Traditional Chinese medicine is an alternative health care system being practiced in China since ages. It uses the interaction between mind, body and environment to prevent and heal diseases. It is based on the theory that there is a life force called “qi” (pronounced as chi), which travels through the body and illness is caused due to imbalance of qi. Cancer is also considered a result of underlying imbalance of this life force.

Chinese medicine system uses thousands of substances extracted from plant, animal, or mineral origin, mostly herbs. Chinese medicine uses a varied range of therapies for healing purpose. It use different therapies including herbal remedies, diet, massage therapy, osteopathic manipulation, breathing, deep relaxation, acupressure, acupuncture, tai chi and moxibustion. Moxibustion uses burning cone of dried herbs.

Chinese medicine practitioners diagnose the disease by examining tongue, eyes, skin colour and complexion, pulse, abdomen and breathing of the patient.  Chinese herbs used in cancer treatment can be classified in three categories- tonic herbs, toxin-clearing herb and blood activating herbs. Tonic herbs increase the function of immune system after radiation therapy. Toxin-clearing herbs help to reduce tumors by clearing germs and waste products out of the body. Kelp is one such herb. Blood activating herbs are used to reduce coagulation and inflammation. Blood tonic Tang kuei or Angelica sinensis has been reported to show good results in treating cancer of the esophagus and liver. Cancer patients are also advised to avoid raw food, sugar, cold dairy foods, shellfish and citrus.

There are no strong scientific evidences suggesting Chinese medicine as a good alternative treatment for cancer. If used along with conventional cancer treatment, Chinese medicines can prove beneficial for cancer patients.

Uses of Chinese Medicine in Cancer Treatment

Chinese medicines are used to prevent and heal illness including dreaded disease like cancer. It improves immune system and quality of life. It also improves creativity by infusing confidence and overall health. Some reports suggest that some Chinese herbs can help to treat cancer or to control symptoms of disease. It also helps to reduce side effects of conventional treatment.

Side Effects of Chinese Medicines

Chinese medicines are considered to be safe as they are herbal. But some herbs can produce serious and harmful side effects. Some herbs can also interfere with conventional cancer treatment. Some herbs can cause miscarriage, if taken in large quantities. Pregnant and breast-feeding patients should tell the herbal practitioner about their condition and consult their doctor before using any herbal product.

Patients should buy Chinese medicines from a fully qualified herbal practitioner. Patients should consult their oncologist before using Chinese herbal remedies.