Cancer can wreck havoc on a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, address the physical impact of cancer, but they don’t always address issues such as the patient’s well-being.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to illness. Disease is seen as an imbalance of the whole body, rather than an isolated incident – it’s not simply something to be cut out, then you carry on as normal. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes herbal medicine and acupuncture, looks at the interaction between the mind, body and environment to treat, prevent and cure illness.
This approach makes Chinese herbal medicine an excellent complementary medicine to conventionally accepted Western cancer treatments.
Herbal Medicine as a Complementary Treatment
Using herbal medicine alongside conventional cancer treatments helps to maintain a patient’s overall health and vitality, as well as attack the cancer directly. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy weaken bodily systems such as the digestive system, liver and kidney function, immune system and a person’s emotional state, but these systems need to be performing at their optimum level in order to strengthen a person in their fight against cancer.
Herbal medicine deals with, and can even pre-empt, these side effects. It helps to manage stress, reduce the physical pain of cancer, support the body’s immune system, improve a person’s stamina and outlook on life, reduce fatigue and weakness, and support their overall sense of wellbeing.
How Herbal Medicine Is Used in Cancer Treatments
A herbalist will ask some general questions about your medical history, lifestyle, health and diet, and perform a physical examination, which may include taking your pulse and blood pressure, examining your skin, nails, tongue and hair, and feeling your abdomen.
Once they’ve decided which treatments you require, they will make these up. This could include a tincture (diluted alcohol solution made with plant parts), raw herbs to boil and drink as tea, acupuncture, tablets or capsules and, if you have a skin complaint, a cream or ointment.