by Christina Sarich
There are literally hundreds of herbs which possess cancer-fighting potential – many of them able to do so by reversing oxidation of cells and naturally boosting our natural killer cells, which are important immune system supports.
Some of these herbs have been backed with clinical trials, and others are only known about through anecdotal stories, passed down from those who have had success using them, in much the same way that ancient healers and naturopaths passed down their indigenous herbal wisdom. In Ayurdevic medicine there is a combination of 8 herbs that are known to help reduce cancer’s growth in the body.
The combination is sometimes called Carctol, and is similar to Essiac tea, a popular 4-herb combo that has been used to treat thousands of cancer patients. This combo, however, is a mixture of 8 herbs, including:
- 1. Hemidesmus indicus
- 2. Tribulus terrestris
- 3. Piper cubeba
- 4. Ammani vesicatoria
- 5. Lepidium sativum, sometimes referred to as garden cress
- 6. Blepharis edulis
- 7. Smilax china
- 8. Rheum emodi or Himalayan Rhubarb
While mainstream science doesn’t support the use of these herbs for cancer prevention, there are thousand of reports of the herbal combination being very efficacious.
In Sri Lanka, for example, a decoction made of Nigella sativa seeds, Hemidesmus indicus root, and Smilax glabra rhizome (3 of the 8 herbs in carctol) is used to treat cancer patients. There seems to be an anti-carcinogenic effect of utilizing the three constituents. This decoction could also possibly prevent a chemically induced hepatocarcinogenesis, or the production of cancer in the liver. It was proven to do so in male rats.
The herb Piper cubeba has proven to be helpful in treating cancer as well. This and other herbs are full of antioxidants which stimulate the process of apoptosis (self-destruction of cancer cells), primarily through a genetic switch called p53.
The herb Blepharis edulis was investigated in Egypt, where it grows natively, and was found to be very high in antioxidants. A scientific study published findings suggestion, “Antioxidants are one of the most important nutraceutical compounds that have emerged from the recent decades of research in food and pharmaceutical sciences.”
Himalayan Rhubarb was found to be cytotoxic and therapeutic in a recent study as well. This is also due, in part, to high levels of antioxidants.
Dr. Nandlal Tiwari, the developer of carctol, claims that it is efficacious by helping to get rid of acids in the body. He argues that carctol and certain dietary changes create an alkaline environment in which acidic cancer cells can’t live. This is true of any diet high in antioxidants – mostly derived from plants, nuts, and legumes. Although particular foods can affect the acid and alkaline balance in the body, there is no mainstream scientific evidence to show that changing this balance will stop or reduce the growth of cancer, though it has happened repeatedly, and many are certain that an oxygen-rich body cannot develop cancer at all.
Carctol has been promoted since 1968, but one could also simply take the herbs separately, and include more healthful foods rich in antioxidants to promote overall healing in the body and to make oneself a less probable host for cancerous cells.