5 Natural Remedies for Coping with the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Oct 04, 2017

Cancer in itself is bad enough, but cancer treatments often cause the need for additional medical care. But, there are natural remedies that can help treat and even prevent the side effects of chemotherapy. If you find yourself in the position of needing chemotherapy, be sure to eat enough calories and protein and consider trying natural cures for chemotherapy side effects like ginger, baking soda, caraway seed, acupuncture, and probiotics.

What Exactly Is Chemotherapy?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define chemotherapy as the use of drugs to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer cells; however, the term is most often used to refer to cancer-killing drugs. The treatments are typically given by mouth or via injection so that the medicine is able to travel through the bloodstream throughout the entire body.

For treating cancer, chemotherapy is often given in cycles and may be combined with radiation therapy. Cycles may last one day, several days, or even a few weeks or more. Typically, patients are given a rest period between cycles during which their bodies can recover and their blood counts return to normal.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is considered a cytotoxic drug as it actually kills cells to treat the underlying condition. While chemotherapy “targets” cells that divide quickly to make new cells or in other words cancer cells, some of your other bodily cells, like those in your bone marrow, hair, and gastrointestinal tract, also divide quickly. With that, these “healthy body cells” are also often damaged or killed when you are undergoing treatment.

As chemotherapy is such an aggressive treatment that has the potential to damage healthy body cells, it often causes a number of side effects. The NIH lists the following as some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy:

-Impaired immune function
-Fatigue
-Excessive bleeding
-Nerve pain
-Dry mouth
-Oral swelling
-Poor appetite
-Weight loss
-Nausea
-Diarrhea
-Vomiting
-Hair loss

Can Natural Remedies Help with the Aftereffect of Chemotherapy and Radiation?

While chemotherapy treatment is often unavoidable, you can utilize natural remedies to help your body cope with the side effects of chemo and other cancer treatments. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and to get regular exercise to preserve your energy levels. Additionally, you can use supplemental treatments, such as ginger, baking soda, caraway seed, acupuncture, and probiotics, to combat the aftereffects of chemotherapy.

1. Ginger

One suggestion offered by the Cancer Cure Foundation is to take ginger to help fight nausea. Ginger contains specific compounds that help calm and soothe your stomach so that you do not feel nauseous. If you have trouble with nausea during treatments, try holding a slice of fresh ginger in your mouth during treatment and chew on it whenever you become nauseous.

2. Baking Soda

Another symptom that many individuals struggle with is mouth sores. A baking soda rinse can help cleanse and relieve mouth sores. This treatment also helps to balance your body’s pH so that you are actively supporting cancer treatment as well. Gargle a rinse of 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 8 ounces of water.

3. Carraway Seed

Carraway seed is another option for supporting digestive health and treating nausea. This treatment helps promote the effective function of your digestive tract as well as the maintenance of your immune system. Use caraway seed to make tea to sip following your treatment.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a supportive treatment that helps relieve pain and prevent nausea. The system uses pressure points throughout your body to target and relieve pain.

5. Probiotics

It is especially important to maintain your immune system to combat the various side effects of chemotherapy. Probiotics serve as a supplement to the natural “good bacteria” in your body, so they support immune health and prevent illness. You can take a daily probiotic supplement or eat foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut to boost your natural intake of probiotics.

Keep reading for more natural cures for chemotherapy side effects from our readers below.

References:
Chemo Side Effects - http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/ treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/understandingchemotherapyaguideforpatientsandfamilies/understanding-chemotherapy-chemo-side-effects
Chemotherapy - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002324.htm
Dealing with the Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation - http://www.cancure.org/ help_side_effects.htm
Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects - http://www.cancercare.org/ publications/24-understanding_and_managing_chemotherapy_side_effects#possible-side-effects



Colloidal Silver  

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Posted by Tabby Harris (Us) on 02/03/2017
5 out of 5 stars

My friend had part of his colon taken out recently from cancer. He started chemo after his first treatment. He lost his appetite, had diarrhea so he tried colloidal silver to drink which made his stomach stop hurting. He started back eating and he doesn't have diarrhea for now. Amazing.

Replied by Harrell
Jennings, La
10/04/2017

How much colloidal silver would one drink per day to combat nausea from chemo side effects?


Dry Cough  

Posted by Worry Hubby (Singapore) on 07/26/2012

Can anyone help on what ways or food, to stop or minimise the dry cough during the chemo? Please help.


Fasting  

Posted by Tassi (California) on 03/26/2014

5 yrs ago now, a friend who had lymphoma and tried many holistic remedies, finally decided to have chemo; she was told by her holistic dr:

Before the chemo, fast for 2-3 days, which causes all the normal cells of the body to slow way down but not the cancer cells, so they suck up much more of the chemo than the rest of the cells.

Replied by Tassi
California, US
04/08/2014

I should add, she is doing fine now, healthy and very active. She felt that the fasting technique really helped her suffer very little bad effect from the toxic chemotherapy. She had wanted to achieve a cure with natural methods (she did many things over a couple of years, including many Vitamin C IVs) but kept losing weight and was finally advised by her holistic doctor to go ahead and do the chemotherapy.


General Feedback  

Posted by Worryhubby (Singapore) on 07/09/2012

My wife is having Sore throat after the 3rd day of chemo. And she's feeling kinda feverish too. Temperature currently fine. I myself has a mild flu and am wondering if I'm the one passing to her. Am worried and dont even dare to sleep beside her. I just wanna see if anybody has any idea on what to do. Please help:(

Replied by Lynn
Williamston, Sc
07/09/2012

Try Magic Mouthwash. My father used it during his treatments and it really helped. I think there are some homemade recipes around or her Dr. could give her some.


Salt and Baking Soda Bath  

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Posted by Racer (Hampton, Tn) on 01/24/2010
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This was a letter in which we were talking about my 20 year old and how she became toxic on all her drugs, and my friend sent me this that she had found out many years ago!

--------------------------------

......about your daughter sometimes being "toxic" from all the drugs she has to take. Long ago I went to a wonderful seminar about natural healing. It was taught by a bunch of knowledgeable people in many fields & I learned an important de-tox treatment for people that have been on strong drugs like chemo. This might help your daughter when she gets toxic. It could help to rid her body of some of the drugs:

HERE'S THE SIMPLE RECIPE:

Take one pound of non-iodine TABLE SALT & one pound of BAKING SODA & put these into a hot bath & stir well. Have your daughter get in to the bath tub then keep giving her cups of Hot Raspberry Leaf tea to drink (to help her sweat).

You can add honey or sugar if she likes the tea better sweetened.

Have her stay soaking in the bath for AT LEAST 20 minutes, adding hot water if needed.

This Salt/Soda bath works by sucking some of the toxins out of your system through your skin because the concentration of salt is stronger OUTSIDE your body (in the bath) than INSIDE the body.

The lady who told me about this said there was a florescent green layer of film on top of the bath water after a friend of hers had chemo. Proving that it can suck out toxins.


Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) Remedies  

Posted by Selma (Usa) on 02/15/2014

I have a low platelet count from chemo. What vitamins or food could help?

Replied by Rob
Manhattan
02/15/2014

I posted a whle ago on this..I would like to add AHCC to my recommendations...try the brand with Bioperine..(will help to absorb it better)... go to iHerb and do a seacrch and read the commnents on the different products...

I've tried AHCC and feel it does boost the immune system...unfortunately it is pricey.

Replied by Timh
Ky, Usa
02/16/2014

Selma: For starters try a whole food multivitamin/mineral w/ enzymes supplement for overall support. Add these three super foods to your diet: 1) Raw (as a supplement) or cooked Liver. 2) Blackstrap Molasses. 3) Bee Pollen. The herb Astragalus has a positive affinity to the bone marrow thus improving stem cell function.

Replied by Art
California
02/16/2014

According to these abstracts, melatonin maybe helpful in increasing platelet count as well as other deficits related to chemotherapy:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9066251
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399574
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11862501

Art


White and Red Blood Cell Count Remedies  

Posted by Camara (Md, USA) on 06/21/2010

Unfortunately, I'm going through chemo and wanted to know if there are any natural remedies for keeping my red and white blood cells at a normal level during the treatments.

Replied by Rob
Manhattan, New York
06/22/2010

Astragalus may be a good choice...however do some research to know whether you should take it during or after chemo to rebuild your immune system.

Also Castor Oil packs on the abdomen. Do some research.

Mushrooms formulas with Cordyceps & Reishi can help as well.

Best to you!

Replied by Cameron
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
01/06/2012

My daughter is going through Chemo for Leukemia and we have found some things people may find useful. Note that in Australia children with Cancer are forced into having whatever your Oncologist recommends, we did not submit easily. If you use my recommendations be confident that either the drug has done its job or that your Alternative Remedies are powerful enough. All treatments come with risk and sometimes all will fail, you must educate yourself, I post this for information only, it is what we have done and would do again.

Activated Charcoal, we gave her this 2 hours after treatment to take away the remaining drug and this ensured no side effects from even the most toxic drugs. AC also works for Nausea, overdose and as a compress(see AC posts) a great way to alleviate pain and detox the liver or kidneys.

TBL12, crushed Sea Cucumber essentially, it supported her Bloods, she returned perfect blood results even after very severe treatments. Our Oncologist even admits she was amazing but without acknowedging our home treatment. When we ran out of TBL12 her blood results fell and she lacked some of her normal energy but still nowhere near as bad as all the other Leukemia kids. I would use this personally for any form of Blood Disease as my primary treatment, it has simply been amazing.

Spirulina / Chlorella, both are shown to reverse all sorts of conditions, packed with Vitamins and Minerals, they are literally the perfect food. We put it into capsules but can be mixed with juice, take as much as you can afford. Hundreds of Scientific papers support them.

My last words would be, relax, Juice Organic Fruit and Veges(do not use conventially grown anything, we noticed the difference) get in contact with old friends and family.

Good Luck to anyone who has Cancer, I hope this helps.

Replied by Gavin
Manganui, Northland, New Zealand
01/07/2012

The latest on Leukemia is that there is a substance in fish oil that activates the gene in the cancer cell to commit suicide. It also stops the hair falling out if you're having chemo. So the more fish oil the better.

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Usa
01/08/2012

Gavin, it is important to not forget take Vit-E, 400-800 (mixed natural) to protect the extremely sensitive polyunsaturated fats. And if you want complete protection the E needs some Selenium and some CoQ10 will work right along with all the aforementioned thus GREATLY increasing one's healing potential, especially in cases like cancer and chemo.

my 2 cent addendum.

Replied by A.anunnaki
Mobile, Alabama, Usa
03/08/2012

I've been doing chemo since August of 2011. Before that, I had been eating organic, vegetarian, and kosher for years.

I knew that eating vegetarian, organic, and kosher may not provide me with all I needed to physically deal with going through chemo, so I started rotating out what I would eat.

Every other day, I would eat a portion size of red meat about the size of the palm of my hand, maybe three to four ounces, along with whatever I felt like I could eat that would stay down.

On the day after the red meat day, I would make the attempt to eat about the same amount of white meat--fish, a few ounces of a pork chop, or chicken in a casserole or something like chicken and dumplings.

On the seventh day of the week, whenever it it, I'd pretty much eat whatever I wanted.

This was something I came up with on my own and I was fortunate enough to have doctors who have the mentality of if I feel like eating something and I think it will stay down, eat whatever the hell I want, so I did. I actually gained six pounds during chemo, which the nurses thought was great.

Of course I drank and still am drinking a lot of juice and water, along with eating fruits and vegetables. Some with small seeds can be irritating to the stomach, so that is contingent upon how someone's stomach is doing.

All of that said, I have yet to miss a chemo because of my counts being low or off. I have not had my white counts drop, I have not had my red counts, nor my plasma drop, either. I have not caught every germ coming and going, nor have I had my skin look anything but normal. Sometimes folks doing chemo can have their skin take on an unusual shade of color for them because the chemo affects their blood.

Anyway, I hope that helps someone out there looking to find out more information about how to eat during chemo.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a nutritionist nor a healthcare professional, I am a wife and mom who has been going through chemo for her2 breast cancer. I breastfed all three of my children at least a year, no genetic predisposition for breast cancer because it doesn't run in the family, non-smoker, non-drinker, and no hormone therapy of any kind, no birth control pills, no hormone replacement therapy, no explanation other than I wound up with breast cancer.

Treatments given so far has been one dose of TCH, herceptin, herceptin/taxol, bilateral mastectomy, currently starting CMF and then herceptin for a year.

One of the oral anti-nausea meds gives me vicious hiccups. A teaspoonful of creamy peanut butter works wonders to cure them.

Replied by Susie
Long Island, Ny
09/25/2012

I want to thank all of you for your input. My husband is on his 7th round of chemo and has had minimal side effects so far. His blood numbers are getting to the 'edge' and we want to continue to be active in his care and you have helped! God bless!