Homeopathic Remedies for Cancer

Man holding a dropper bottle of medicine

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Homeopathy (or homeopathic medicine) is a form of alternative medicine based on the theory that "like cures like." According to homeopathic philosophy, an illness can be cured by a substance that generates symptoms typical of that very illness.

Homeopathic remedies are primarily sourced from plants, herbs, minerals, or animal products. These substances are highly diluted during the formulation of homeopathic remedies so that ultimately there are very few molecules of the original substance remaining. In homeopathy, the more diluted a substance, the more powerfully it's believed to boost the body's innate self-healing response.

Homeopathic Remedies for Cancer

In treating people coping with cancer, homeopathic physicians often aim to stimulate immunity, lessen pain, and improve energy and overall well-being. Homeopathic remedies are also used to address the side effects of conventional cancer treatment, such as nausea, hot flashes, infections, and sores.

Those interested in complementing cancer care with homeopathy should first consult their oncologist about any potential health risks.

Research

Although there's a lack of clinical trials on homeopathy and cancer, a pair of studies published in 2006 explored homeopathy's effects on cancer growth. In one report, researchers found that homeopathic remedies appeared to slow the progression of cancer and reduce cancer incidence in rats injected with prostate cancer cells. However, the second study showed that homeopathic remedies failed to inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells.

Given this lack of evidence on the use of homeopathic remedies in people with cancer, it's critical not to attempt to self-treat cancer with homeopathy.

In a research review published in 2009, scientists sized up eight studies on the use of homeopathic remedies in the treatment of cancer-treatment-related side effects. One included study suggested that Traumeel S (a mouth rinse containing several homeopathic medicines) may alleviate mouth sores caused by chemotherapy. However, the review's authors also found that homeopathic remedies had no benefit over placebo in several of the other studies.

Caveats

While nutritional supplements are largely unregulated, homeopathic drugs are somewhat different in that they must follow good manufacturing practices and must be approved by the Homœopathic Pharmacopœia Convention of the United States. Still, it's crucial to consult your oncologist if you're considering using homeopathy for cancer-related complications.

The safety of homeopathic drugs in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Using Homeopathic Remedies

Due to a lack of supporting research, homeopathic remedies cannot be recommended for the prevention or treatment of cancer or any related condition or complication.

If you're considering the use of homeopathy for any condition, it's crucial that you talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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  1. Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009 15;(2):CD004845. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004845.pub2

  2. Jonas WB, Gaddipati JP, Rajeshkumar NV, Sharma A, Thangapazham RL, Warren J, Singh AK, Ives JA, Olsen C, Mog SR, Maheshwari RK. Can homeopathic treatment slow prostate cancer growth? Integrative Cancer Therapies 2006 5(4):343-9. doi:10.1177/1534735406294225

  3. Thangapazham RL, Gaddipati JP, Rajeshkumar NV, Sharma A, Singh AK, Ives JA, Maheshwari RK, Jonas WB. Homeopathic medicines do not alter growth and gene expression in prostate and breast cancer cells in vitro. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2006 5(4):356-61. doi:10.1177/1534735406294224