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There can be little doubt that herbs are very potent and powerful. Although, as yet, research is limited on herbs, it is growing and many are shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties without the damaging side-effects of drugs.

Here are twenty herbs that just might help your fight against cancer. You will be pleased to know, even after May 1st 2011, you can still have them prescribed and made for you by experts working with CANCERactive. This article was prepared with help from two of the UK´s top herbalists, Alan Hopking and David Broom.

1. Astragalus (Huang Qi)

when having Radiotherapy doubled survival times.

2. Berberis Family (e.g. Podophyllum peltanum)

, was shown in research to outperform brain cancer drug, Temozolomide in vitro. It was also shown to act synergistically with it and improve its efficacy.

3. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Research shows consistent anti-neoplastic activity of against breast and skin cancers; and has proven useful with sarcomas.

4. Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus)

The active ingredients of has been found to be the ruscogenins which have tumour-shrinking and anti-oestrogenic abilities. Thus its use in the treatment of breast cancer.

5. Cat's Claw (Uncaria tormentosa)

is an adaptogen and powerful immuno-stimulant, it enhances the white cells clean up process (phagocytosis). It is an excellent companion to astragalus, curcumin and echinacea. Research indicates it can reduce tumour size, particularly with skin cancers. It also helps reduce the side-effects of chemo and radiotherapy.

6. Chaparral (Larrea mexicana)

Cancer Watch covered a major research study from the US which heaped praise on . It appears to boost the immune system, stop metastases and reduce tumour size. Seems especially interesting with breast cancer and is another ingredient in Black Salve. It is also an anti-oxidant and anti-microbial, with low toxicity.

7. Curcumin (Turmeric)

has been shown to have significant anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity. That alone seems enough for certain hospitals in America to consider using it in the treatment of polyps and colon cancer. However new research shows that it can both shrink cancer tumours and inhibit blood supply growth to tumours. It is a powerful antioxidant with liver protective benefits, and outperformed several anti-inflammatory drugs without side-effects in research.

8. Dang Shen Root (Codonopsis pilosula)

increases both the white blood cell and red blood cell levels, so can be extremely helpful to patients having chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or to patients whose cancer diminishes levels of either.

9. Echinacea

is a known immune system booster, it gained a populist reputation in treating colds. There is research on its helpfulness with brain tumours apart from its abilities to increase the levels of certain immune white cells in the body.

10. Feverfew

caused a storm when research from Rochester University in New York showed it to be more effective than the drug cytarabine in killing leukaemia cells. The US Food and Drug Agency put the active ingredient, parthenolide, on to its fast track programme. Nothing has yet been heard. But then, the FDA has never approved a herb for use as a cancer treatment.

11. Goldenseal

One cause of stomach cancer can be the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This burrows into the mucous lining of the stomach to hide from gastric acids, and then causes irritation, acid reflux, ulcers and even cancer. .

12. Milk Thistle

Known for years to be helpful in strengthening the liver, has now been shown to be capable of protecting the liver during chemotherapy. Research in America showed that leukaemia patients who took milk thistle had reduced liver toxicity and chemo side-effects. There is a little evidence that it has its own anti-cancer activity too.

13. Pau D'Arco

was original thought to be a strong anti-cancer agent, but then its actions were clarified as strongly anti-bacterial, anti-yeast and anti-microbial. That alone might be enough in some cases of cancer cause. But new research on the differing ingredients has shown the quinoids possess immune strengthening abilities and seem to help in cases of blood and lymph cancers.

14. Red Clover

Research from a number of cancer centres including the Royal Marsden has shown potential as a part of a treatment programme against oestrogen-driven cancers, from breast to prostate. One active ingredient in the so-called Herb of Hippocrates is the anti-oestrogen Genistein, which Professor Powles formerly of the Royal Marsden dubbed 'the anti-oestrogen'.

15. Sheep's Sorrel

Used in Essiac and other herbal remedies, is a cleanser and aids healthy tissue regeneration. There is some suggestion from research that it helps normalise damaged cells and tissue. It is also a highly praised 'vermifuge' - intestinal worms have little or no resistance to this herb.

16. Skullcap (Scutellaria barbata)

Research has shown that is effective against many cancer types, for example against cancers of the lung, stomach and intestines.

17. Sutherlandia (Cancer Bush)

Peer reviewed research studies indicate that is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It boosts the immune system and inhibits Tumour Necrosis Factor, known to drive wasting in cancer patients.

18. Thorwax, or Hare's Ear (Bulpleurum scorzoneraefolium)

Research has shown ability to enhance the production of natural interferon and it seems especially useful in bone cancer.

19. Wheatgrass

One of the top private hospitals in South East Asia extols the benefits of freshly juiced . One shot gives you the chlorophyll of some 12 or more kilograms of broccoli. It acts as a blood purifier, and liver and kidney cleansing agent. In research, after two weeks of daily use, blood and tissue oxygen levels improve, as does circulation.

20. Sweet Wormwood

has been shown to have direct anti-cancer properties.

Note: Please be clear, no one is saying these herbs are not without any side-effects. Equally they may conflict with some drugs. The important point is that we are still discovering many of their benefits, albeit very slowly, because individual local herbalists just do not have the funds to conduct large scale clinical trials like the drugs companies do. You should seriously consider the usefulness of herbs as a part of your integrative cancer-fighting programme. They just might make a serious difference to your health. But please make sure you go to an expert medical herbalist for clear and informed advice.

Article byYolanda Hall