herbal "stuff"

I friend has recommended that I visit a herbalist that she uses who has said that pro biotics and astragalas would be useful in building up my immune system while I am having chemo.

When I mentioned this to my nurse she was totally against me taking anything, and I wondered if any of you other ladies have supplemented with extra vitamins or herbs that are particularly recommended for cancer treatment.

I have checked out the herbalist's credentials and she has lots of experience and qualifications. What it probably comes down to is that I feel the need to be involved in my treatment rather than just sitting back while the chemo drugs are delivered.

13 Replies

  • Hi there personally for me Chemo is so hard I wouldnt even have a green tea while having treatment, in fact my oncologist is totally against anything like this. The reason being is that if you suffer nausea, it could be from the chemo or whatever herbs you take or a combination of both. So I agree with my oncologist that chemo is enough. However when you have recovered from treatment it could be an option for you to consider then. I am sorry you may not like my reply but I speak for myself

  • The issue with these products is that nobody knows for certain what is in them ,let alone if or two what extent they might interact with chemo.If you were to become ill during chemo it would also be really difficult for the doctors to tell whether this is the supplements ,an interaction or something else entirely. While you are having chemo try to avoid anything else.

    I do so hope your treatment is successful.

    Love and hugs xxx

  • I appreciate your reply, and understand where you are coming from.

    Perhaps waiting until after chemo is the way to go.

  • I agree wit the other ladies, when I asked my oncologist and CNS about other supplements or herbal remedies they both were against it during my treatment.

    Best wishes



  • Yes I have already decided that if I trust my oncologist (which I do) it would be stupid and counter productive to ignore his advice.

  • The docs only know what they do, that is chemo and ops. They are not trained in integrative supportive medicine. Do you have Chris Woolams book? I am off to see dr Wendy denning an integrative doctor soon, but I would do certain things like dandelion, medical mushrooms. Not sure I would do pro biotics whilst on chemo. I will find out more and post again once I have seen her.

  • Yes I am currently coming to the end of Chris Woolams book and I really like what he has to say, and it makes a lot of sense.

    The thing is, my chemo is being arranged at a hospital local to me, and I don't really have the resources or energy to shop around for a more integrative treatment. It would be very awkward after having been told not to supplement if I had issues in the future and had to admit that I had gone against medical advice.

    I will definitely be following Chris's regime after the chemo, in the hope of delaying or preventing a re occurence of the OC.

  • I've taken multivitamin pills and some herbal sweets to suck that help with nausea while on chemo and the nurses and oncologists have been fine with that. Opinions do differ and you should tell the docs before you take anything as herbs can interact with allopathic medication. If you see a herbalist they need to know everything you are taking. I think the problem is that the qualifications will be from other herbalists, I wish there was more interaction and communication between these professions.

  • I had a Macmillan information sheet on Diet and Chemotherapy and one of the banned foods was probiotics or any kind of live yogurt, so I think there must be good reason to avoid them.

  • I took live yoghurt throughout my treatment which has always helped my digestion particularly after the removal of my sigmoid colon. My Oncologist was fine with it, however sure she would veto anything herbal. I have also had accupuncture continuously which my Oncologist recommended to help with stress, tiredness etc. just done Pilates!! It works for me. Good luck :)

  • I take vitamin B, C and a multi, just because I always have and I think it has helped me maintain some nutritional balance when the chemo robs my appetite. I've heard Vit D3 is a good immune booster. I have some but not sure whether to take them yet or not. xx

  • Vitamins and supplements can interact with different chemos and lessen efficacy. And like they boost the good cells, they can also boost the cancer cells you are trying to kill. My oncologist (I'm in the US) said a simple multi-vitamin during treatment, nothing more. Google your particular treatment for interactions with supplements. I stopped turmeric and peppermint too.

  • OK thanks for that. More research to do. I can't think what I did all day before I had cancer, now I seem to spend all my time reading books and the internet|

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