Thursday, November 21, 2013

Multiple health benefit-Lose weight,prevent heart disease,cancer,Diabetes and many more health disorders

How if we discover a single solution for multiple health disorders?The main health problems and threats we face in today's time are deadly diseases like cancer and Heart disorders,Obesity ,Blood pressure, Diabetes, hyper tension and many more. Life threatening disease cancer can be developed at any part of the body. Day by day a new type of cancer is discovered! The only best thing we can do for our body is to keep it immune from any such diseases or health complications. Let me repeat a saying- Prevention is better than cure !

Losing weight fast was never an alarming concern few decades back. Reason- Lifestyle was more or less as per the nature's basic rules. There were no fast food chains like we have today. There was lesser stress.

Let me quickly mention a fact about a popular fast food chain( don't want to name it). Its a bitter truth about french fries. Home made french fries will need potato, oil and some spices. But the ones at these fast food chains contains ammonia( ammonia is also used as toilet cleaners) to preserve for a long long period. There are many other harmful chemicals in it, which can create serious health problems. And please remember the diseases caused by such chemicals are genetic and are transferred to generations too.

I have seen small kids eating such french fries and burgers happily. It wont be a surprise , when they grow up they will run after finding quick ways to lose weight and other therapies for various health disorders.

A single comprehensive solution to stay fit, prevent diseases like cancer, heart trouble, diabetes etc and Losing weight  is absolutely possible with a proper planning and combination of proper healthy diet,exercise, and a balanced lifestyle. Here let me clearly mention a fact that heavy exercise not needed at all. Basic exercise and yoga are quite enough. There are many less known herbs and spices which nature has gifted us, but we are unaware of their benefits and usage.Such herbs and spices can be very well included in our daily diet.

A healthy balanced life style and food habit is a must, but again that doesn't mean that one has to strictly stay away from the tasty mouth watering fast foods, ice-creams and desserts.

I have developed a combination of healthy nutritious diet,some light exercise and limited fast food.

Will post soon.. keep reading..!!

To be continued.............

Does Drinking Lots Of Water Help You Lose Weight - Unknown Facts

Does drinking lots of water help you lose weight? Can it be real? Believe it or not, water does help you in losing some of your weight. Continue reading on to find out the truth about water.

How much weight are we talking about here? It totally depends on how much water you drink. However, do not expect to lose 20 or 30 pounds just by drinking water because that is totally unreal. If it is happens, then most diet companies are not going to make any sales from their products. You probably can get rid of 1 to 3 pounds if you drink enough water. It is achievable if you believe you can.

So how does drinking lots of water help you lose weight? You must be dying to know by now. But first, let me ask you this. Do you eat a lot of unneccessary food during your meal? At certain level, you sometimes eat junk food as well. This happens because you drink less, therefore, you tend to eat a lot. To overcome this problem, start by drinking water a lot before you eat. After two bites or so, make a habit to drink some more. It is common sense, when you drink more, you eat less. Put that in your mind.

Besides that, water can stop you from taking any food at those between meals. Although it sounds funny, sometimes, just by drinking water alone can satisfy your hunger already.

Another function of water is it can help remove the toxic and fat inside your body. In plain english, a plain and boil water can cleanse your body and improve your blood circulation.

But remember, plain and boil water is the water you should drink if you want to lose weight. Drinks like tea, coffee, wine, beer, carbonated drinks and so on will not do you any good.

As you can see, water can really help you to lose some weight. I hope the above article has answered your question on "does drinking lots of water help you lose weight". 
Reference and attributions :

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Innovative, less known facts and ways to lose weight

 Soon I will post few innovative, less known facts and ways to lose weight.

Keep reading.. !!

Weight Loss Tips – Lose Weight Fast

Living a healthy life is the dream of all people in the world, everyone out there wants to live without having any disease or suffering from any medical condition. Fortunately there a great medical scientific advance and there are treatment and ways to prevent most of the diseases in the world. Unfortunately not all people who want to live healthy and know or can know how to do that already do it. This article will only give you few tips about to lose fat fast and make your life healthier, but will you follow?

I always say that the problem of overweight can be solved very easy in most of the people suffering from it by simple changes in the lifestyle, what they eat, what they drink and their daily activity. So here are some changes that you can apply to your life and start seeing a great change in your weight:

1. Drinking Water Is Very Useful To Lose Weight:

I think that you already know that many of the overweight people used to drink junk drinks that add a lot of calories to their blood. But do you know that by changing these drinks to water can make a great change? Yes it is advised to drink about 8 glasses of water every day to make your tissues hydrated and healthy. Being hydrated will help getting rid of toxins from your blood and at the same time help building muscle which is a very good thing to burn fat.

2. Smaller Meals Will Have a Great Benefit:

To make it short you should not ea till you become hungry and when you eat to fill your hunger make sure that you don’t fill your stomach instead. What this means? This means that you will end up with eating more meals but in smaller amount. Remember that we eat to live and we don’t live to eat. It seems that six smaller meals a day is the thing recommended by many nutrition experts.

3. It’s Time to Do Some Hard Exercises:

I think that it will be wise from you if you are looking to this from all the angles. You should not think that you are aiming to achieve is just to have a better looking sexy body but also you want to become healthier and stronger. So when you think of exercising you should consider weight training as it covers all of the above. Weight lifting will help losing fat greatly, help shaping your muscles as best as possible and you will get a stronger body.

It is recommended to give your muscles enough time to recover and build up. Working out three or even two times a week till you reach full failure of your muscles and rest for the other free days should be very enough. So exercise in a day and rest in the next day.

4. Protein in Your Diet:

After doing some weight training your muscles will start to build themselves up and this will require protein. So it is advised to ad protein to your diet to provide your body with its needs of protein. Also protein will give you smaller amount of calories than carbohydrates so there is no risk of gaining weight if you added more protein in your diet. The kind of protein you should eat is like the protein found in eggs, poultry, fish and meat.

Now listen up, as I said before knowing the right information is not enough to lose weight fats but you need to actually apply it to your daily life and don’t lose motivation to lose fat quick.

Reference and attributions :

Incredibly best Foods to Burn Fat stores and then Lose Weight

It is important to note that these foods make you burn fats and not make you lose weight. There is a huge difference between fat loss and weight loss. Dieters should need to be very careful with weight loss without losing fat because it could be that you are only losing the water inside your body and may eventually harm your health.

Finding comfort the meals that can help our bodies burning body fat, you will find many of them. Here are typically the most popular and in all likelihood the top food of burning excess fat:

Eggs * this kind of preferred breakfast time meals is considered as among the best fat reducing foods too. It's got the proportions to emulsify your body extra fat which makes it easier for the entire body to get rid of it straight down and then use it as vitality.

Seafood - this could mean any type of sea foods will make your body to burn fats easily. By eating seafoods the level of hormone known as Leptin is reduced. This hormone is the one responsible for a slow metabolism.

Garlic herb -- this is any wonder foodstuff! Not simply it can help your system burning fat and also assists lower cholesterol levels and reduce the potential risk of center conditions. It can help keep your the hormone insulin in a low level as well as raise the fat burning capacity. Make sure to have a very make-up all set given it may cause your breathing in order to give an impression of garlic clove. This really is 1 meal that should be included in your diet.

Ginger herb * diverse health-related studies along with scientific studies showed that cinnamon can help burn up entire body fatty acids. It is because it will help enlarge the particular bloodstream within the body along with assist in your metabolism. It's also helps soothe a sore throat and never to mention it contributes wonderful flavor within your every day meals.

Green tea - this is another wonder herb that helps that body to burn body fats. In fact, it has the capability to boost the metabolism rate as much as 30%. It also contains anti-oxidant which helps fight aging and green tea is a popular Chinese herb which aids fat loss.

Olive oil - instead of using the usual vegetable or corn oil to fry your food, go for the healthier alternative which is olive oil. It helps fight bad cholesterol in the body hence it is often recommended by health experts and is considered as one of the fat burning foods too. Although it is a lot more expensive than the usual cooking oil; the health benefits are definitely worth the price.

These are some of the food that will assist you burn system fatty acids. It is recommended to eat simply because as a way to assist you to attain your goals involving shedding pounds. In addition to due to the fact, additionally it is recommended to consume far more water because it even offers a great oblique result inside your weight loss plan. Sometimes it's always best to keep yourself hydrated first before eating anything. It will be possible that an individual is simply parched rather than in fact eager.

Reference and attributions :

Guidelines on How to Lose Weight In One Week

you will have to evade several actions to really acquire abilities how you can slim down per week. to begin with, never reckon that passing up on primary a treat help you slim down faster. Any style of diet system that starves you is not substantially effective. don't menace your wellbeing accept the simplest techniques about how exactly to slim down per week effectively.

Purify the body

Detoxing could be the easiest methodology to refine the body rapidly. Cleansing will eliminate the massive most of chemical compounds within your metabolic process. Never the less, you have got to be willing to go to a difficult diet system. you may realize numerous programs which will entail gorging solely 500 calories in an exceedingly single specific given 24 hrs. If you can to adhere to these kinds of laws and regulations, you'll lose body fat faster.

this method will assist you acquire abilities how you'll be able to slim down per week, however it surely can in all probability be draining. Participants are advised that by doing this is extreme. Purification might make agony. An sufficient amount of your time slimming down, the program is not urged.

Furthermore it is essential that you simply contemplate that after you begin cleansing the body and it is organs and circulatory system, it's also wise to turn it into a routine to enhance your next day of day eating designs round the permanent rationale.

Anyone who would really like to learn how to slim down per week seriously should will change his/her eating traits immediately. do not try and eat bad fats in conjunction with sugar-laden sweets. Here are some of daily suggested food groups you need to circumvent to own the power to bear in mind of how you'll slim down per week... - Food obtaining a lot of Trans Fats - Immoderate Carbohydrates - Food product with Excessive Amounts of Salt or Sugar

you'll see how you can slim down per week should you possibly might understand simply what quantity food you wish to absorb from the actual food bunch and that of them to obtain around fully. When the nutritious diet weight-reduction arrange orders you to positively consume approximately degree of 200 grams every single day, move lower throughout the very first some of days each week and come the maximum amount as 200 grams. profit of the strategy sort of a core to find out to slim down per week.

Take Meals and drinks ordinarily

you mustn't miss foods when you are going on a diet. As a substitute, master how you'll slim down per week merely undoubtedly below usual through each a treat time, and alittle quite the same old treat among primary food periods. Continue feeding healthy snacks and don't skip your chief parts. you'll need the ability to boost your metabolic rate quickly in by doing this. Awesome Workout routines

Dodge troubling concerning the way to slim down per week. just in case you get to decision that you simply are dealing with along with your nutritious diet weight-reduction plan, speak with an expert regarding a way to start your strategy right. you'll do that simple exercises very like cycling, and jogging instead of driving your automobile.

Reference and attributions :

How to lose weight in one week with herbal products

How you can slim down in a very single week with herbal things

You will find many alternative ways that herbal remedies will cope with body fat loss. Here's how you'll profit of herbal items to reinforce excess body fat decline.

Initial, you need to grasp a dependable manufacturer to get via. you will realize many firms offered that are looking to supply herbal things and plenty of which do not have high-quality. you can blame the actual plant due to not "working" if it absolutely was not the actual herb's mistake. Uncover an Ough.Ersus. business which has been running a business for many years.

Herbal treatments can't perform my manner through your scenario. the extra weight harm amounts is also the identical. If you are eating precisely what you soften away every day, excess body fat can stay identical. you may still want a caloric deficit to shed pounds. Herbal treatments can help you build it simpler when compared with for anyone who is largely trying to cut consumption of calories and use routine.

Appetite quelling herbal treatments can assist you achieve your debt by resulting in explore since famished. Subsequently, you might consume less food additionally to lose body fat. some wonderful appetite controlling herbal treatments to make use of are sometimes hoodia gordonii gordonii, caralluma fimbriata, materials, cameras pear in addition to sugar-cinnamon. locate these varieties of herbal treatments from the reliable organization. they are ready which will assist you feel a smaller amount famished on a daily basis. one more approach herbal things assist with weight reduction is by thermogenesis. Herbal remedies could a trifle boost the metabolic rate. Obviously, ultimately you wish to workout a day as a result of the best ways to elevate body fat burning capability, nonetheless herbal items will assist you so much too. merely more expensive an enormous massive difference within the event you are never establishing your own personal effort. varied herbal treatments that induce our physiques to get hot and melt away a lot more further body fat are sometimes red-colored pepper cayenne, teas, ginger root, and Korean ginseng.

Having way more muscle tissue signifies developing a bigger metabolic rate daily. you'll realize herbal remedies that can help increase your muscles clearly. you may notice specific problems which will result in a lot of muscle tissue. That incorporates a heap a lot of ingestion concerning proteins along side the higher using proteins. some of nutritional supplements relating to naturally growing muscles are fenugreek along with chromium picolinate. Clearly, you've got to determine likewise as consume proteins way too. you will realize many herbal treatments to limit the amount of body fat the body extremely takes up. this means by consuming body fat your body can likely not soak up along side shop the concept, however instead avoid it waste material. that's an enormous help for those that notice themselves body body fat. Materials natural supplements yet as teas can fix this distinctive.

which will assist you uncover, you will realize several techniques herbal things might facilitate enhance your fat loss efforts. clearly you may notice ripoffs around high are pills which includes little if any using the ingredient, nonetheless, you should not confirm most herbal treatments simply by these activities

Reference and attributions:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Turmeric benefits in cancer

Turmeric & Tumors: How The Spice Can Help

What do head, neck, skin and breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, upset stomachs, Alzheimer’s and melanoma have in common? In scientific studies, turmeric is either proving or showing solid results of kicking all of the above’s ass.
Turmeric is a spice of Asian origins and has a long history of being used as both food flavoring agent and medicine in the Indian subcontinent as well as China. The American Cancer Society confirms that curcumin (an active ingredient in turmeric) demonstrates some anti-cancer effects.
Several types of cancer cells are inhibited by curcumin in the laboratory, and curcumin slows the growth and spread of some cancers in some animal studies. Clinical trials are underway to find out if it can help humans as well.
Curcumin is being studied to find out whether it helps other diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and stomach ulcers. It is also being studied to see whether it can help lower “bad cholesterol” and improve outcome in kidney transplants. A few early studies have been done in humans, but much more human research is still needed to find out if curcumin can be effective in these uses.
From the University of Maryland Medical Center, we learn that this same curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
They go on to note a string of conditions for which turmeric may be of help, including stomach ulcers, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and indigestion.
Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds: Behold Powerful Nutrition!
Several UCLA studies focus on turmeric and curcumin. The first was a 2005 study done by Marilene B. Wang, M.D. and showed that curcumin suppressed the growth of head and neck cancer in mice. Another study in 2010, again conducted on cells and then mice, found that
curcumin suppressed head and neck cancer growth by regulating cell cycling.
Drs. Wang and Eri Srivatsan, Ph.D. have both been studying curcumin and its cancer-fighting properties for over seven years.
Turmeric is also known as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, Medical Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine (Tucson), writes in his paper for the American Academy of Pain Management:
Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available
Referencing a University of Arizona study on rats, Horwitz concludes that
turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis,
in the vermin.
Additionally, curcumin extracts in pill form have been shown to reduce the size of Alzheimer’s-associated brain plaque by 30% in just one week in clinical trials published in the Journal of Neurochemistry.
Related Article: Black Seed: From King Tut to Now
One week! This is just the tip of the iceberg. As more and more research is being done (and turmeric has been a very hot topic as of late), the health benefits of this amazing spice just keep increasing.
ProTip: it’s also great in omelettes.

American Cancer Society: Turmeric
University of Maryland Medical Center: Turmeric
Primary Compound of Turmeric Kicks Off Cancer-Killing Mechanisms in Human Saliva
The Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric
Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis.
Discovered: Indian spice reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms by 30%

Reference and attribution : 

Ayurvedic Medicine as Addiction Treatment

By John Lee: In Ayurvedic medicine, health and well being is achieved by living in harmony with others and with the universe and by maintaining a correct balance of vital life energies in the body.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that there are three types of energies in the body, called doshas. Illness arises out of an imbalance between the doshas and ayurvedic treatments attempt to restore a sense of balance to prevent and treat disease.
Things that skew the doshas out of balance include poor dietary choices, poor lifestyle choices, pollution, relationships with others, aging and other factors.1
The three doshas are:

1. Vata

This is the dosha that controls movement, the nervous system and blood flow. When Vata is out of balance people will experience anxiety and fear. When balanced, they will experience creativity and enthusiasm for life.

2. Pitta

Pitta controls digestion and temperature and other metabolic functions. With an imbalanced pitta dosha people feel anger but with balanced pitta people experience intelligence and contentment.

3. Kapha

Kapha dosha controls immune function and growth. When Kapha is out of balance people experience low self confidence and jealousy but when balanced, people feel loving and compassionate.2

Examples of Ayurvedic Treatments

The treatments you get to restore optimal health and wellness are not related to the condition you have, be it substance abuse, depression or anxiety or any number of physical illnesses.
The treatments you receive will depend instead on your unique imbalance of the doshas and by any disharmony you have with your environment and the people in it. In Ayurvedic medicine, rather than treat the disease or symptoms of illness, these are viewed as signs of imbalance to be eliminated by restoring whole body wellness and balance. By the logic of ayurvedic medicine, there is no one type of treatment for any given condition as 2 people may experience similar symptoms or diseases but have totally different types of imbalances and require totally different types of treatments to restore inner balance and whole body health.3
To understand your personal imbalance of doshas, any Ayurvedic healing program must begin with a comprehensive diagnostic session, which will likely include a medical history, questions about your diet, lifestyle, relationships and environment  and an examination of various parts/systems of your body, such as your fingernails, skin, eyes, tongue, your heart (pulse) and abdomen. You may also be asked to provide urine and stool samples and submit to other medical tests.
Based on your unique profile of doshas you will be prescribed a series of treatments designed to restore balance.
Some examples of Ayurvedic treatments include:
  • Treatments to remove impurities from the body – treatments such as enemas and deep tissue massages may be used to remove toxins and other impurities from the body.
  • Treatments to improve a person’s harmony with the universe – examples of such treatments include exercises to release negative thoughts and emotions and counseling on how to avoid situations that lead to worry or anxiety.
  • Treatments to reduce the symptoms of disease – examples of treatments that are used to reduce the severity of disease symptoms include prescribed meditation exercises, dietary changes, spending time lying in the sun, breathing or stretching exercises and herbal medicines or tonics.
  • Treatments to reduce susceptibility to disease – herbal tonics and mineral tonics4
Caution – a National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine study of 70 over the counter Ayurvedic medicines in 2004 found that 14 contained lead, mercury or arsenic at levels high enough to be harmful.

Ayurveda as Addiction Treatment

Ayurveda is used to help people overcome addictions to nicotine, alcohol and illicit drugs. There is no one set course of treatment for addiction (as everyone’s balance of doshas is unique) but some common elements of an Ayurvedic addiction treatment program are:
  • Therapies to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and to improve overall health and well being, such as cleansing treatments like massage and enemas to remove toxins and impurities from the body.
  • Therapies to improve health and disease resistance – such as herbal medicines and dietary changes
  • Therapies to improve spiritual health and well being, such as meditation, yoga and others.

References and attributes :We thank and  John Lee, Editor - allowing us to use this content on our Blog.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

A HEALTHY TREAT: 7 health benefits of dark chocolate

A HEALTHY TREAT: 7 health benefits of dark chocolate

DARK CHOCOLATE: Delicious, seductive and healthfulWe’re always being told that chocolate isn’t good for us and that it should only be eaten on special occasions because of its high sugar content. But that’s not entirely true. Yes, most chocolates are unhealthy because they have a high sugar content, but some—dark chocolate in particular—have several scientifically-proven health benefits.
Health benefits of dark chocolate

Releases natural pleasure-inducing chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin
Has cardiovascular benefits, such as relaxed blood pressure and lowers the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
Increases blood flow to your brain, reducing the risk of stroke
Rich in antioxidants
Rich in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron
Contains healthy amounts of stimulants, such as caffeine and theobromine
Contains fewer milk ingredients, and some studies have shown that milk with chocolate can result in less absorption of the antioxidants in chocolate

Generally, the rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa in chocolate, the better it is for you. Think of it this way: if you have two equally-sized chocolate bars and one contains more cocoa than the other, it must mean that that same bar must have less sugar, milk, and other ingredients. Cocoa is a natural product derived from cacao beans which grow on cacao trees.

The catch is that for most people, dark chocolate is an acquired taste. Cocoa is naturally bitter, and so the darker the chocolate (or the higher the percentage of cocoa), the more bitter it will be—which explains why many chocolates have low cocoa content and high sugar content!

There is a middle ground. For those who would like to transition from regular to dark chocolate you can purchase organic dark chocolates infused with flavours such as ginger, mint, orange, and berry. These tend to have slightly more sugar than regular dark chocolates but have less sugar than regular chocolate bars. Or you can melt the chocolate and dip your favourite fruit—bananas, strawberries, cherries—in it. They’re a great way to introduce dark chocolate into your diet as you slowly make the shift from the chocolate you’re used to, to the dark chocolate that’s great for your health.

Personally, when I was making the transition and getting used to the added bitterness of higher cocoa content, I turned to organic dark chocolate with crystallized organic ginger—it had the health benefits of organic dark chocolate (minimum 60 per cent organic cocoa solids in the brand that I buy), as well as the benefits of organic ginger.

After a week or so of eating these chocolates, switching to plain dark chocolate should be a piece of cake! Don’t forget that you can opt for organic dark chocolate as well.


Similarities of Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine

Similarities of Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine

What are the characteristics of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine? How are the philosophies of these two eastern medical traditions similar?


1. Chinese Medicine by Brandon Polley

2. Ayurvedic Medicine by Keriane Angress

3.Similarities by Caraline Stephens

4. References

Chinese Medicineacu.jpg

Chinese medicine has a long history of over 3000 years, and is still used today. The way of diagnosis is very different from the Western medical perspective. The Chinese believe in a method of individualizing patients if you will, meaning that each patient receives a different diagnosis, even if the symptoms of the two patients are very similar. Dr. Kenneth Chao says it best in his article, Traditional Chinese Medicine, "In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the understanding of the human body is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism, and the treatment of illness is based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes."

There are two different methods of treating patients through the Chinese method. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are the two key methods. Acupuncture revolves around the idea of Qi or "life energy", and is used to balance this energy throughout the body. According to the Chinese way of medicine, every human being has several meridians spanning across their entire body. Twelve of the meridians connect with the organs in the trunk of the body. Each of the twelve is named for the organ it is connected to. The meridians that flow to the front and rear mid-line of the body contain the acupunctural points. The names and uses of different acupuncture points vary with the specific school or nationality of acupuncture. Acupuncture is used to isolate pain and make the brain aware of an "intruder" of the body. This is done by inserting needles into the skin and either flicking or rotating the needle to create this awareness of the brain. The Qi energy is then concentrated on the area where pain is located and the natural healing then takes effect.

Another key method of Chinese medicine is herbal medicine. This medicinal technique is very different from the acupuncturist technique. The oldest book of Chinese medicinal herbs is the Huang Di Nei Jing. Expert opinions date the book back to between 800 BC and 200 BC. By 220 AD, medical services were established. Professional titles included prescribing physicians, senior physicians, junior physicians, apprentices and pharmacists. By 500 AD, the Materia Medica was published, which contained the first references to properties of herbs and the first classification system for herbs. There were three major categories of herbal classifications:

-Superior Herbs- those which nourish life
-Middle Herbs- those which correct constitution
-Inferior Herbs- those which expel disease

The Materia Medica also sorted herbs by different tastes and temperatures and it warned of toxicities in herbs. Many different plants, animals and minerals were included into the Materia Medica over time.
In 659 AD the first illustrated text of herbs was published. By 1108 AD there were over 1558 entries in the Materia Medica, and by 1596, there were 1892 entries. There are now over 7,767 entries listed in the Encylopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicinal Substances.

Chinese herbal medicine deals with individual diagnoses. The patient visits with the doctor and the doctor then determines the many different symptoms the patient may have. The doctor uses the collaboration of all these symptoms to give the patient their individual diagnosis. For each individual symptom, the Chinese have adopted a way with herbal medicines for each symptom. The caregiver uses the collaboration of symptoms and an enormous library of traditional herbs to treat his/her patient.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurvedic medicine is a whole medical system that began in India about 3,000 years ago. The word Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words. Ayur, which means life, and veda, which means science or knowledge. Thus, the word Ayurveda means "the science of life." Ayur includes the body, senses, mind, and spirit where this comprehensive system of health care is derived from the Vedas. In the United States, Ayurveda is considered complementary and alternative medicine. Many therapies used in Ayurveda are also used on their own as complementary and alternative medicine, such as herbs, minerals, massage, and yoga.
Elements of Ayurveda
Elements of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a whole medical system that is based on various theories about health and illness and on ways to prevent, manage, or treat health problems. In particular, it seems to me that Aurvedic medicine does not treat symptoms like Western medicine does. The aim in Ayurveda is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit ("Ayurvedic Medical System," 1999). This is believed to help prevent illness and promote wellness. Ayurveda also has treatments for specific health problems.

Ayurveda is based on ideas from Hinduism, one of the world's oldest and largest religions, and ancient Persian beliefs. Now, it can also be seen that Ayurveda also shares Buddhist beliefs because Buddhism and Hinduism are closely paralleled religions, but in other ways divergent in theory and practice. In India, Ayurveda has long been the main system of health care, although conventional (Western) medicine is becoming more common there. Ayurveda and variations of it have been practiced for centuries in some other countries as well.

Philosophically, everything in the universe is composed of five elements or the "Pancha Mahabhutas." These include Space (Akash), Air (Vayu), Fire (Tejas), Water (Jala), and Earth (Prithvi). All of these elements combine into the three doshas (Tridoshas): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas are the bioenergetic forces that govern our health and physical constitution or prakriti (Chopra, 2002). The prakriti is a person's unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics and the way the body functions to maintain health. Overall, our constitution refers to a person's general health, the likelihood of becoming out of balance, and the ability to resist and recover from disease or other health problems.

Essentially, Ayurveda teaches us to balance our doshas to preserve our good health. Each dosha is usually paired up with two characteristic elements of Ayurveda. For example, Water and Earth are characteristics of Kapha. Thus, its function is the energy of structure and it is concerned with anabolism, conservation, and stability of the body system ("Ayurvedic Medical System," 1999). With certain foods, activities, or even seasons, certain doshas can be increased or decreased. This will create an unbalance in the body and can possibly create disease. Also, certain bodily functions, organs, and health states are characteristics of certain doshas. In effect, treatments for certain dosha inequalities are specific for certain doshas. An imbalance of a dosha will produce symptoms that are unique to that dosha. Imbalances may be caused by a person's age, unhealthy lifestyle, or diet; too much or too little mental and physical exertion; the seasons; or inadequate protection from the weather, chemicals, or germs.

Ayurvedic treatment uses the most interesting diagnostic techniques and practices out of any type of medicine. It has an "earthiness." Usually diagnosis starts with taking the pulse and the observation of the tongue, eyes, etc. Practitioners confidently believe that there are medicinal qualities in nature and that we should use them (Nalin, 2001). This is mainly regarded in using plants, minerals, tree bark, mud, and other aspects of nature to treat the body. Ayurvedic treatment goals include eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease, and reducing worry and increasing harmony in the patient's life ("A Closer Look at Ayurveda," 2005). In eliminating impurities, a process called panchakarma is intended to cleanse the body by eliminating ama. Ama is described as an undigested food that sticks to tissues, interferes with normal functioning of the body, and leads to disease. Panchakarma focuses on eliminating ama through the digestive tract and the respiratory system. Enemas, massage, medical oils administered in a nasal spray, and other methods may be used. In symptom reduction, options such as physical exercises, stretching, breathing exercises, meditation, massage, lying in the sun, and changing the diet may be used ("A Closer Look at Ayurveda," 2005). Most interestingly, the manipulation of marma points, or energy points, can also provide an effective treatment to releasing toxins and tension. The patient may even take certain herbs with honey, to make them easier to digest. Often times, diets are restricted to certain foods. Very small amounts of metal and mineral preparations, such as gold or iron, also may be given. To resist diseases, a combination of several herbs, proteins, minerals, and vitamins in tonics to improve digestion and increase appetite and immunity may be given. Amazingly, these tonics are based on formulas from ancient texts. This gives this type of medicine credibility because of its practice for thousands of years. Opposed to Western medicine, Ayurveda provides mental and spiritual support of its own kind. More than the medicine itself, Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes mental nurturing and spiritual healing. Practitioners may recommend avoiding situations that cause worry and using techniques that promote negative emotions (Chopra, 2002).

Here is an interesting video from Frontline World that exhibits the diagnosis, treatment, and explanation of Ayurvedic Medicine:


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic have many commonalities, from something as simple as how long each has been around (about 3000 years for both), to diagnostic practices and teachings such as balance. Chinese medicine and Ayurveda also share medical treatments, for example both traditions use herbal remedies. Massage as a form of treatment can also be found in both traditions. Both traditions also share the common idea that healing is holistic and that symptoms can not diagnose a person, the whole person must be examined in order to obtain a proper diagnosis.

Diagnostic Similarities
traditional-chinese-medicine-diagnosis-4.jpgBoth Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine treat ailments in the body from the perspective that when something is wrong there is a problem with the flow of energy, in Chinese medicine this energy is referred to as qi. Practitioners of both Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayruvedic Medicine employ many techniques for diagnosis, they will use their own senses to make some diagnosis based on looking, listening, smelling, asking and touching. (Natural Health Web)

Using the tongue as a diagnostic tool is common in both Ayurvedic medical practice as well as Traditional Chinese medicinal practices. Practitioners of both traditions will examine the tongue of a patient in order to completely diagnose the patient.

Another major diagnostic method, and commonality is the taking of the pulse at the radial artery. This taking of the pulse differs from a Western idea of pulse, in both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine the pulse is take to determine how the flow of energy is in the body. From this pulse the practitioner can determine if the patient has any imbalances. Both traditions see the morning when the body has been at rest as the best time to take a patient's pulse. The positioning of the practitioners hand on the wrist of the patient is the same in both traditions, Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine also each distinguish between different pulses in the wrist. In Ayurvedic medicine for example there are different points on the wrist that correlate to each of the different doshas.

tridosha.gif yy_opposition.jpg
Similarities in Teachings

Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine have similar theoretical teachings. In Chinese medicine it is best when the body is in a balance, that is when Yin and Yang are balanced. Yin describes the cool, wet and feminine, while Yang describes the hot, dry and masculine. If the body does not maintain a balance between Yin and Yang, ailments will occur. The same is true in Ayurvedic medicine, however instead of Yin and Yang the balance is between Vata, Kapha and Pitta, or as group they comprise the three doshas. Like in Chinese medicine, Ayurveda relies on a balance, in this case a balance between the doshas. Just as an imbalance of Yin and Yang can lead to ailment, an imbalance in one of the doshas can lead to sickness.

Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine also share the teaching that lines of energy or meridians connect the vital organs. It is these energy lines that play an important part in diagnosis as well as the flow of balanced energies throughout the body. In Chinese medicine this energy is the qi, the life force.

Similarities in Herbs

In terms of similarities as they pertain to herbs, there are some between the two traditions. The Ayruvedic dosha Kapha is very similar to the concept of Yin in Traditional Chinese medicine, both contain the qualities of moisture and phlegm. Pitta in Ayurveda has a correspondence to fire and qi, most especially the stomach qi in Chinese medicine in herbs both contain warming, supplementing and dispersing qualities. Finally Vatta can be said to correspond somewhat to the Chinese herbal concept of qi, most especially qi or the meridian, lung and kidney, as well as Yang. This is due to the belief that the herbs that invigorate Yang in Chinese medicine are similar to those that invigorate Vata in Ayruveda. (Institute for Traditional Medicine).


It should be noted that practitioners of both traditions are eager to point out the differences in each traditions and do not take fondly to the idea that these traditions are the same. It is not the implication of this site to imply that these two traditions are the same, we have just presented a few similarities between the two.

Reference and attributes

A Closer Look at Ayurvedic Medicine. (2005). CAM at the NIH, 12, Retrieved April
17, 2009 from

Atlas, S.and Palfreman, J. (2007 Nov). India: A Second Opinion [Television Broadcast]. United States: Public Broadcasting Service.

Ayurvedic Medical System. (1999). Retrieved April 21, 2009, from Science of Life Web site:

Ayurvedic Medical System [Image]. (1999). Retrieved April 17, 2009, Image from Science of Life: images/ayurved_elements.jpg

Chopra, A.and Doiphode, VV (2002 Jan). Ayurvedic medicine. Core concept, therapeutic principles, and current relevance.. PubMed, 1, Retrieved April 17,
2009, from

Nalin, Pan (2001). Ayurveda: Art of Being [Film]. United States: Kino International

"Article: Similarities of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda." Natural Health Web. 10 Apr. 2009 from

"Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine and its relation to Chinese Herbal medicine." Institute for Traditional Medicine | ITM | Portland, OR. 15 Apr. 2009 from

Shalom, Eyton (2006 Oct). Ayurveda, the Science of Life [Image]. Retrieved April 20, 2009, Image from Jade Dragon Online:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cayenne pepper remedies for Colon cancer

Cayenne pepper is a superb herbal remedy for heart attacks, but other than that, below are few of its other benefits:

  • It improves the digestion process and the colons are strengthened
  • Locked gases are released easily
  • cayenne pepper improves the blood circulation 
  • If taken properly with other herbs it can prove to be miraculous

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Choosing the most effective alternative therapy for cancer

Cancer statistics continue to rise, despite the advances in conventional treatment. Every year patients are diagnosed with different forms of this often deadly disease, and every year patients look for new and better ways to combat their cancer. Many cancer patients are increasingly searching for less intrusive forms of treatment, investigating natural-based holistic therapies that will help to fight the cancer at its source. These alternative therapies have proven effective in combating the disease itself, as well as providing relief from the nausea and discomfort that accompanies conventional treatments. The natural approach to cancer therapy involves a combination of therapies designed to harness the inherent healing potential of the body, and to encourage the body to begin the process of healing itself.

Alternative, or natural, cancer treatments can be divided into three general types. The most basic form of treatment is through diet and dietary supplements. Conventional and alternative scientific research agrees on one point, and that is that there are certain foods that have been proven to possess cancer fighting attributes. Holistic cancer treatments begin with examining and adjusting the patient's diet, with the aim of increasing the intake of these cancer fighting foods. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, such as garlic, ginger, curcumin, turmeric, and green leafy vegetables can contribute to the body's own ability to fight off cancer. Herbal supplements and vitamins have also been shown to have a positive effect on cancer patients, helping the body to combat the disease naturally. Rosemary, oregano, basil, Omega-3 fatty acids and even vitamin D have all been proven to reduce growth of cancer cells within the body.

The second most common form of alternative cancer treatment involves physical therapy for the body itself. This can include: neurological rebalancing, gentle spinal mobilization and cranial manipulation. These physical therapies can go a long way towards helping cancer patients optimize their organ and gland function along with boosting their immune function. They offer cancer patients a great deal of physical relief, while working to strengthen the patient's body and the mind, adding a renewed energy to the fight against cancer.

Finally, the third prong in the defense against cancer, is perhaps the most difficult to articulate. Spirituality, and the mental state of the patient, plays a large role in the prevention and cure of any illness or disease. For many patients this is the most problematic part of their treatment. Following a dietary regimen, and regular physical therapy is easy compared to plumbing the depths of the human mind, soul and spirit. Alternative health care centers encourage patients to talk openly with spiritual advisers, ministers and therapists as a way of addressing the fears and depression that can come with a cancer diagnosis. By addressing these emotional issues, ministers and therapists help patients develop a strong and healthy attitude toward their illness, and a determination to beat the disease. In this way the mind can be charged with empowering the body to inhibit the growth of the cancer, and to begin the long process of returning the body to health and well-being.

Practitioners of holistic and natural medicine understand that everybody, and every body, is unique. No two therapies will suit any two given patients. Diseases manifest themselves in different patients for different reasons; consequently it becomes necessary to tailor any treatment to the specific individual. Lifestyle, body chemistry and health history will dictate the correct approach for treating any patient's illness. It is for this reason that patients looking for alternative cancer treatments and therapies must recognize the need to consult a holistic physician for a comprehensive analysis that will examine the likely causes of the disease rather than just the disease itself. The patient's unique body chemistry and mind body interface also plays a large role in the design and application of any treatment. Only after a thorough consultation and testing, looking to the source of imbalances physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, can a doctor begin to design the right combination of alternative cancer treatments that is suited to the patient.

The benefits of holistic cancer treatments are manifold, and offer new paths to a potential disease free future. Patients investigating alternative cancer treatments and therapies are encouraged to consult their general practitioner or oncologist along with a holistic alternative healthcare physician when deciding upon any alternative cancer treatment to design a treatment regimen that is best suited to restore your health naturally.

Reference and attributions: Dr. Keith Nemec;

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Remedy for Colon cancer

Habit of eating excessive meat  can cause Colon cancer or the cancer of intestine. The common early symptoms which shouldnt be ignored are improper bowel movements, bleeding during bowel, basically disorders related to indigestion. Let me not go into details of symptoms.

all kind of meat and dairy products should be stopped in the Diet and replaced with raw fruits and vegetables.

Barley grass powder and turmeric powder to be added in warm water and consumed once in morning and once in night.....

Will post more details on Colon cancer cures in my next post.....

Quick Home remedies for cancer

Posting few Home remedies especially for cancer treatment.

  • Walnut: eating walnuts regularly keeps you immune from cancer
  • Bromelain :Intake of 50 gm/ day can prevent cancer
  • Raw honey with cinnamon is effective in treating cancer as described in Ayurveda.
  • Coconut water is effective to treat cancer to small extent. Coconut water has a lot of potassium.
  • Garlic is recognized as one of the effective herb to treat cancer since long, 4 cloves of garlic taken daily is advisable.
Will update with new remedies soon.

Health Benefits of Curcuma amada ( Mango Ginger)

Curcuma amada also commonly known as mango ginger is a plant of the ginger family and is similar to turmeric. The irregular shapes are almost similar to ginger but tastes like a raw mango.

Its quite effective in boosting metabolism,asthma, bronchitis, cough. It has tremendous cancer fighting medicinal values.

Soup recipe of beetroot, ginger and mango ginger is known for cancer curing. Will post the recipe in next post

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Daily routine to stay fit and gain immunity to fight deadly diseases like cancer, heart disorders, Diabetes and many more

Here I would like to mention few tips for a healthy living which can help you keep your immune strong against deadly diseases like cancer, heart disorders, digestive disorders in the long run. If we follow certain daily routines these disorders will remain away from our body for a long long time. Basically the main rule is to keep the body and mind totally immune. Few are quite common tips and few are less known.

  • Wake up early morning and straightway drink a glass of warm water with honey, lemon and dry ginger powder.
  • Break fast to be taken as routine as per your choice, include dry fruits like walnut
  • 1 hour before lunch again take a glass of water, this time just add dry ginger powder and drink it.
  • Lunch could be routine as per your choice, but include garlic, ginger salad and turmeric. Ginger and turmeric( not in powder form) can be cut in to pieces and lemon juice and salt can be added. Ginger and turmeric has many health benefits. Turmeric is a super herb to fight against cancer cell.
  • Take some fruits after 2-4 hours of lunch
  • 2- 3 hours before the dinner 4 black pepper can be swallowed with water. Regular doing this will clean your intestines. All impurities will be flushed out soon.
  • Dinner to be taken very light as per the routine as per your choice, but should be very light.
  • Before sleep Harde or triphala which are the wonder ayurvedic herbs can be taken( those who have digestive disorders in high levels)

A very important point need to be followed strictly:  develop a habit of  keeping a water bottle always near you. Keep drinking water in small sips whenever you get a chance. small sips of water at 15-20 mins interval is the best.

These were the very simple day to day tips, very easy to follow. I will keep posting new information on natural remedies.

The small things mentioned here will strengthened your immune to fight deadly diseases like cancer and heart disorders, diabetes, obesity and many others.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The popularity of complementary and alternative medicine has grown in western countries over the last few decades. Substances like tinnitus herbs are commonly used without medical guidance or under medical guidance by individuals. The role of alternative and complementary medicine or a natural approach to tinnitus will usually concentrate on vitamin supplements, tinnitus herbs, antioxidants and other remedies. The increased popularity of this natural and alternative approach for tinnitus is a result of the poor results from conventional mainstream medicine's approach to tinnitus treatment. At present there is not a drug specifically for tinnitus treatment and the concoction of drugs commonly used yield little to no benefit.

Despite the large number of people affected and it's potential life style effects tinnitus still remains a relatively poorly understood condition influenced by many causative factors and whose physiological mechanisms remain largely unknown. This is largely due to the subjective nature of tinnitus and the lack of knowledge of its mechanisms, treatment of tinnitus has been somewhat limited, surrounded by controversy and often unfortunately unsuccessful.

The use of drugs on tinnitus as a treatment is a difficult task. Although the effect of many pharmaceutical substances on tinnitus has been documented and many are recommended for tinnitus treatment. Presently there is no specific medication recommended soley for the purpose of treating tinnitus. The usually prescribed drugs include anti-seizure, sedatives, antidepressants, local anesthetics, antihistamines, anti psychotics and botulism toxin A. All have been touted as cures but usually they provide inconsistent or poor results.

A large amount of anecdotal evidence exists for natural tinnitus remedies with the scientific literature slowly catching up to support these claims. Some of the usual ingredients for tinnitus remedies are vitamin A, various B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium, zinc and manganese plus vitamin E. These are usual in natural tinnitus treatments in varying mix and dosage. It is believed that a vitamin or mineral deficiency results in the malfunctioning of the body and the resultant tinnitus.

Tinnitus herbs and other herbal remedies can be viewed as powerful natural drugs that can exert strong therapeutic effect. Many people may feel that a natural substance would be unable to help them, they may think it needs to be something more special or man made to have any benefit. Herbal are safer to use than pharmaceutical drugs and most of the time when used properly they are just as effective, if not more effective for the treatment of some conditions. Probably the most popular herb used for tinnitus is Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is relative inexpensive, has no side effects and has been shown to help alleviate tinnitus in some individuals. It is believe to help increase blood supply to certain areas of the ear and this improves the health of those areas and stops the tinnitus.

The complex nature of tinnitus often results in inconsistent results for sufferers seeking a single remedy or solution for their tinnitus. Certainly a natural approach is the best avenue of treatment to pursue. A total body approach that involves more than just tinnitus herbs and remedies will provide the best chance of correcting the problem causing the tinnitus. When we move away from treating the body symptomatically and focus on a holistic solution this enables us to have the best probability at correcting the cause of the tinnitus and obtaining real lasting results.

Reference :


Graviola- A wonder Herb for Cancer treatment

Graviola is an enjoyable cancer choice remedy which medicinal properties have been regarded for hundreds of years by the native population of Amazon. Researches have been ongoing on graviola considering that 1940s, and even now several pharmaceutical industries and universities are continued to investigate the hidden healing power of this miracle herb.

Anti-cancerous results of graviola have been demonstrated in several vitro studies, and mainly because of its regular utilization it is touted as cancer fighting herbal supplement. Graviola's leaves, bark, seeds and fruit possess various well being marketing attributes that can be valuable for wide variety of overall health issues.

Graviola consists of several active compounds and chemical compounds which have many therapeutic properties 1 of them is normal phytochemicals regarded as annonaceous acetogenins which is the major concentrate of researchers. Some researches have confirmed that annonaceous acetogenins has potent anti-tumor properties and exhibit selective toxic property from tumor cells.

Other medical scientific tests also demonstrated the effective anticancerous, antitumorous, and antiviral properties of annonaceous acetogenins.Modern studies have found that natural compounds of graviola, acetogenins have superb house to inhibit the enzyme processes that are specifically current in membrane of cancerous cells. Via this mechanism of action they are toxic for cancerous cells and do not produce toxicity in healthy cells.

Purdue University published a promising information in 1997, that Annonaceous acetogenins are not only effective in destroying tumor cells but also have ability to exhibit resistance to anti-cancer agents and look to have a distinctive affinity for these resistant cells.

Countrywide Cancer Institute has been also explored the toxic results of graviola against cancerous cells in its plant screening application in 1976. In this plant screening application, it is illustrated that graviola stem and leaves demonstrated energetic toxic effects against cancer cells.

In numerous vitro clinical trials, it has been studied that distinct phytochemical acetogenins that are found in graviola herb, have been demonstrated their selective poisonous results from several cancerous cells like lung carcinoma cell lines, prostate adenocarcinoma, breast tumor lines, liver cancer cell lines, pancreatic carcinoma cell lines, colon adenocarcinoma cell lines and multi-drug resistant breast adenocarcinoma.

Other clinical findings executed by experts of Taiwan proposed that at very minimal dosages, annonaceous acetogenins of graviola exhibited very poisonous effects specially to ovarian, breast, cervical, bladder and skin cancer cell lines.Alongside with the antitumourous results of graviola, it is also found out that the compound annonaceous acetogenins which are discovered in graviola herb, also exhibit antiparasitic, insecticidal, and antimicrobial pursuits.

The graviola (Annona muricata) leaves possess antioxidant prospective and perform a function as an effective radical scavenger and augments its therapeutic effects. A different clinical study on graviola also suggests that alkaloids current in graviola fruit showed antidepressants effects in animals.Graviola cancer remedy is however under investigation, but it is evidently inspiring that it is utilised globe broadly for its likely to remedy severe conditions.

Graviola extracts, Graviola powder other and Graviola nutritional supplements are effortlessly obtainable to advertise ideal overall health and can be taken as common well being tonic. But however more specific scientists are essential to be conducted on graviola to demonstrate that graviola is an supreme cancer heal.

Ref & Acknowledgement ( with permission under creative commons license) :

Urine Therapy

Today I am going to write some thing on urine therapy which is considered quite ancient in alternative medical treatments.

Urine has many industrial and agricultural uses because of its main constituent urea. Although there is no scientific evidence of the therapeutic properties of urine it is still consumed in many parts of the world.

Urine and urea have been claimed by some practitioners to have an anti-cancer effect. It has been hypothesized that because some cancer cell antigens are transferred through urine, through "oral autourotherapy" these antigens could be introduced to the immune system that might then create antibodies.

According to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not support claims that urine or urea given in any form is helpful for cancer patients
The discredited cancer treatment offered by the Burzynski Clinic was initially synthesized from urine collected in a Texas park.
Urine has anti-cancer medicinal properties, however there is no supportive scientific evidence that it is useful in curing cancer.

Famous figures like Indian prime minister Morarji Desai and British actress sarah miles are known for drinking their own urine for many ailments.

Ref: Wikipedia

Herbal medicines and acupuncture for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease among women worldwide with annual rates of reported incidence and death increasing alarmingly. Chemotherapy is a recommended and effective treatment option for breast cancer; however, the narrow therapeutic indices and varied side effects of currently approved drugs present major hurdles in increasing its effectiveness. An increasing number of literature evidence indicate that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in treatment-related symptom control and alleviation of side effects plays an important role in increasing survival rate and quality of life in breast cancer patients.

This review focuses on the use of herbal medicines and acupuncture in palliative care and as adjuvants in the treatment of breast cancer. Herbal medicinal treatments, the correlation of clinical use with demonstrated in vitro and in vivo mechanisms of action, and the use of certain acupoints in acupuncture are summarized. The aim of this review is to facilitate an understanding of the current practice and usefulness of herbal medicine and acupuncture as adjuvants in breast cancer therapy.

1. Introduction

Breast cancer remains to be the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide with the rate of reported incidence and mortality increasing annually [1, 2]. In the past decade, women with tumors between stages I and II increased from 41% to 65%, 80% of which are invasive tumors originating from ductal carcinoma and its variants [3]. Current early detection methods allow breast cancer to be diagnosed at an early stage when successful treatment is more likely. Multiple agencies and organizations around the world support mammography as the most reliable way to detect breast cancer at an early stage, particularly in women aged 50 years and older [4, 5]. About 70% of breast cancers express estrogen hormone receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR), and these markers along with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) and proliferation marker Ki-67 provide information about tumor grade and possible response to different treatments [6].

Although several treatment options are currently available including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, specific treatment strategies depend on characteristics such as tumor grade, hormone receptor status, metastatic potential, and molecular and patient profile [7]. Chemotherapy is still the most commonly used and recommended treatment option for breast cancer, either by using a single compound or combination therapy with multiple drugs [8]. However, chemotherapeutic drugs have narrow therapeutic indices resulting in nonselective toxic effects on normal tissues, thus increasing the risk of infection. Although chemotherapy and radiotherapy are effective against breast cancer, they are accompanied by varied side effects including vasomotor syndrome (occurring in up to 80% of patients), nausea and vomiting (75%), postmastectomy edema (30–60%), arthralgia (over 40%), neutropenia, cachexia, fatigue, pain, hair loss, hot flushes, and psychological stress, which present major hurdles in increasing the effectiveness of cancer therapy [7–10].

Palliative care is an important aspect of cancer therapy that centers on the relief of pain and other symptoms related to cancer and its treatment. It aims to improve the patient’s quality of life (QOL) and can be administered along with curative treatment. Pharmacological interventions that reduce or prevent adverse side effects and increase chemosensitivity may have a substantial impact on cancer treatment and palliative care. Though the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by cancer patients is not part of conventional cancer palliative care regimens in some countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of cancer patients use CAM, in one form or another, for these purposes [11]. According to the WHO definition, the term CAM is used interchangeably with “traditional medicine” and refers to a broad set of health care practices, including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, herbal preparations, vitamins, homeopathic remedies, music therapy, and other psychological, physical, and spiritual techniques [12–14]. The effectiveness of CAM is primarily based on empirical evidence and case studies however, in the recent years, the increasing amount of supporting data from controlled clinical trials relating CAM use to overall quality of life and safety has dramatically increased [15–17].

These supportive measures are supposed to control symptoms, improve QOL, boost the immune system, decrease cytotoxicity to normal cells, and possibly prolong life [17–20]. It may also be important to note that the integration of CAM into palliative care and cancer treatment regimens is influenced by culture [21]. One multicenter study that reported oncology professionals’ attitude towards CAM concluded that in European countries, for example, CAM therapies commonly include mistletoe extracts, vitamin supplementation, and phytoestrogens, and only an approximately 4% of Scandinavian health practitioners, in contrast to the 20% German doctors, believe that CAM use has a positive role in adjuvant treatment of cancer patients [22]. Traditional oriental medicine systems (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Ayurvedic), spiritualism, hypnosis, aromatherapy, and acupuncture represent the widespread use of these CAM practices in the region [23]. In particular, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Taiwan operate a two-tiered medical system of integrative medicine, and CAM is fully integrated into national health, education, and insurance policies [16, 24, 25]. On the other hand, though not integrated in current oncological practice, 16% to 63% of North American cancer patients are reported to commonly use acupuncture, hypnosis, and spiritualism, as well as vitamin therapies and botanicals. In one population survey, 75% agreed that combining conventional medical treatment and CAM was preferable to using either alone [26, 27]. The apparent widespread use of CAM worldwide and its (erroneous or otherwise) association with minimal or zero risk means that there is a significant need to do further studies to gain an understanding of the pharmacodynamic interactions between chemotherapeutic drugs and herbal components and the effects of either component and dosing regimens in cancer treatment and palliative care [28, 29].

Among cancer patients, CAM is used more frequently by breast cancer patients with an estimated use by 45% of patients across different treatment stages [30, 31]. In one survey done among long-term breast cancer survivors (on average, 8.7 years after-diagnosis), more than 50% believed that CAM use could prevent cancer recurrence (69%), play an active role in recovery (67%), and help to manage stress (64%) [32]. Evidence gathered from recent randomized control trials (RCTs) demonstrates that herbal medicines and chemopreventive phytochemicals in combination with chemotherapeutic agents are effective in sensitizing cancer cells to treatment and minimizing the side effects arising from conventional therapy, thus increasing patient survival rate and QOL [18, 33–40].

In addition to herbal medicine, acupuncture has also become a popular complementary treatment in oncology, particularly as patients seek nonpharmacological alternatives to provide symptom control. A review of recent RCTs of acupuncture in oncology suggests that it has a promising role in controlling a wide variety of cancer and treatment-related symptoms. The evidence currently available suggests that acupuncture is a safe, low cost, and effective therapy, which further permits cancer patients to actively participate in their own care plan [41].

Several reviews had been done in the past on the use of either herbal medicine or acupuncture [42–47]; however, a comprehensive review of clinical trials utilizing either of these CAM methods in palliative care of breast cancer patients had not been done yet. This review focuses on the use of herbal medicine treatments, either as single herbs or combinations, and acupuncture in palliative care and as adjuvants in combination with chemo- or radiotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer based on recently conducted or completed RCTs. The correlation between clinical use, in vitro mechanistic and in vivo animal studies of herbal medicine, and the effectiveness of acupuncture with the use of certain acupoints in breast cancer patients is summarized and is aimed at facilitating an understanding of current practices involving the use of herbal medicine and acupuncture as adjuvants in breast cancer therapy.

2. Methods

An electronic search for previously published articles was conducted in PubMed, the Cochrane Database, the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (, and the US National Institutes of Health ( databases to find relevant studies published up until February 2013 (inclusive). The search included the following specific medical subject heading (MeSH) terms: breast cancer, AND/OR breast neoplasms, AND/OR adjuvant chemo/radiotherapies, AND/OR herbal medicine, AND/OR acupuncture, AND/OR acupuncture points in addition to relevant text keywords comprising the following words in combination: cancer palliative care, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal formulation, phytoagent, and acupoints.

The article or study types were limited to clinical trials (Phases I to IV), controlled clinical trials, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The titles and abstracts of all retrieved citations were read and analyzed. In total, 90 RCTs, either completed or ongoing, were included regardless of blinding. The most common phytoagents, single herbal treatments, herbal formulations, and acupoints used in the retrieved RCTs were singled out. Moreover, an exhaustive search for references regarding in vivo and in vitro studies pertaining to mechanistic actions, acupuncture practices, individual acupoints, treatment-related symptoms, and associated effects was conducted.

Furthermore, the herbal medicine and acupuncture practices included in the most recent RCTs are highlighted in this review because these are generally accepted as constituting the most reliable evidence of treatment effects [48, 49]. RCTs include experiments wherein individuals are randomly allocated to receive or not receive experimental preventive, therapeutic, or diagnostic procedure; they are then followed over a given time period to determine the effects. The RCTs included in this review were either completed or ongoing and are assumed to have complied with health and ethics regulations in the countries where they were conducted. In the following sections, we summarize and describe the results and discuss in some detail the related mechanisms of action and therapeutic effects of these CAM practices as applied in the adjuvant treatment and palliative care of breast cancer patients.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Herbal Medicines as Adjuvant Treatment in Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

The most common complaint among patients receiving chemotherapy treatment is fatigue, which is experienced by 80% to 96% of the patient population [50]. Chemotherapy-induced mucositis and myelosuppression, experienced by almost 40% of patients, are the common, dose-limiting, and costly side effects of cancer therapy [51]. Moreover, cytotoxic chemotherapy suppresses the hematopoietic system, impairing the immune system and limiting the doses of drugs that can be tolerated by the patient [52]. Table 1 summarizes the conventional/approved drugs used in breast cancer chemotherapy together with their major mechanisms of action and most commonly observed side effects [50–63]. Several drugs have been used in combination, for example, cisplatin-methotrexate fluorouracil (CMF), fluorouracil-epirubicin-cyclophosphamide (FEC), and FEC-tamoxifen (FEC-T), supposedly to increase efficacy and reduce side effects. Patients, however, still experience fatigue, phlebitis, alopecia, nausea, mucositis, anemia, and myelosuppression alongside long-term side effects including ovarian failure, weight gain, cardiac dysfunction, and, in some cases, leukemia [64, 65]. Herbal medicines and natural supplements are widely used in cancer chemoprevention in the clinic and are also studied in vitro and in vivo [66, 67].

3.1.1. Traditional Chinese Medicines Composed of Multiple Herbs

In traditional medicinal systems, herbal medicines are used often to treat the symptoms associated with cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment [68]. Herbal formulations used in TCM include mixtures of herbal compounds constituted as decoctions, tea, injections, or capsules, which are purported to possess anticancer compounds and are used alone or as adjuvants to existing chemotherapy regimens to improve efficacy and/or reduce drug-induced toxicity [69]. Although TCM is commonly used to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy, scientific evidence for its use in women with breast cancer still is being collected. Among the most common Chinese medicinal herb formulations used in preclinical and clinical practice for breast cancer treatment are Danggui (Angelica sinensis-radix) and Ren Shen (Panax ginseng-radix), which are reported to have potential beneficial synergistic effects that include decreasing treatment-associated toxicity, psychosocial stress, and fatigue [70]. Jia-wei-xiao-yao-san, commercially known as “Augmented Rambling Powder,” a Chinese medicinal herb formulation containing Danggui, is the most frequently prescribed formula for treating breast cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms by TCM practitioners in Taiwan. This formulation has a long history of use for alleviation of blood toxicity and sleep disturbance. It is also used to relieve hot flushes and lower serum levels of inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-8, and macrophage protein 1-β [71, 72].

LSC101, an encapsulated homogenized mixture of dry powdered extracts from a combination of medicinal herbs, including Astragalus membranaceus, Poriae cocos, Atractylodes macrocephala, Lycium chinense, Ligustrum lucidum, Paeonia lactiflora, Paeonia obovata, Citrus reticulata, Ophiopogon japonicus, Millettia reticulata, Oldenlandia diffusa, Scutellaria barbata, Prunella vulgaris, and Glehnia littoralis, is used widely by breast cancer patients. Its efficacy in attenuating the hematological complications of chemotherapy has been tested in clinical settings [70]. In mouse breast cancer models, the use of LSC101 together with doxorubicin led to significantly higher neutrophil, splenic erythrocyte, and leukocyte counts [71]. In addition, the use of LCS101 together with conventional chemotherapy regimens provided protection against mild to moderate chemotherapy-induced anemia and neutropenia, supporting its use for decreasing hematological toxicity but not cancer prevention [73]. Though it is not yet clear how the compounds in LCS101 reduce hematological toxicity, it is suspected that the interactions and synergistic effects of the active compounds from the combination of herbs may be responsible for the pronounced efficacy [74]. Some of the component herbs, for example, Ophiopogon japonicus and Astragalus membranaceus, in LSC101 have been independently shown to stimulate the production of erythroid progenitor cells in mice and promote recovery of hematopoietic function in patients with chronic aplastic anemia [75]. A TCM formulation composed of five herbs, commonly known as “Ruyiping” and “Runing II,” is used as treatment for detoxification and preventing relapse, recurrence, and metastasis in breast cancer patients after mastectomy [76]. Clinical evidence suggests that the mechanism of action of this herbal formulation is via inhibition of angiogenesis and downregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor as well as microvessel count (MVC) and micro-vessel area (MVA) [75, 76].

Shenqi Fuzheng Injection (SFI), a TCM formulation used in repairing immune function at the cellular and molecular levels, is also effective in alleviating myelosuppression and GI tract reaction induced by chemotherapy and surgical operation [77]. In clinical evaluations, the protein expressions of CD83, CD80, and CD86 in patients’ tumor tissue and auxiliary lymph nodes were detected before and after treatment. Results suggest that SFI could help repair immunity impaired by cancer and cancer treatment by activating dendritic cells and upregulating costimulatory molecules [77, 78]. Clinical studies using a natural dietary supplement composed of a combination of medicinal mushrooms Coriolus versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum, and Phellinus linteus and medicinal herbs Scutellaria barbata, Astragalus membranaceus, and Curcuma longa suggested that the formula can alleviate chemotherapy-induced toxicity in liver, spleen, kidney, lung, and heart tissue [79]. In vitro studies also elucidated the mechanism of action of this mushroom-herbal formulation in inhibiting proliferation and lowering the invasive behavior of a highly metastatic human cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231, by the inhibition of cyclin A1 expression and by the downregulation of CXCR4 [79–81].

A combination of rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens, Geraniaceae), Ganoderma tsugae (Ganodermataceae), Codonopsis pilosula (Campanulaceae), and Angelica sinensis (Apiaceae) (RG-CMH) has been used in TCM treatments for breast cancer and is associated with immunomodulation based on anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties attributed to the synergistic activity of the components of the herbs [82]. In one RCT, RG-CHM intervention improved the immune cell count of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy preventing leukopenia and immune impairment associated with a decrease in levels of T cells, helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, and natural killer cells compared with the group receiving placebo treatment. However, the differences between the two groups were not statistically significant [83]. The results did show, however, that the administration of RG-CMH to patients receiving chemotherapy/radiotherapy delayed the reduction in levels of leucocytes and neutrophils experienced by patients undergoing cancer treatment [83, 84].

Yunzhi-Danshen (Coriolus versicolor and Salvia miltiorrhiza) capsules have been shown to benefit the circulatory system through vasodilation, immunomodulation, and antidementia activities [85]. Results of a recent RCT showed that the absolute counts of T-helper lymphocytes (CD4+), the ratio of T-helper (CD4+)/T suppressor and cytotoxic lymphocytes (CD8+), and the percentage and the absolute counts of B lymphocytes were significantly elevated in patients after taking Yunzhi-Danshen capsules. These clinical findings imply that regular oral consumption of Yunzhi-Danshen capsules could be beneficial for promoting immunological function in breast cancer patients after chemotherapy [85, 86]. These findings were also supported by in vitro results showing that Yunzhi-Danshen treatment inhibited cancer cell proliferation by cell-cycle arrest and downregulation of Akt phosphorylation in MCF7 cells, a human breast cancer cell line, and by inducing apoptosis [87, 88].
3.1.2. Single Herbs and Medicinal Mushrooms

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is known in TCM to reduce hot flushes in menopausal women and to have low toxicity. Several clinical studies have backed up this claim [89–92]. Since breast cancer chemotherapeutics such as cytostatics, aromatase inhibitors, or antiestrogens frequently induce or aggravate preexisting menopausal symptoms, extracts of C. racemosa are currently being explored as an adjuvant. The mechanisms of action of this phytotherapeutic herb are still not totally understood, but there is growing interest in its usefulness in the treatment of vasomotor symptoms and hot flushes and in preventing the decrease in bone density associated with menopause [93, 94]. The use of black cohosh in clinical trials as an adjuvant to chemotherapy was observed to help patients improve their QOL through relief of vasomotor symptoms [95, 96]. Moreover, in vitro studies using MCF7 cells showed the high antitumor activity of C. racemosa extracts and their involvement in induction of apoptosis [97].

Coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) also known as Trametes versicolor is a popular component in TCM mushroom preparations. Several clinical trials with patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy have found that encapsulated Yunzhi preparations significantly improve appetite, alleviate weakness, anorexia, vomiting, dryness of the throat, and spontaneous or night sweats and pain, increase weight, stabilize white blood cell counts, NK cells, IL-2 levels, and CD4/CD8 ratio, and demonstrate a 9% absolute reduction in 5-year mortality rate [98–100]. Polysaccharide-K (PSK), also known as krestin, is one of the active compounds found in Yunzhi [83]. It is a unique protein-bound polysaccharide, which has been used as a chemoimmunotherapy agent. Several RCTs have demonstrated the efficacy of PSK as an adjuvant in cancer therapy, with positive results seen in the adjuvant treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast, and lung cancers. PSK is a biological response modifier (BRM) that improves the ability of cancer patients to fight off tumor progression through different mechanisms, most probably by leukocyte activation, regulation of IFN-γ and IL-2 levels, and inhibition of metalloproteinases and other enzymes involved in metastatic activity [101–105]. PSK has further been shown to have antioxidant activity which may allow it to play a role as a normal tissue chemo- and radioprotector when used in combination with adjuvant or definitive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in the treatment of cancers and may also enable it to defend the host from oxidative stress [106].

Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Lingzhi, is used in TCM to promote health and increase life expectancy [137]. Clinically, the spore powder is used to treat cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing endocrine therapy. Patients given the treatment reported improved physical well-being, less fatigue, less anxiety and depression, and overall better QOL. Comparative evaluation of TNF-α, IL-6, and liver and kidney function before and after interventions showed a statistically significant effect [138]. The wide spectrum of biological effects reported for G. lucidum in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as hepatitis, hepatopathy, and hypertension, makes it a viable adjuvant for hepatoprotection in cancer therapy [139]. Among the active compounds present in G. lucidum extracts, triterpenoids are one of the main components responsible for the pharmacological activities including immunomodulatory, antioxidative, antimetastatic, and antitumor effects [140]. In vitro and in vivo assays have revealed that the mixtures of triterpenoids in G. lucidum exerted antiproliferative effects by inducing apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest [141].

Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is one of the most well-known herbal remedies and is used in TCM to proactively promote health, vitality, and longevity. Ginseng is ranked as the fourth top-selling herbal medicine globally [142, 143]. In recent years, ginseng has been included in the pharmacopoeias of Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In adjuvant breast cancer therapy, ginseng has been used to maintain natural energy, increase physical and psychomotor performance, and improve mood and general health [144, 145]. In vitro experiments and in vivo animal studies have reported that ginsenosides, a group of bioactive compounds identified in ginseng, have a variety of beneficial effects, including immunomodulatory, antistress, antifatigue, and anticarcinogenic effects [146].

Accumulating evidence from epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory studies has revealed an inverse-relationship between increased intake of green tea (Camellia sinensis) and relative risk for breast cancer [147]. Green tea extract polyphenon E (PPE) containing bioactive compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was supplemented as decaffeinated green tea capsules for 2 months in a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled intervention study. Results suggest the beneficial effects of EGCG on LDL-cholesterol concentrations and glucose-related markers [148]. Since green tea has been associated with weight control and cardiovascular disease prevention, its effect on weight gain after breast cancer treatment was also investigated [149]. A slight reduction in body weight and improved HDL and glucose homeostasis was seen in overweight breast cancer survivors. These clinical findings, together with substantial in vitro and in vivo evidence, suggest that tea polyphenols can be used as chemopreventive agents and as adjuvant treatments for breast cancer [149–151].

Mistletoe (Viscum album) extracts have been used for cancer therapy since the early 1920s, most commonly in central Europe [152, 153]. Most recent clinical studies have focused on the use of mistletoe extracts as adjuvants for chemotherapy specifically for nausea/vomiting and the side effects of systemic therapy [154]. The active compounds in mistletoe treatment are the recently identified mistletoe lectins (ML I, II, and III) that consist of two polypeptide chains: a carbohydrate-binding B chain that can bind to cell surface receptors enabling the protein to enter the cell, and the catalytic A chain, which can subsequently inhibit protein synthesis, due to its ribosome-inactivating properties [155, 156]. Other pharmacologically relevant compounds found in mistletoe are viscotoxins and other low molecular proteins, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, and triterpene acids, which have been found to act synergistically resulting in the cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing effects of the whole plant extract [157, 158]. One RCT showed that mistletoe preparations boosted the immune system in low doses, helping to improve the QOL and survival of some cancer patients by as much as 40% alongside cotreatment with chemo- and radiotherapy. These results are attributed to the overregulation of genes responsible for immune defense, stress response, apoptosis, and cell-cell adhesion pathways [159–162].

Rhodiola algida is widely used in TCM to stimulate the immune system. Oral ulcerative mucositis, a common adverse effect of mainstream cytotoxic drugs, limits the nutritional intake of cancer patients. One clinical study demonstrated the effects of R. algida in alleviation of the occurrence of oral ulcers after four cycles of chemotherapy using 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, and postmasectomy [163]. Lymphocyte proliferation was induced and serum levels of IL-2, IL-4, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMC-SF) were increased by taking R. algida extracts. While white blood cell (WBC) levels returned to the normal range a week after every cycle of chemotherapy, WBC count increased faster in patients using R. algida. Patients also presented fewer and smaller oral ulcers and no liver or renal complications were observed in any of the patients involved in the study. Thus R. algida has the potential to be used concurrently with chemotherapy to alleviate the occurrence of oral ulcers [163–165].

Several flavonoids with cytotoxic activity have been isolated from the aqueous extract of the aerial part of Scutellaria barbata. Despite identification of several active chemical compounds, none demonstrated more potent cytotoxic activity than the whole plant extract. Thus, the whole herb extract is being used and studied clinically [166–168]. In one multicenter, open-label, and dose-escalation phase 1B clinical trial, S. barbata extract was administered orally, once or twice daily on a continuous basis to women with advanced metastatic breast cancer (MBC) receiving chemotherapy. Dose-limiting side effects were decreased including aspartate transferase (AST) elevation, diarrhea, fatigue, and pain, proving this herb to be effective and safe and thus showing promise in the treatment of side effects related to the treatment of women with MBC [169]. Most notably, the components of the whole herb extract work in synergy to inhibit cell proliferation, induce cell-cycle arrest, stimulate ROS production and hyperactivation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase(PARP), and inhibit glycolysis [170].

Curcumin, the principal active component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), has potential therapeutic activities against breast cancer through multiple signaling pathways [171]. It has been widely reported to reverse chemoresistance and sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and targeted therapy in breast cancer [172, 173]. In cell models, curcumin could suppress expression of progrowth and antiapoptosis molecules, induce inactivation of NF-κB, Src, and Akt/mTOR pathways, and downregulate the key epigenetic modifier EZH2 [174–178]. One clinical study reported that when curcumin was used as an adjuvant with docetaxel, dose-limiting toxicity effects were significantly decreased [175].

Uncaria tomentosa, commonly known as Utor Cat’s Claw, is a medicinal herb used in the treatment of different diseases including cancer, arthritis, gout, and epidemic diseases [179]. Whole plant extracts were reported to have cytostatic and anti-inflammatory activity, and patients who use Cat’s Claw along with chemotherapy and radiation report fewer adverse effects [180]. The use of U. tomentosa helps in the restoration of cellular DNA, preventing mutations and cell damage caused by chemotherapy drugs [181]. In addition to its antioxidant properties, U. tomentosa modulates the activity of the immune system by proliferation of normal T and B lymphocytes and modulation of certain cytokines, including IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α [182–184].

3.2. Use of Acupuncture in Breast

3.2.1. Definition and Concept of Acupuncture

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, has defined acupuncture as a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical locations on the skin by a variety of techniques. The most studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points uses penetration of the skin by thin, solid, and metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation [185].

The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that bodily functions are regulated by an energy called “qi” which flows through the body; disruptions of this flow may cause disease [186]. Traditional acupuncturists understand qi as circulating between the organs along channels called meridians, which are classified as yin or yang meridians [187]. Yin meridians include the lung, spleen, heart, kidney, pericardium, and liver, while yang meridians include the stomach, large intestines, small intestines, bladder, triple energizer, and gall bladder [188, 189]. Qi energy must flow in the correct strength and quality through each of these meridians and organs for health to be maintained. Throughout the history of Chinese medicine and descriptions in Huangdi Neijing, the concept of balancing yin and yang had been extensively applied in the application of combination of meridians, corresponding organs, and acupuncture points or acupoints [188, 189]. Acupoints are mainly (but not always) found at specific locations along the meridians which provide one means of altering the flow of qi. There are also a number of acupuncture points with specified locations outside the meridians; these are called “extraordinary” points and are often credited with special therapeutic properties. A third category of acupuncture points called “A-shi” points have no fixed location but represent tender or reflexive points appearing in the course of pain syndromes [188]. Acupuncture points are thought to correspond to conventional (Western) physiological and anatomical features, such as the peripheral nerve junctions, and are known to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, partially explaining its effect particularly in pain management [189].

3.2.2. Scientific Exploration into Acupuncture

Acupuncture is aimed at correcting imbalances in the flow of qi by stimulation of acupoints by a variety of techniques which involves the insertion of fine needles into the skin and underlying tissues at specific points, for therapeutic or preventative purposes. Evidence of the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying acupuncture now exists [190–193]. For example, the release of a number of endogenous substances including β-endorphin, met-enkephalin, and dynorphins was observed during treatment [194–196]. Moreover, acupuncture can alter gene expression, upregulating opioid production [197, 198]. Acupuncture works by modulating noradrenergic and serotonergic pathways to give extra segmental pain relief, that is, analgesia throughout the body [199]. Acupuncture releases serotonin [200], oxytocin [201], and endogenous steroids [202], which may further contribute to analgesia. In functional MRI studies, acupuncture induced brain activation in the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens and deactivated areas of the anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. In terms of analgesia, it was suggested that acupuncture modulated the affective-cognitive aspect of pain perception [199]. Furthermore, correlations between signal intensities and analgesic effects have been reported [203]. Further work using PET scanning showed that acupuncture induced extra effects in the ipsilateral insula beyond the sham needle, which also had greater effects on activation patterns than the control group [107].

Recent advances in clinical research on acupuncture suggest that acupuncture provides clinical benefit for breast oncology patients in symptom control and supportive care. Symptoms that respond to acupuncture treatment include pain, gastrointestinal side effects, hot flushes, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Patients welcome a supportive therapy that can reduce symptoms without the need for long-term medication. The strength of current scientific evidence has made acupuncture more acceptable to Western-trained doctors and given rise to Western medical acupuncture [108].

3.3. Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Breast Cancer Patients and Suggested Acupoints

3.3.1. Cancer-Related Hot Flushes

Twelve trials explored the effect of acupuncture on vasomotor syndrome (summarized in Table 2) [109–116, 204, 205], including eight RCTs and four single-group pre-post comparisons. Daily flush frequency was the main outcome measure. All the studies used self-administrated questionnaires to measure this effect. Some trials also used the Kupperman Index (KI) to score climacteric symptoms. Most studies used six or more acupoints of which SP6 was the most commonly used. A course of acupuncture treatment has been found to reduce hot flushes associated with normal menopause and also from hormonal treatments for cancer. Studies found that acupuncture reduced hot flushes by up to 60% in women treated with tamoxifen for breast cancer [108, 110, 111, 205]. Those in the acupuncture group additionally reported improved libido, increased energy, and improved clarity of thought and sense of well-being. Furthermore, the acupuncture group reported no adverse side effects. An algorithm has been developed for the long-term treatment of hot flushes, with the observed effects of the initial course of treatment maintained for up to 6 years by weekly self-needling at SP6 or by using semipermanent needles [117]. For self-needling, patients require clear demonstration of cleansing, insertion, and safe disposal [118].

3.3.2. Nausea and Vomiting

Ten studies investigated the antiemetic effect of acupuncture on distress symptoms induced by chemotherapy [119–126]. Participants received intervention over a treatment period of 5 days to 3 weeks. These studies, including three high quality studies [118, 119, 121], reported that acupuncture could significantly improve emesis caused by breast cancer therapy. Acupuncture stimulation at points PC6 and ST36 has repeatedly been shown to be a clinically useful antiemetic treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting and chemotherapy-induced emesis. In 1998, the US NIH stated that “acupuncture is a proven effective treatment modality for nausea and vomiting” [185]. A three-arm RCT comparing conventional antiemetics alone with antiemetics plus either electroacupuncture or minimal acupuncture demonstrated that the electroacupuncture plus antiemetics arm was the most effective for preventing nausea and vomiting associated with high-dose chemotherapy [121]. Ezzo and colleagues reviewed eleven trials in 2006 and concluded that electroacupuncture has demonstrated benefit for chemotherapy-induced acute vomiting, and self-administered acupressure appears to have a protective effect against acute nausea and can readily be taught to patients [206]. Since then, two multicenter longitudinal RCTs have shown the beneficial effect of acupressure in significantly reducing the severity of both acute and delayed vomiting [118, 119]. These studies also demonstrate that acupuncture and acupressure are simple to administer and merit wider consideration.

3.3.3. Pain

Up to 70% of cancer patients still suffer significant pain which adversely impacts their QOL [207]. Bone pain is the most common type of cancer-associated pain, and bone metastases are common in advanced breast cancers. Current pain-relieving strategies include the use of opioid-based analgesics, bisphosphonates, and radiotherapy. The pharmacological failure to control pain alone has led to the use of nondrug treatments including acupuncture. The analgesic effects of acupuncture may permit a decrease in the requirement and side effects of pharmaceuticals. It can also help those who are sensitive to normal doses of analgesics and those who have pain despite analgesic dose titration [196]. Although acupuncture is used in palliative care settings for all types of cancer pain, the evidence base is still insufficient and inconclusive and there is very little evidence to show its effectiveness in relieving cancer-induced pain [208, 209].

Three trials used acupuncture to manage postmastectomy pain (Table 2) [127–129, 208, 209]. Acupoint L14 was used in all the three trials. Two studies demonstrated a significant effect favoring the acupuncture group [128, 129], but one high quality RCT [127] found no significant difference between the intervention group and the control group. Although reviews vary in their conclusions, acupuncture was found to be superior to no treatment or waiting list control in most studies.

Finally, emerging evidence demonstrates the analgesic effectiveness of both acupuncture and electroacupuncture in breast cancer patients experiencing joint pain as a result of adjuvant aromatase inhibitor treatment. Four trials have included investigation of arthralgia, and all explored the effect of acupuncture therapy on aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain and functional ability (Table 2). Positive results were obtained including enhanced postoperative analgesic efficiency, relief of postoperative pain, and significant improvement in joint and muscle stiffness [128, 130–132, 210

3.3.4. Fatigue

Fatigue is an extremely common symptom in cancer patients [211]. Fatigue is also an adverse side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can persist long after the cessation of treatment. In a prospective phase II study on patients with persistent fatigue who had previously completed chemotherapy, acupuncture resulted in a significant reduction in baseline fatigue scores [212]. Further four RCTs showed that acupuncture was associated with a significant improvement in general fatigue scores [213–216].

3.3.5. Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia

The two anxiety, sickness, and dyspnoea (ASAD) points located at the upper left and right sternal regions are used extensively in the UK to control dyspnea and also anxiety. Patients can massage acupuncture studs for 1-2 min on demand to provide anxiolysis [196]. This method has the added benefit of empowering the patient to control these distressing symptoms in the event of a panic attack. In a systematic review of RCTs of acupuncture in the treatment of depression, Leo and Ligot Jr. stated that although the odd ratios derived from comparing acupuncture with control conditions in the existing literature suggest a role for acupuncture, the evidence is thus far inconclusive [217]. More recent evidence suggests that acupuncture when combined with antidepressant therapy has a faster therapeutic onset rate than pharmacotherapy alone, coupled with a reduction in the side effect profile of the antidepressant medication [218]. An additional RCT examining the treatment of hot flushes revealed that compared to women taking venlafaxine, those receiving acupuncture felt they had more energy, improved clarity of thought, increased libido, and a greater sense of well-being [219]. In one study done by Mehling and colleagues, massage and acupuncture in postoperative cancer patients who were also receiving usual care resulted in a significant improvement in their depressed mood with short-lived significant improvement in tension and anxiety when compared to patients receiving usual care alone [220]. A subsequent meta-analysis revealed that the rate of improvement in insomnia produced by auricular acupuncture was significantly higher than that achieved by taking Diazepam [221]. Although a Cochrane systematic review of acupuncture for insomnia in 2007 concluded that acupuncture or its variants were not more effective than the control groups [222], five clinical studies showed significant improvement in anxiety and depression over time in patients who underwent acupuncture treatment. QOL measures of pain severity and interference, physical and psychological distress, life satisfaction, and mood states also showed improved scores after acupuncture treatment [223–227].

3.3.6. Lymphoedema and Leukopenia

Lymphoedema is a distressing problem that affects many women after breast cancer surgery. In the United States, needling and even lifting objects using the affected arm has been prohibited, resulting in a limited number of publications on acupuncture and lymphoedema [133]. However, recent results of two studies demonstrated that traditional acupuncture after breast cancer surgery was associated with improvements in movement amplitude of the shoulder, symptoms of heaviness and tightness in the arm, and the degree of lymphedema [133, 134].

Two trials conducted in China found that dexamethasone injected at the ST36 intra-acupoint was effective in preventing bone marrow suppression-related leukopenia in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy (Table 2) [135, 136]. The main body of evidence comes from China where a systematic review of RCTs was positive for increasing WBC in patients undergoing chemotherapy [228]; however, the quality of trials was considered poor, and the authors suggest that the positive meta-analysis should be considered as exploratory.

3.4. Safety of Acupuncture

With an increasing number of positive evidence-based acupuncture trials, more cancer patients may seek acupuncture treatment. While closely monitored clinical trials often report low incidences of adverse events of acupuncture, many physicians remain concerned about its safety. Serious adverse events are exceedingly rare—roughly five in one million [229]—and are usually associated with poorly trained, unlicensed acupuncturists [230]. The vast majority of adverse events from acupuncture are minor; those most commonly reported occur at the site of needle insertion: minor bleeding (3%), hematoma (2-3%), and pain from needling (up to 3%). Dizziness is reported in about 1% of treatments [229, 231, 232]. Serious adverse effects including pneumothorax, spinal lesions, and hepatitis B transmission have been reported in the literature for acupuncture, but these are rare and are generally associated with poorly trained unlicensed acupuncturists [233]. Acupuncture for oncology should be administered by a suitably qualified practitioner who can maintain a constant dialogue with the oncology team treating the patient. The contraindications and cautions for acupuncture in an oncology setting are outlined in Table 3.

In general, acupuncture can be considered a safe method of treatment, with a low side effect profile, which in part adds to its popularity among patients [234–236]. Establishing an eligibility guideline for cancer patients before receiving acupuncture would add another layer of safety. Lu and Rosenthal suggested that cancer patients should not be recommended for acupuncture if they have one of the following conditions: (a) absolute neutrophil count (ANC) less than 500/μL, (b) platelet count less than 25,000/μL, (c) altered mental state, (d) clinically significant cardiac arrhythmias, and (e) other unstable medical conditions (case-by-case consideration). Guidelines for safe practice within this field have previously been published [237]. Before the first visit, approval is required from the primary oncologist based upon these guidelines [238].

4. Conclusions and Future Prospects

Research on CAM as adjuvants in chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, particularly that on herbal medicine and acupuncture, has gained momentum over the past few years. This development paves the way toward understanding their efficacy and modes of action in alleviating cancer or cancer treatment-related conditions. Evidence from various in vitro, in vivo studies and RCTs support the use of herbal medicine or acupuncture in boosting the immune system, in relieving pain, fatigue, cyto- and hepatotoxicity, and in inhibiting gastrointestinal toxicity, angiogenesis, and other side effects from chemo- and radiotherapy. The inclusion of selected herbal medicines from well-designed RCTs in this review provides evidence-based knowledge to strengthen the rationale for the use of herbal medicines in controlling breast cancer in the clinical setting. Further, considering the assessment of benefit : risk ratio of the presented results, acupuncture is seen as a valuable nonpharmaceutical treatment option for symptom management in cancer patients. Although current evidence from basic science and clinical research on herbal medicines or acupuncture is still not sufficient to change oncological practice in general, the quality and design of clinical trials have significantly improved over the last few years which can provide patients with the most effective protocols or treatment types and safety profiles. Despite all the evidence presented, key challenges still exist including quality control of herbal medicinal materials, standardization of practices and current methodology in acupuncture, and pharmacokinetic interaction between drug components or between chemotherapy and herbal medicine. Further research addressing these challenges in the form of rigorously designed clinical trials accompanied by comprehensive and in-depth laboratory studies is needed to improve the quality of the existing evidence base and support the use of CAM.

Acknowledgments and Reference (with permission to reuse under creative common licence) :

Guo-Shiou Liao,1 Maria Karmella Apaya,2 and Lie-Fen Shyur2,3

1Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei 114, Taiwan
2Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, No. 128, Section 2, Academia Road, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan
3Graduate Institute of Pharmacognosy, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan

Received 21 March 2013; Revised 14 May 2013; Accepted 21 May 2013

Academic Editor: Yoshiharu Motoo

Copyright © 2013 Guo-Shiou Liao et al.

Hindawi Publishing Corporation