SEARCH
SEARCH DIRECTORY
The UK’s integrative cancer care charityHelpline 0870 163 2990
<
menu
This window has opened in a new tab in your browser. Your Search Results can still be seen in the original tab. You can keep several tabs open if you wish, or simply close each one as you finish reading it.
Important Information:
Yes to Life's website content is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information is for educational and informational purposes only and has not been reviewed by medical doctors or oncologists. Cancer is a highly complex group of diseases, and it is known to manifest differently in different people, often responding more favourably to individualised approaches to treatment and care. Yes to Life advocates that any person diagnosed with, or suspected of having, cancer, consults with a suitably qualified and experienced medical professional before initiating any type of therapy or supportive treatment. Click here to read our full Disclaimer.
Medicinal Herbs
Also Known As:
Phytomedicine, botanical medicine, herbal medicine, plant medicine
Summary:

Medicinal herbs refers to the use of plants for prevention and treatment of diseases. Medicinal herbs can help prevent cancer, or it can help you heal from it if you already have cancerous tumours in your body. But being “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe to take. Just like conventional medicines, herbal medicines have an effect on the body, and can be potentially harmful if not used correctly.

Description:

Medicinal herbs refers to the use of plants for prevention and treatment of diseases. (1) There is an answer in nature for every challenge that humans and our animal companions face. Cancer is no different. Medicinal herbs can help prevent cancer, or it can help you heal from it if you already have cancerous tumours in your body. Using cancer fighting herbs along with an alkaline based diet can help you reverse the cause of cancer and stop it from coming back again. (11)

It is estimated that every 18 months, the entire cellular structure of our bodies is replaced. Even with significant pharmaceutical developments, new cancer therapies have a serious flaw, in that  cancer cells develop resistance to the drug used for the treatment, according to Professor Paul Workman of Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Cancer Therapeutics. Therefore, despite all the advances in pharmaceutical medical science, there is something in our body that has a natural reversion to old type-models. (9)

In the Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a specific concept for tumour, but not for cancer. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that tumour can be caused by internal and external factors. Internal factors include qi stagnation and blockage of qi in internal organs in the body. External factors include toxins from the environment. From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, cancer is the manifestation of an underlying imbalance, and a tumour is the uppermost branch of the illness, but not the root. (8)

More than 30% of the entire plant species, at one time or other, have been used for medicinal purposes. It has been estimated that in developed countries such as United States, plant drugs constitute a much as 25% of the total drugs, while in fast developing countries such as China and India, the contribution is as much as 80%. Chinese, Indian, Arabian and other traditional systems of medicines make extensive use of about 5,000 plants. (7)

Medicinal herbs and their derivative phytocompounds are being increasingly recognised as useful complementary treatments for cancer. A large volume of clinical studies has reported the beneficial effects of herbal medicines on the survival, immune modulation, and quality of life of cancer patients, when these herbal medicines are used in combination with conventional therapeutics. A range of clinical studies have indicated that a spectrum of anti-cancer activities from various herbal medicines can be detected. (3)

Medicinal Herbs with Anti-Cancer Properties

  • Artemisinin (Qing Hao Su)
  • Ashwagandha
  • Asparagus (Tian Men Dong)
  • Astragalus (Huang Qi)
  • Bee propolis and pollen
  • Berberis
  • Bloodroot
  • Brahmi
  • Burdock root
  • Butchers’ Broom
  • Cat’s Claw
  • Chamomile
  • Chaparral
  • Curry Leaves
  • Dang Shen
  • Echinacea
  • Essiac (herbal blend)
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Feverfew
  • Flax Seeds
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Gingko
  • Ginseng
  • Goldenseal
  • Guduchi
  • Holy Basil
  • Indian Rhubarb
  • Lavender Flower
  • Licorice (Gan Cao)
  • Milk thistle
  • Mistletoe
  • Moringa Tree
  • Neem
  • Noni
  • Parsley
  • Pau D’arco
  • Poria (Fu Ling)
  • Red clover
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Saint John’s wort
  • Sanjeevani
  • Saw palmetto
  • Skullcap (Huang Qin)
  • Sheep Sorrel
  • Slippery Elm
  • Snake-Needle Grass (Bai Hua She She Ca)
  • Sutherlandia
  • Sweet Wormwood
  • Thyme
  • Thorowax (Hare’s ear)
  • Turmeric (Curcumin)
  • Ukrain (Chelidonium)
  • Valerian Root
  • Wheatgrass
History:

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.

In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favour of pharmaceutical drugs. Around a quarter of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals. The World Health Organisation has estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care.

Plants have long been recognised for their therapeutic properties. For centuries, indigenous cultures around the world have used traditional herbal medicine to treat a myriad of maladies. By contrast, the rise of the modern pharmaceutical industry in the past century has been based on exploiting individual active compounds with precise modes of action. This surge has yielded highly effective drugs that are widely used in the clinic, including many plant natural products and analogues derived from these products, but has fallen short of delivering effective cures for complex human diseases with complicated causes, such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases. While the plant kingdom continues to serve as an important source for chemical entities supporting drug discovery, the rich traditions of herbal medicine developed by trial and error on human subjects over thousands of years contain invaluable biomedical information just waiting to be uncovered using modern scientific approaches. (2)

Notes:

Herbal medicines are those with active ingredients made from plant parts, but being “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe to take. Just like conventional medicines, herbal medicines have an effect on the body, and can be potentially harmful if not used correctly. They should therefore be used with the same care and respect as conventional medicines. (4)

Most herbs have not been completely tested to see how well they work or to see if they interact with other herbs, supplements, medicines, or foods. Products added to herbal preparations may also cause interactions. (5)

We live in a world of manufactured medicines and prescriptions. But a lot of us now are turning back to the medicinal plants and herbal remedies that can heal and boost physical and mental wellbeing. But the power of these medicinal herbs is still being explored. They aren’t a cure for everything; in fact, many carry the same risks and side effects as manufactured medicines. Many of them are sold with false promises. Avoid using herbs for infants and children and for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. (6)

Research in a developing field of medicine known as integrative oncology is attempting to understand which complementary therapies, including herbal medicines, are safe and effective to combine with conventional cancer treatments. Herbs are generally recognised as safe but patients must remember that herbal remedies are still a type of medicine. Research on herbs suggests they may help to:

  • Boost the immune system
  • Ease cancer symptoms
  • Reduce treatment side effects
  • Slow cancer spreading (metastasis)
  • Attack cancer cells (10)

Medicinal plants are categorised based on the parts of the plant used: whole plan, root, stem, bark, leaf, flower, fruit and seed. Several formulations  like herbal  teas,  extracts,  decoctions,  infusions,  tinctures,  etc are prepared from medicinal plants. (7)

Science:

(1) Herbal Medicine Today: Clinical and Research Issues, Fabio Firenzuoli and Luigi Gori, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 Sep; 4(Suppl 1): 37–40. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

(2) Li FS, Weng JK. Demystifying traditional herbal medicine with modern approach. Nat Plants. 2017;3:17109. Published 2017 Jul 31. doi:10.1038/nplants.2017.109  https://www.nature.com/articles/nplants2017109

(3) Therapeutic Applications of Herbal Medicines for Cancer Patients, Shu-Yi Yin, Wen-Chi Wei, Feng-Yin Jian and Ning-Sun Yang, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 302426. Published online 2013 Jul 11 

(7) Medicinal Plants, P. P. Joy, J. Thomas, Samuel Mathew, Baby P. Skaria, KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station

Other sources:

(4) NHS Herbal Medicines

(5) A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY

(6) Nature’s 9 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants and the Science Behind Them , Healthline

(8) Chinese Medicine Treatment for Cancer, The Traditional Chinese Medicine Simple

(9) A Review of Herbs and Cancer, Cancer Active

(10) Is Herbal Medicine Effective in Cancer Care?

(11) Herbal Remedies for Cancer

Supplemental:
Banned and restricted herbal ingredients according to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-banned-or-restricted-herbal-ingredients-for-medicinal-use/banned-and-restricted-herbal-ingredients

Costs:

Cost varies according to treatment plan.



Last Updated:28/05/2020
Reseacher: April Ozlem Moss
Report An Error
Report An Error

Practitioners
+
Integrative Cancer Support was founded by Dr Heidi Kussmann, a licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, with a degree in Naturopathic Medicine (ND) from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and a board certification in Oncology from the American Board of Natuopathic Oncology. ...
Kathryn Alexander
Australia
Kathryn Alexander specialises in the field of detoxification and dietary healing, qualifying as a Dietary Therapist in 1987, having studied under Dr Lawrence Plaskett at the College of Dietary Therapy, London. ...
Manuela Malaguti Boyle
Australia
Manuela Boyle is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, and has a background in evidence-base integrative cancer care therapies. ...
Carolina Brooks
London, UK
Carolina Brooks is a fully certified functional medicine practitioner (IFMCP) and has also studied Naturopathy, Nutritional Therapy, Herbal Medicine, Auricular Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine ...
Nadia Brydon
UK - England (South East)
Nadia has been involved in Complementary and Alternative Medicine for over 20 years. Her roles currently include Acupuncture and nutrition classes, consulting and lecturing. ...
Hannah Charman
Highley, UK
Hannah Charman BSc MNIMH is based at her home clinic in south Shropshire, and works online with patients all over the UK. ...
Dr Dietlind Elsner
Bransford, UK - England (Midlands)
Dr Dietlind Elsner is a registered anthroposophic workng as a Natural Therapist at The Fold. ...
Dr Chris Etheridge
Epping, UK - England (South East)
Chris Etheridge is an Integrated Health Specialist and the director of Integrated Cancer Healthcare, a holistic cancer information consultancy. Chris ...
Dr Chris Etheridge
London, UK - England (South East)
Chris Etheridge is an Integrated Health Specialist and the director of Integrated Cancer Healthcare, a holistic cancer information consultancy. Chris ...
Dr Nina Fuller-Shavel
Stockbridge, UK England (SouthEast)
Dr Nina Fuller-Shavel MA Hons (Cantab) MB BChir IFMCP DipIM PG Cert DipION is a GMC-registered Functional and Integrative Medicine Doctor ...
Carol Granger
London, UK - England (South East)
Carol Granger is a registered nutritional therapist and herbalist. She previously worked in bioscience research and medical technology for 20 years ...
Dr. Andrew David Greenland
Twickenham, England
Dr Andrew Greenland is a fully qualified medical doctor, who continues to work as an NHS Consultant. ...
Dr Charles Innes
London, UK - England (South East)
Dr Innes is a holistic medical doctor who has been practising complementary medicine since 1992, using herbalism and homeopathy ...
Dr Milind Jani
Brighton & Hove, UK - England (South East)
Dr Milind Jani was brought up in Uganda, East Africa, studied medicine in Gujarat Northern India and has practiced medicine in the UK ...
Dr Julian Kenyon
Twyford, UK
A medical practitioner working in Integrated Medicine, Dr Julian Kenyon was the founding partner of the Centre for Study of Complementary Medicine in ...
Alex Laird
London, UK
Alex is a medical herbalist in London who worked with Breast Cancer Haven UK for 20 years. She is also the tutor-practitioner at the UK’s first herbal clinic in hospital dermatology at Whipps Cross Hospital ...
Dr Max Mackay-James
UK
His clinical interests are specific to cancer genetics, inherited cancer, cancer screening and the introduction of complex genetic tests into clinical care. ...
Dr Thomas Marshall-Manifold
Wimbledon, UK - England (South East)
Thomas Marshall-Manifold has been practising complimentary medicine for more than 35 years. In that time he has achieved numerous qualifications in the field of natural health ...
Henry McGrath
Bristol, UK
Henry McGrath specialises in working with people who have serious chronic diseases, such as cancer ...
Dr Sally Moorcroft
UK
Dr Sally Moorcroft is a GMC registered doctor with 20 years of clinical experience who specialises in Functional and Integrative Medicine. ...
Danny O'Rawe
Belfast, UK - Nothern Ireland
Danny O’Rawe at the Belfast Herbalist holds an MSc in Herbal Medicine and is a Registered Naturopath with the General Naturopathic Council ...
Owen Okie
Lochbroom, Scotland UK
Owen Okie is a Medical Herbalist, Counsellor, Heart Math Provider, Energy Healer and Mountain Guide. ...
Kate Scott
Berkshire, UK - England (South West)
Kate Scott is a Medical Herbalist and have an Honours degree in Herbal medicine with over 20 years expereince working with herbs. ...
Dr Rajendra Sharma
UK
Dr Rajendra Sharma is an Integrated Medical Doctor utilising conventional, Complementary, and Functional Medicine ...
Dr Xandria Williams
London, United Kingdom
Xandria Williams studied chemistry at Imperial College London (BSc, ARCS, and DIC) and at Otago University New Zealand (MSc). She has been in private ...
Clinics
+
Belfast Herbalist
Belfast, UK - Nothern Ireland
Belfast Herbalist is a clinic run by Danny O’Rawe, a private practitioner specialising in herbal medicine. ...
Clear Health Inn
Saskatchewan, Canada
Clear Health Inn is founded on the principles of best health care centred on the physical, psychological, and spiritual qualities and needs that make each of us unique offering a range of proven alternative health treatments using state of the art equipment and products. ...
Da Vinci Natural Health Center
Larnaca, Cyprus
Dr Georgiou, or Dr George as he is often known, is the Founder and Director of the Da Vinci Holistic Health Centre in Larnaca, Cyprus which specialises in Holistic Medicine ...
Elysia Therapeutic Centre
Stourbridge, UK
The Elysia Therapeutic Centre is a complementary health clinic providing a broad range of therapeutic practice, including Mistletoe Therapy. ...
Epping Clinic of Herbal Medicine
Epping, UK - England (South East)
Medical herbalist Chris Etheridge supports cancer patients during treatment with dietary and lifestyle advice, together with in-depth recommendations ...
Herbal Abode Medical Herbalist
London, UK - England (South East)
Herbal Abode Medical Herbalist (no connection to any similar name) founded by T Cruz. Many years in healthcare and an upbringing of living holistically with nature to gaining a degree in herbal medicine with honours ...
Integrated Medicine Clinic
Maidstone, UK
Dr Christine Suppelt is a fully qualified and GMC registered doctor, trained in conventional as well as holistic medicine at Integrated Medicine Clinic. ...
Klinik St. George
Bad Aibling, Germany
Klinik St George is an integrated clinic offering conventional medicine (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and nutritional supplements, ...
Mederi Center Clinic
Ashland, USA
Mederi Center clinicians practice a whole system, unitive approach called Mederi Care (otherwise known as Eclectic Triphasic Medical System or ETMS) ...
Optimum Health Centre
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Optimum Health Centre was established in 1987 and offers a wholistic natural approach to restoring and promoting health, utilising minimally invasive procedures and nontoxic agents ...
Pacific Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
Bellingham, United States
Run by Dr Rachelle Herdman, ND, MD; the practice is devoted exclusively to Naturopathic Medicine, blending medical sciences and traditional healing arts. ...
Richmond Alternative Medical Clinic
Richmond, Canada
The Richmond Alternative Medical Clinic is run by Dr Martin Kwok, ND, MSAOM, RAC. Dr Kwok established the clinic in 1997 ...
Rosa Medica Clinic
Cheddar, UK - England (South East)
Rosalind Blackwell is a doctor of naturopathy, medical herbalist and clinic director at the Rosa Medica Clinic ...
Vibrant Health
Potters Bar, UK - England (South East)
Vibrant health Spa specialises in detoxification, and cell regeneration. It is the only Colon Hydrotherapy recognised School in the UK to teach ...
Vital Health Naturopathic Clinic
Vernon, Canada
Vital Health Naturopathic Clinic provides a broad range of natural services including allergy testing, acupuncture, IV therapy, and herbal medicine. ...
Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine
Wimbledon, UK - England (South East)
Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine offers a tailored combination of natural treatment and medicine specifically developed by Dr Thomas Marshall-Manifold ...
Information & Advice
+
Cancer Decisions
Lemont, United States
A Moss Report assists with educating a cancer patient about any promising alternative treatments for their particular condition. Please see the website for costs of downloading or ordering a printed copy of each Moss report. ...
Cancer Information and Support Society (CISS)
St Leonards, Global (ie: web based)
CISS promotes non-toxic holistic medicine. The educational organisation promotes prevention, self-help and freedom of choice in therapies for cancer...
Cancer Options Ltd
Nottingham, Global (ie: web based)
Led by Patricia Peat, an experienced oncology nurse, Cancer Options offers support and information on orthodox treatments, clinical trials and developments worldwide. ...
Canhelp Inc
Livingstone, United States
CANHELP serves patients and/or family members who wish to take an active part in the healing process and are willing to think outside the conventional medical box. ...
Health Creation
Bath, Global (ie: web based)
Health Creation aims to change the focus in healthcare from the current emphasis on disease management to that of Health Creation, through widespread ...
Yes to Life
London, UK - England (South East)
Yes to Life is a charity that offers support to people with cancer in the UK who want to take a proactive role in their treatment ...
Organisations
+
Cavendish Cancer Care
Sheffield, UK
Cavendish Cancer Care are an independent charity which was established in 1991, and gives free emotional support and complementary therapies to families affected by cancer in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. ...
Suppliers
+
Amrita Nutrition
Totley, UK
Amrita Nutrition is collaborating with the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (ANP) ...
Bio-Health Ltd
Rochester, England
Bio-Health Ltd was started in 1981 for the purpose of initiating the first range of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements free from additives ...
Bristol Botanicals Ltd
Bristol, England
Established since 1994, Bristol Botanicals Ltd has been supplying high grade botanicals to businesses, healthcare professionals ...
Clouds Trust
Liss, Global (ie: web based)
Clouds Trust is a charity devoted to the complementary care of those diagnosed with cancer through the distribution of Essiac (Rene Caisse Herbal Tea) products. ...
Evolution Organics
Oxford, UK - England (South East)
Founded in 2009 by Henry Maitland, Evolution Organics provides high-quality organic health food supplements ...
G Baldwin & Co
London, England
London’s oldest herbalist, established in 1844, has adapted to the expanding health food market ...
Heirloom & Perennial Ltd
Liskerrett, England
A small company owned and run by Andy Hill. Seed is open-pollinated, meaning that you can grow your own seed to use next year ...
Herbal Haven
Saffron Walden, England
Herbal Haven is a family run specialist herb nursery growing over 250 plants and has been running this farm for ...
Hybrid Herbs
Redhill, UK
Hybrid Herbs offer 100% natural, vegan, cruelty free products that are produced with ethical and sustainable practices, and have little to no impact to the environment ...
Indigo Herbs
Glastonbury, England
Offering an online Health Guide profiling plants traditionally used in Western Herbalism, Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, South American Medicine, Siberian Shamanism ...
Jekka's Herb Farm
Alveston, England
A family-run herb farm with over 30 years of experience in growing and using medicinal and culinary herb plants and seeds ...
Lewtress Natural Health Ltd
Llandysul, Wales
Lewtress make and supply the highest quality of products worldwide. Lewtress guarantee no fillers, only pure high potency botanicals ...
MCS Formulas B.V
The Netherlands
MCS Formulas B.V was developed as a means of bridging the gap between traditional and modern day (allopathic) medicine and to offer solutions provided by nature—and backed by scientific enquiry ...
Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Ramona, USA
Mary’s Heirloom Seeds is a small business created from a desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. ...
Mind Nutrition Ltd
Belvedere, England
Mind Nutrition Ltd stock a large range of natural nootropics and supplements. They work with independent and accredited laboratories ...
Na'vi Organics
Argyll, Scotland
Na’vi Organics offer organic superfoods, supplements, medicines and well-being products. ...
Nature's Best
Tunbridge Wells, England
Established in 1981, Nature’s Best Health Product was one of the UK’s first suppliers of high-quality nutritional supplements. ...
Norfolk Herbs
Dereham, England
Norfolk Herbs grow and supply naturally raised culinary, medicinal and aromatic herb plants and is a family business for over 25 years. ...
Organic Herb Trading Company
Milverton, England
UK’s leading supplier of organic herbs, spices and botanicals. ...
Organic Herbal Remedies Ltd
Cornwall, England
No artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides are used to grow their herbs. ...
Poyntzfield Herb Nursery
Ross & Cromarty, Scotland
Poyntzfield Herb Nursery is situated on the Black Isle, a low peninsula surrounded by sea lochs, hills and mountains ...
Schwabe Pharma (UK)
Marlow, England
Schwabe Pharma UK is part of the Dr Willmar Schwabe Group, which includes Schwabe Pharmaceuticals. ...
Specialist Herbal Supplies
Portslade, England
Specialist Herbal Supplies was started by Malcolm Simmonds in 1982 when he started producing herbal supplements ...
The Herb Patch
Ebchester, England
The Herb Patch is a family run Herb Nursery in the Derwent Valley, on the border of Northumberland/Durham ...
The Wild Pharma
Heathfield, England
An online business with a database of knowledge and experience run by a practising Herbalist. They run their herbal business in an Earth-conscious ...
Vital Herbs
UK
Vital Herbs seeks to source mushrooms and herbs of the highest quality and where possible, organic origin. ...
Woodland Herbs
Glasgow, Scotland
Woodland Herbs is a Herbal Dispensary and Complementary Medicine Centre based in Glasgow, Scotland, ...