Lung cancer is a life-threatening illness, as you will be well aware. So, treat these herbal remedies recommended as ancillary or supportive treatment to whatever treatment regimen your doctor has prescribed for you. They should not be seen as alternatives.
You may already be undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy or be scheduled for surgery. In addition to them, see how best you can accommodate these herbal remedies, in consultation with your doctor. Discuss in detail with your doctor about their proper dosage, side effects and possible drug interactions.
Herbal Remedies For Lung Cancer
American ginseng is extracted from the root of the plant Panax quinquefolius. The active ingredients in its extract are ginsenosides (steroid-like substances) and polysaccharides, which boost your immune system and help in halting the growth of cancer cells.
It is available as tablets, capsules, tinctures and tea. Consult the product label for correct dosage. It is by and large safe. However, its side effects can include headache, sleeplessness, diarrhea, itching, low blood sugar, and nervousness. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take it.
Asian ginseng extract is obtained from the root of the plant Panax ginseng. Its active ingredients are ginsenosides (also called as panaxosides), which boost your immune system and thus inhibit the growth of tumour cells.
Dose is 100 mg 1-2 times/day of the extract containing 4-8% of ginsenosides. Side effects include low blood sugar, sleeplessness, headaches, nervousness, palpitations and high blood pressure. It interacts with several drugs, especially antidiabetic drugs. It is contraindicated in people with heart disease, and pregnant and nursing women.
Astragalus extract is derived from the root of the plant Astragalus membranaceus. The active ingredient is the bioactive compound interleukin-2.
It works by boosting the immune system and enhancing your ability to halt the growth of cancer cells. Dose is 2 capsules twice daily or 1 cup of its decoction twice daily. Side effects are not known, though it interferes with the action of certain drugs.
Garlic supplements are made from the bulb of the plant Allium sativum. The active ingredient is allicin, which helps in lung cancer by boosting your immune system and thus making your body capable of killing the cancer cells.
There is some evidence that garlic might also modulate the genes responsible for the growth of cancer cells. The dose is 2-3 capsules/day. It is generally safe, with the side effects being bad breath, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset and diarrhea. Avoid it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Green tea has the antioxidants called tea catechins. These inhibit the growth of the cancer cells and also repair the DNA damage caused by the cancer.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in many herbal sources like berries, St. John’s wort, Ginkgo biloba and American elder. It works in lung cancer because it is an antioxidant, which cleans up the free radicals responsible for the cancer.
It can be taken up to 500 mg twice daily. Its side effects include tingling sensation and headache. Safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women has not been established.
Other Herbal Remedies
Other herbs that have been used for lung cancer include cat’s claw, skullcap, grape seed and Rhizoma zedoariae. But their effectiveness may not be as much as the herbal remedies discussed above.