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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Natural Remedies For Cancer Treatment Toxicities

By Annie Appleseed Project

Explore Simple, Natural Strategies As Complementary Therapy During Conventional Treatment

Natural Remedies


Reiki (pronounced "ray-kee") is a therapeutic technique in which healing energy is channeled, or conducted, through a practitioner's hands into the person receiving the treatment. It is believed that Reiki brings the body into emotional and spiritual balance, supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.


Yoga is used for fatigue, insomnia, depression, and general quality of life. It can reduce high blood pressure.


Exercise has been studied to reduce fatigue DURING treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Examples: Walking, biking, swimming, etc.


Aromatherapy is used for nausea (being taught at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX). It can stimulate lymphatic flow, reduce fatigue, and anxiety.


  • Lavender for headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure

  • Orange for insomnia, constipation, depression, and anxiety

  • Peppermint as a digestive aid

  • Rosemary for fatigue

  • Ylang-Ylang for calming


Acupuncture is used for reducing nausea, fatigue, keeping blood counts normalized, and much more.

Protection for Radiotherapy


In vitro studies showed that curcumin increases tumor cell apoptosis, decreases cell growth rate, and reduces the number of clonogenic cells in a dose-dependent manner.

Hiroshi Inano at the Research Center for Radiation Safety, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Japan, says the results are very interesting and that he hopes to be able to use curcumin in clinical application, particularly given its low toxicity and strong antioxidant activity. (12/10/2002; Lancet Oncology)


Calendula is highly effective for the prevention of acute dermatitis of grade 2 or higher and should be proposed for patients undergoing postoperative irradiation for breast cancer. (Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 22, No 8 (April 15), 2004: pp. 1447-1453)


Treatment of mice with abana before irradiation caused a significant depletion in lipid peroxidation followed by a significant elevation in GSH concentration in the liver of mice at day 31 post-irradiation. Abana scavenged •OH, DPPH, ABTS•+ and NO• in a concentration dependent manner in vitro. Our results indicate that the radioprotective activity of abana, a polyherbal drug, may be due to free radical scavenging and increased GSH level in irradiated mice. (British Journal of Radiology (2004) 77, 1027-1035)

Tea Extracts

Tea extracts are an efficient, broadly available treatment option for patients suffering from acute radiation-induced skin toxicity. “The molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects are complex, and most likely not exclusively dependent on effects of tea polyphenols such as epigallocatechin-gallate.” (BMC Medicine 2006, 4:28 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-4-28)

Remedies for Insomnia

Poppy Seeds

Include poppy seeds in your diet: they are a natural sleep aid.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are “more likely to attract the sand man than warm milk, a book or Lavender scents on the pillow."

Butternut Squash Seeds

Like turkey, butternut squash seeds and pumpkin seeds have high concentrations of the compounds that tend to make guests sluggish after a Thanksgiving meal.


Herbs such as magnesium and skull cap valerian with calcium are great remedies for insomnia.

Massage & Baths

Self-massage, starting with the soles of your feet. Hypnotize yourself, feel total relaxation, and then move on up. Take a warm bath in which you add a couple of drops of one or more essential oils such as orange blossom, meadowsweet, or hops. (Dana Ullman, Homeopath)


Wool blankets are better able to regulate skin and body temperature than synthetic blankets. A comfortable comforter may help you sleep better.


Taking 1 teaspoon of raw, organic honey before bed may help you sleep better.


A mantra is usually a one or two syllable word that you repeat over and over and over again. You use it as a way to calm the mind. Using a mantra can also clear the mind and encourage sleep.


Use music to relax.



“Our results indicate that the behavioral symptoms of neuropathic pain states can be treated successfully, and that partial to complete reversal of associated morphological and neurochemical changes is achievable with artemin." (Nature Medicine November 2003 Volume 9 Number 11 pp 1383–1389)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can help! "The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms. Huge doses of vitamin B12 can penetrate the intestinal wall. (But) B12 deficiency is an uncommon cause of burning feet." (From an article by syndicated columnist Dr. Paul Donohue, To Your Health, in the Palm Beach Post.)


"Urea containing preparation appears to be an excellent choice for the prevention and treatment of capecitabine induced hand foot syndrome. This minimizes drug delays, schedule interruptions, and maintains the dose density. Owing to reduced morbidity, the drug tolerance and acceptance is considerably improved.” (ASCO 2004 Abstract No: 8105)

Oral Glutamine

Oral Glutamine is “effective for preventing Oxaliplatin-induced Neuropathy in Colorectal cancer patients." (The Oncologist, Vol. 12, No. 3, 312-319, March 2007; doi:10.1634/theoncologist.12-3-312)


A study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has found that acupuncture can reduce pain and peripheral neuropathy in HIV-infected individuals, especially when treatment is directed at a patient's specific symptoms. (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2004;10(3):449-455.)


While nerve conduction velocity did not improve, vibration perception increased. Clinical symptoms also improved in groups treated with acetyl-L-carnitine compared to placebo. Participants who received 1,000 milligrams acetyl-L-carnitine thrice daily demonstrated significant improvement in pain at the study’s midpoint and conclusion.

Vitamin E

Neuroprotective Conclusion: “Supplementation of patients receiving cisplatin chemotherapy with vitamin E decreases the incidence and severity of peripheral neurotoxicity.” (Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 21, Issue 5 (March), 2003: 927-931)


Ginger, ginger, ginger – recent studies PROVE it! Use it, even if on meds.

This article was shared with Annie Appleseed Project's permission and was originally compiled from studies and articles that can be found on Resources, Support, & Events:


Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month



July 19,  10:00 a.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

July 15 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET


Art Therapy

August 5, 6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

August 13, 11:30 a.m. ET


Forest Bathing

August 13,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

August 20,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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