Cancer/Integrative Oncology

Sep 292015
 

Acupuncture Cools Hot Flashes

I see Gabapentin, aka Neurontin, typically prescribed for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or post-herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain), or more so nowadays, any type of pain. Anyhow, it has also been prescribed by some doctors to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause (although this use was advised against by the FDA in 2013 ). Anyhow, this is another study showing how acupuncture will benefit hot flashes. In this research, acupuncture was used specifically on patients who had “treatment-related hot flashes”. This means that patients were taking pharmaceutical medications such as Tamoxifen and Arimidex (because they were diagnosed with Estrogen-Receptor Positive (ER-Positive) breast cancer), which results in hot flashes.

NOTE: See that the direct link to the MedScape article above does not work unless you log into MedScape unfortunately. But you can search for the title above on MedScape and find the article easily (or logging in anyway will take you directly to the article).

Aug 192014
 
YellowButterfly

While most of us in the US may know of tumeric as a spice coming from India, it has been in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Materia Medica for as far back as 657 A.D. Tumeric is in the same plant family as ginger, commonly used in both Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese cooking1 . Tumeric is from the plant known as Curcuma longa, hence Curcumin became the name for the main active ingredient in tumeric.

In TCM, we commonly use at least three species that belong to the Curcuma genus. Each one contains Curcumin but each plant has different unique medicinal qualities. In the last few years, Curcumin has become popular as an anti-inflammatory herbal ingredient and is used in many western herbal and supplement products for musculo-skeletal injuries and arthritis, and for anti-cancer support. However, the various Curcuma species have been used in Chinese Medicine for a long time for pain syndromes, benign or malignant masses, and much more.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) or Jiang Huang (literal English translation is “ginger yellow”) is used in TCM to treat chest and hypochondriac (anterior rib area) pain, epigastric pain, dymenorrhea, and hepatitis liver pain. It is also used to treat pain syndromes such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, especially in the upper limbs. Additionally, it is used to treat pain from certain types of infected sores and lesions. Modern research has shown it does have an anti-inflammatory effect and antiplatelet effect. Additionally, it has also shown the ability to lower both cholesterol and triglycerides levels, and has demonstrated an ability to increase production and excretion of bile.

Curcuma aromatica or Curcuma domestica (Yu Jin) is used in TCM to treat pain, cramping and bloating associated with menstruation, especially irregular menstruation. It also treats abdominal masses, especially those in the hypochondriac region and disorders such as liver cirrhosis, or hepatomegaly or splenomegaly (liver or spleen enlargement). It also has the ability to stop certain types of bleeding (based on diagnosis) such as vomiting blood, hematuria (blood in the urine) or nosebleeds. It is also used to treat certain types of disorientation, epilepsy, mania and other psychologically-related disorders. It will also treat jaundice and gallstones.

The root or rhizome of another species, Curcuma Zedoria or E Zhu, is traditionally considered one of the strongest herbs to break up masses, especially in the abdomen. Masses can be tumors, either benign or malignant. This herb is used in formulas for many types of cancer in TCM, however, modern research has shown this herb is most effective against cervical cancer. E Zhu is also a strong pain-relieving herb, especially used for abdominal pain, including certain types of epigastric or hypochondriac fullness, abdominal distention or hardness, and pelvic inflammation. It is also used for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) and indigestion . Additionally, this herb has shown antiplatelet and anti-thrombotic properties, along with having antibiotic-like effects against Staph, Strep and E. coli.

In TCM, all health conditions, including pain syndromes or diseases, are treated after determining a diagnosis based on analyzing a patient’s signs and symptoms, along with by observing the tongue and pulse, all of which help determine the affected organs and the pattern of disharmony in the body. Once a diagnosis is made, an herbal formula will be prescribed, never an individual herb as often assumed by western patients. This is because an individual’s diagnosis is complex and specific, and in order to treat it, a combination of properties of herbs are needed to be most effective.

So, here are a few examples of modified traditional Chinese herbal formulas that I prescribe in my clinic, when appropriate, that contain Curcumin in them, along a description of their specific clinical applications (all products are from Evergreen Herbs):

1) Jiang Huang
Arm Support
Shoulder: periarthritis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder, capsulitis, rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, inflammation and pain of the shoulder, subluxation or dislocation, AC (acromioclavicular) separation.
Elbow: lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), olecranon bursitis, tendonitis.
Wrist: carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprain and strain.
General musculoskeletal injuries: tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis of the arm.
Numbness, decreased range of motion and atrophy of the arm.

2) Yu Jin
Shine – Depression with low energy, prolonged sadness or irritability, and lack of interest in daily activities.

Calm Jr – ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, difficulty in focusing, inattentiveness, restlessness; childhood convulsions, epilepsy, seizures and twitching of muscles.

Liver DTX – Liver damage with high levels of SGPT and SGOT; liver detoxification: enhances the normal metabolic and detoxification functions of the liver; hepatitis: treats hepatitis with or without jaundice, repairs liver cell damage; liver cirrhosis from excessive alcohol intake; addiction: detoxifies liver during alcohol, drug or smoking cessation; cholecystitis with increased liver enzymes, possibly with liver impairment.

Migratrol – Migraine headache: acute and chronic; tension headache: acute and chronic; cluster headache: acute and chronic.

Cholisma ES – High cholesterol and triglycerides levels; fatty liver; obesity; prevention and treatment for the conditions above.

Back Support (Upper) – Acute injury or trauma to the chest, ribs, or thoracic area with pain, inflammation, swelling, or bruises; upper back stiffness and pain, scapular pain and/or pain between the scapulae; subluxation of the thoracic vertebrae; rib fracture.

3) E Zhu
CA Support – Cancer patients who suffer extreme weakness and deficiency and cannot receive surgery or chemotherapy and radiation treatments; late stage, terminally-ill cancer patients with pain and suffering.

Resolve (Lower) – Fibrocystic disorders in the lower half of the body, such as fibroids and cysts in the uterus and ovaries; endometriosis; palpable masses and benign tumors of the female reproductive organs; female infertility due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region (i.e. tubal obstruction); pelvic pain due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region; scarring or blood stagnation in the pelvic cavity from surgery.

Arm Support – described above

_______________________________________________________________
Footnotes:
1 The only dish I have seen in Chinese restaurants that has turmeric in it is ‘Singapore Noodles’. I especially like it because it combines turmeric with rice noodles (vs. noodles with wheat), which is great for those who are gluten sensitive.

References:
1. Chen, John K. and Tina T. Chen. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. AOM Press: 2004.
2. Bensky, Dan and Andrew Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press, Revised Edition: 1993.
3. Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine, 2nd edition, Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine. (Descriptions of Evergreen Herbs products.)

Apr 232014
 
CamelliaRed

Alliance for Natural Health Article:
Popular Antidepressant May Promote Breast Cancer

NOTE: There are many natural and safe alternatives to both depression and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, including Acupuncture! See my other blog entries (click on tags for depression or menopause).

Feb 032014
 

It has been discussed in natural medicine circles for years that many food additives have not been proven to be safe and may in fact be potentially detrimental to our health. Now the FDA is finally looking into one, the caramel coloring added to many colas and other foods, and whether it should be banned:

FDA Reviewing Potential Carcinogen of Caramel Coloring in Colas

Please note the side articles that discuss how one company in particular changed their soda formulation to avoid Prop 65 labeling in California of this potential carcinogen.

Jan 232014
 

This research shows that post-menopausal women who consume sodas and other sugary ‘foods’ are at an increased risk of one type of endometrial cancer, an estrogen-dependent one. As this researcher says, “Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer.”

Sugary Drinks Raise Endometrial Cancer Risk

It is worth noting that this research didn’t find any correlation between the consumption of ‘sugar-free’ sodas or foods with the risk of endometrial cancer. However, keep in mind that the consumption of the ‘sugar substitutes’ such as aspartamine, saccharin, sucralose, sorbitol, etc. all have other potential detrimental health effects of their own! (I.e., I highly recommend not consuming these ‘sugars’ as well – I generally recommend to use only natural sugars such as honey, stevia, coconut sugar, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, xylitol, etc.!)

Jan 132014
 

From the summary of this research:
“there was a self-reported improvement immediately post-treatment in anxiety,fatigue, pain, and depression and significant improvement over time for patients with anxiety … and depression … .”

Acupuncture as palliative therapy for physical symptoms and quality of life for advanced cancer patients

Jan 132014
 

From the summary of this research paper: “This study is the first to demonstrate that acupuncture may be an effective approach for improving symptoms — in particular, pain and well-being – in a lung cancer population. Acupuncture is a safe and minimally invasive modality, and it may have a particularly useful role in patients undergoing anticancer treatment…” and “Statistically significant improvements in pain, appetite, nausea, nervousness, and well-being were observed. A clinically important improvement … was reported by 61% of patients for pain and by 33% for well-being.”

The potential role for acupuncture in treating symptoms in patients with lung cancer

Jan 092014
 

This is an article about why acupuncture should be used for the side effects of chemotherapy. It refers to several studies on this topic, one of which highlights that ‘electroacupuncture worked better than anti-nausea medications’:
Time for Acupuncture to Become Part of Standard Care

Luckily, in our local area, we do have a progressive program at a local hospital doing such work (if only more MDs would refer their patients to it)! See my blog post:

Acupuncture at Local Hospital Cancer Center

Sep 162013
 

Two Chinese herbal formulas I commonly recommend to boost immunity are Evergreen Herbs Immune + and Zand Astragalus Formula. Immune + is based on a very commonly-used formula Yu Ping Feng San, which is especially used to help those who easily catch common colds or flues, or are commonly affected by seasonal allergies. Zand Astragalus is a very similar formula.

Catching colds or flues easily, and/or having seasonal allergies means that the immune system is weak and needs to be strengthened. These formulas are also ideal to strengthen the immune system when going into the winter season or when one knows they will be exposed to others who are ill from a common cold or flu, or when one is oing into a hospital or convalescent situation where others could be ill. Both of these formulas will also tend to help poor energy too.

Both of these formulas contain Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Reishi mushroom (Ling Zhi, or Ganoderma), both of which research has shown are immunoprotective. Research has also shown that Astragalus can have an antibiotic effect, is anti-asthmatic and is nephroprotective (protects the kidneys) as well. Reishi has anti-cancer properties and a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity.

More information on the two main herbs in these formulas can be found at these sample monographs from the premier resource of the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, by John Chen and Tina Chen: Huang Qi and Ling Zhi/Reishi

Astragalus is also in the Evergreen Herbs Cordyceps 3 formula. Cordyceps is especially known to treat chronic respiratory disorders; I call it a ‘Ginseng for the Lungs’ since it is also used for its ginseng-like ‘anti-aging’ qualities. Speaking of Ginseng, Panax Ginseng (Ren Shen) is in this formula as well. So Cordyceps 3 is an excellent formula for aging, poor energy or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many other conditions as well that need immune-system support, including cancer.

Apr 032013
 

Monograph on Curcuma Longa, published by Alternative Medicine Review, a peer-reviewed CAM journal years ago now, summarizing research on Curcumin (now considered the main active ingredient in Curcuma Longa).

Curcumin Monograph

Apr 032013
 

Scientists at the Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology (ICPO) based in India have recently found that Curcumin works against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a known cause of cervical cancer. As the research abstract summarizes “These novel findings imply that Curcumin may be an effective chemopreventive and therapeutic agent for cervical cancer prevention and treatment”.
Curcumin and HPV

Note also there is research showing Astragalus and Silymarin (from Milk Thistle) show promising results against HPV (research references will be updated later).

Nov 012012
 

Acupuncture at Cancer Center at Enloe Hospital, Chico, Ca.
This Acupuncture Clinic is low-cost for any cancer patient, whether your oncologist is affiliated with this hospital or not. Acupuncture is done here mainly to treat patients for the side effects of radiation and chemo, but acupuncture is excellent for cancer in many other ways.

Acupuncture FAQs at Enloe Cancer Center

May 242012
 

Dr. Daniel Weber is a scholar in the field of Integrative Oncology, with a focus on using Chinese herbal medicine or isolates from Chinese herbs to treat cancer. He has done numerous clinical trials, especially regarding herbal isolates to treat breast cancer. He is the author of several books on the subject of Chinese herbs to treat cancer and has also been honored in China with an appointment to The Oncology Special Committee (OSC) of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) in 2011. For more info, see Dr. Daniel Weber’s bio

Dr. Daniel Weber’s research site
Dr. Daniel Weber is also the founder of the Association of Integrative Oncology and Chinese Medicine
Dr. Daniel Weber’s products, focusing on cancer treatments Panaxea – Specialty line of Chinese herbal remedies, including isolates (sold only to practitioners since they are trained in their use).

May 092012
 

Acupuncture Reduces Side Effects from Tamoxifen, Arimidex

Finally research shows that acupuncture will treat menopausal symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, and in this case, specifically the side effects of Breast Cancer drugs!

Oct 152011
 

Isaac Eliaz, M.D., is an Integrative Oncology specialist. He is a Licensed Acupuncturist and integrates Chinese Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine with allopathy (our common ‘western medicine’). He is the founder and researcher of EcoNugenics, a nutraceutical product company known for anti-cancer products (PectaSol (Modified Citrus Pectin or MCP) and BreastDefend).

Research shows MCP to be effective in many types of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer. See his various websites for more details:
Dr. Eliaz’s Clinic
Dr. Eliaz
EcoNugenics
Breast Cancer Guide
Prostate Cancer Guide

EcoNugenics products are sold at Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture.

Oct 142011
 

Rebecca Katz is the author of the cookbook The Cancer Fighting Kitchen and is a senior chef of Commonweal Cancer Help Program in Marin County, California. The Commonweal Program is the epitome of teaching people to use Integrative Medicine to treat cancer. This cookbook is full of good, healthy, fun and EASY recipes and useful for anybody who KNOWS they should eat healthy but aren’t sure where to start!