How Do I Choose the Best Herbal Treatment for Leukemia?

Meshell Powell

Choosing the best herbal treatment for leukemia often requires a bit of trial and error because each person responds differently to the different herbs. Some of the most popular supplements among those who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer include olive leaf, milk thistle, and licorice root. Ginseng, garlic, and aloe vera are also popular cancer-fighting herbs. There are possible side effects associated with any herbal treatment for leukemia, so it is important to consult a doctor before beginning any new treatment program. It is also important to remember that an herbal treatment for leukemia works best when combined with traditional treatment methods and should not be used as a substitute for proper medical care.

Samples of blood from a healthy person and from one with leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
Samples of blood from a healthy person and from one with leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Olive leaf extract is a popular herbal treatment for leukemia due to its reported ability to boost the immune system. Some health experts also believe that chemicals found within this herb contain natural cancer-fighting properties. Possible side effects of olive leaf extract include headaches, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.

Licorice root contains a chemical believed to be effective in the treatment of leukemia.
Licorice root contains a chemical believed to be effective in the treatment of leukemia.

Milk thistle is widely used as an herbal treatment for leukemia. Traditionally used to treat liver disorders, this herb is believed by many to be beneficial for those with leukemia. Side effects of milk thistle may include abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.

Licorice root and ginseng are sometimes used to treat those with leukemia and other types of cancer. A chemical found in licorice root is thought to actually kill cancer cells and reduce the rate of replication. Headache, high blood pressure, and fluid retention may occur among those using licorice root as part of an herbal treatment program. Ginseng is believed to slow the growth of cancer cells and improve the overall function of the immune system. Potential side effects of ginseng include insomnia, stomach upset, or abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Garlic and aloe vera may be helpful additions to the diet of those with leukemia. Used for centuries as a natural blood purifier, garlic may help the body fight blood cancers such as leukemia. Side effects of this herb are quite rare but may include headaches, heartburn, or body odor. Aloe vera is perhaps best known for its healing effects on the skin, but some studies have shown that it may also work to detoxify the blood. Taken in moderate doses, aloe vera seems to be safe for most people, although digestive or kidney problems may occur if too much is taken.

Patients with leukemia should consult their physician before using any herbal supplements.
Patients with leukemia should consult their physician before using any herbal supplements.

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