Chemotherapy can be one of the most challenging parts of cancer treatments. Chemotherapy side effects are a common concern among people with cancer. Although chemotherapy aims to eliminate cancer cells and stop them from multiplying, it can also affect healthy cells, resulting in several symptoms.
Do natural remedies manage treatment Side Effects?
Some methods can ease the side effects of cancer treatment. Others could interfere with your treatment. If you plan to try them, always talk to your oncologist about it.
Following are some home remedies that help manage the side effects of the treatment.
Ginger helps manage nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. But it may also thin your blood, so don’t take it before surgery.
Zinc may help prevent taste changes, a side effect of radiation, chemotherapy, and some pain medicines.
Astragalus might ease the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting if you have colorectal cancer. But it also stops some medicines from working as they should.
Glutamine could help reduce at least two side effects from treatment: peripheral neuropathy (weakness, numbness, or pain in your hands and feet) and mouth sores and soreness. But more studies are required for this.
Ginseng, in high doses, reduces cancer-related fatigue.
Guarana, a natural stimulant found in a plant native to the Amazon basin, has also been found to help with chemotherapy-related fatigue, especially in breast cancer patients.
There’s no sure way to prevent peripheral neuropathy from chemotherapy. However, a study published in the European Journal of Cancer in 2018 evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in preventing peripheral neuropathy in women with stages I to III breast cancer receiving weekly paclitaxel. Acupuncture was well-tolerated and effectively reduced the incidence of high-grade chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Acupuncture is most often used for pain, but it may also lessen other symptoms associated with cancer treatment, like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Anxiety and hot flashes
Always take your doctor’s permission before starting acupuncture. They can tell you if it is good for you or not as per your health condition.
One study of 1,290 cancer patients found that pain, anxiety, fatigue, and nausea dropped by half among those who got a massage.
To improve immunity, extracts of olive leaves can be the best option to cut down the side effects of chemotherapy.
Consumption of aloe juice also helps to boost immunity.
Some soy products reduce the risk of infection, and it has a positive impact on appetite as well as a reducing effect on the risk of infection. This is because they can improve the immune system and aid the increase in blood counts.
These also have a beneficial effect on reducing nausea and vomiting tendencies.
Vitamin E supplements can help reduce the effects that result in hair loss and even mouth sores. However, it is always best to consult a doctor because it may also interfere with the ongoing treatments.
Ganoderma Lucidum, a mushroom which can reduce the loss of appetite, fatigue, and hair loss in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Ginseng, in high doses, was found in a Mayo Clinic-led study to reduce cancer-related fatigue.
The National Cancer Institute urges people undergoing chemotherapy to talk with their healthcare providers about their side effects and how best to manage them.
While some remedies may benefit people undergoing chemotherapy, others may interfere with standard treatment or cause harm when combined with chemotherapy. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying routine care can have serious consequences. Therefore, if you’re considering using any natural therapy to treat chemotherapy side effects, it’s imperative to consult your healthcare providers.