuable adjuncts to healing. Other people insist they do nothing. A recent Cochrane report offers some answers to these questions.
The Cochrane Collaboration is an unbiased international research organization. It evaluates medical research based on the content and quality of studies. Its conclusions are frequently the final word on assessing the quality of medical trials. This recent Cochrane report examined eight studies with 664 cancer patients. All took homeopathics for side effects from radiation, chemotherapy, and menopausal symptoms associated with breast cancer treatments.
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The report concluded that homeopathic remedies are safe for cancer patients who want to reduce the symptoms from conventional therapies. These symptoms include nausea, hot flashes, and rashes. This is good news.
But this report was not as positive about the effectiveness of homeopathics. They found only two out of the eight studies examined to say they actually worked. The other six didn’t convince the Cochrane reviewers.
So, homeopathics are safe enough for you to try. If they don’t work for you, any experienced homeopath would tell you you’re using the wrong remedy. Consider going to an experienced homeopath for an evaluation to determine which remedies are most appropriate. Or pick up any book from Dana Ullman, MPH. Dana is my favorite homeopath. He’s written many books on the subject and heads Homeopathic Educational Services (www.homeopathic.com).
Personally, I’ve used homeopathic remedies for decades. I’ve found them to work exceptionally well. I know they’re effective. Now we all know they’re safe to mix with other therapies. So give them a try.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Kassab S. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2.