The side effects of chemotherapy are multiple and well-known, with few medical treatments that provide much relief. Natural home therapies, however, can help reduce chemotherapy side effects without interfering with your cancer treatment--but be sure to do your research and talk with your doctor.
Nausea, hair loss, vomiting, dry mouth, a dry cough, and issues with white and red blood cell counts are common symptoms of chemotherapy's effects on the body. Home remedies should include anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and speed healing as well as detoxing supplements to reduce the effects of potent chemotherapy drugs.
Home Remedies: Ginger is a common anti-emetic to prevent nausea and vomiting. Generally, immune-supporting foods and supplements can help bridge the gap while your own system is rebuilding itself after chemotherapy treatments.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
07/26/2012: Worry Hubby from Singapore: "Can anyone help on what ways or food, to stop or minimise the dry cough during the chemo? Please help."
07/09/2012: Worryhubby from Singapore: "My wife is having Sore throat after the 3rd day of chemo. And she's feeling kinda feverish too. Temperature currently fine. I myself has a mild flu and am wondering if I'm the one passing to her. Am worried and dont even dare to sleep beside her. I just wanna see if anybody has any idea on what to do. Please help:("Replies
07/09/2012: Lynn from Williamston, Sc replies: "Try Magic Mouthwash. My father used it during his treatments and it really helped. I think there are some homemade recipes around or her Dr. could give her some."
12/27/2012: Suzanne from Nottingham, Uk: "My husband has stage 4 liver cancer. He has just started chemo and is taking indian tea (CoD). He is also taking Radix Calami (think its called calamus). Can you tell me what benefits these could give? Is there anything else he can take whilst having chem?"Replies
12/27/2012: Baldev from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India replies: "Hi Suzanne, Budwig Protocol, will surely help. Although Dr. Budwig did not encourage her protocol with chemo but lot of people have used it with chemo and benefited. You can search it on the net or email me on baldev53(at)yahoo.com. Good luck. Baldev"
12/27/2012: Rsw from Uniontown, Oh replies: "Hi Suzanne, Google Dr. Burt Berkson and his treatment for liver and pancreatic cancer using low dose naltrexone (LDN) and Alpha Lipoic acid IV's. He has had some good success with these, even in advanced cases. Best wishes."
12/29/2012: Cameron from Brisbane, Qld, Australia replies: "I gave my Daughter activated Charcoal 4 hours after Chemo which elimated virtually all side effects, just 1 teaspoon in Juice. Allow to settle in the glass then stir, I know parents are amazed that my girl went to school after Chemo while thiers were at home generally feeling too sick to go. BTW she had Leukemia which has a very heavy Chemo treatment, we were also forced, it was not by choice.
Also try getting him onto an Organic Juice diet, Chlorella (blue green algae for detoxing heavy metals etc) and go to cancerfightingstrateges.com and try some of the supplements. I never did, we were too far through and had great success with TBL12, the algaes and Organic Juice diet.
White and Red Blood Cell Count Remedies
06/21/2010: Camara from Md, USA: "Unfortunately, I'm going through chemo and wanted to know if there are any natural remedies for keeping my red and white blood cells at a normal level during the treatments."Replies
06/22/2010: Rob from Manhattan, New York replies: "Astragalus may be a good choice...however do some research to know whether you should take it during or after chemo to rebuild your immune system.
Also Castor Oil packs on the abdomen. Do some research.
Mushrooms formulas with Cordyceps & Reishi can help as well.
Best to you!"
01/06/2012: Cameron from Brisbane, Qld, Australia replies: "My daughter is going through Chemo for Leukemia and we have found some things people may find useful. Note that in Australia children with Cancer are forced into having whatever your Oncologist recommends, we did not submit easily. If you use my recommendations be confident that either the drug has done its job or that your Alternative Remedies are powerful enough. All treatments come with risk and sometimes all will fail, you must educate yourself, I post this for information only, it is what we have done and would do again.
Activated Charcoal, we gave her this 2 hours after treatment to take away the remaining drug and this ensured no side effects from even the most toxic drugs. AC also works for Nausea, overdose and as a compress(see AC posts) a great way to alleviate pain and detox the liver or kidneys.
TBL12, crushed Sea Cucumber essentially, it supported her Bloods, she returned perfect blood results even after very severe treatments. Our Oncologist even admits she was amazing but without acknowedging our home treatment. When we ran out of TBL12 her blood results fell and she lacked some of her normal energy but still nowhere near as bad as all the other Leukemia kids. I would use this personally for any form of Blood Disease as my primary treatment, it has simply been amazing.
Spirulina / Chlorella, both are shown to reverse all sorts of conditions, packed with Vitamins and Minerals, they are literally the perfect food. We put it into capsules but can be mixed with juice, take as much as you can afford. Hundreds of Scientific papers support them.
My last words would be, relax, Juice Organic Fruit and Veges(do not use conventially grown anything, we noticed the difference) get in contact with old friends and family.
Good Luck to anyone who has Cancer, I hope this helps."
01/07/2012: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "The latest on Leukemia is that there is a substance in fish oil that activates the gene in the cancer cell to commit suicide. It also stops the hair falling out if you're having chemo. So the more fish oil the better."
01/08/2012: Timh from Louisville, Usa replies: "Gavin, it is important to not forget take Vit-E, 400-800 (mixed natural) to protect the extremely sensitive polyunsaturated fats. And if you want complete protection the E needs some Selenium and some CoQ10 will work right along with all the aforementioned thus GREATLY increasing one's healing potential, especially in cases like cancer and chemo.
my 2 cent addendum."
03/08/2012: A.anunnaki from Mobile, Alabama, Usa replies: "I've been doing chemo since August of 2011. Before that, I had been eating organic, vegetarian, and kosher for years.
I knew that eating vegetarian, organic, and kosher may not provide me with all I needed to physically deal with going through chemo, so I started rotating out what I would eat.
Every other day, I would eat a portion size of red meat about the size of the palm of my hand, maybe three to four ounces, along with whatever I felt like I could eat that would stay down.
On the day after the red meat day, I would make the attempt to eat about the same amount of white meat--fish, a few ounces of a pork chop, or chicken in a casserole or something like chicken and dumplings.
On the seventh day of the week, whenever it it, I'd pretty much eat whatever I wanted.
This was something I came up with on my own and I was fortunate enough to have doctors who have the mentality of if I feel like eating something and I think it will stay down, eat whatever the hell I want, so I did. I actually gained six pounds during chemo, which the nurses thought was great.
Of course I drank and still am drinking a lot of juice and water, along with eating fruits and vegetables. Some with small seeds can be irritating to the stomach, so that is contingent upon how someone's stomach is doing.
All of that said, I have yet to miss a chemo because of my counts being low or off. I have not had my white counts drop, I have not had my red counts, nor my plasma drop, either. I have not caught every germ coming and going, nor have I had my skin look anything but normal. Sometimes folks doing chemo can have their skin take on an unusual shade of color for them because the chemo affects their blood.
Anyway, I hope that helps someone out there looking to find out more information about how to eat during chemo.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a nutritionist nor a healthcare professional, I am a wife and mom who has been going through chemo for her2 breast cancer. I breastfed all three of my children at least a year, no genetic predisposition for breast cancer because it doesn't run in the family, non-smoker, non-drinker, and no hormone therapy of any kind, no birth control pills, no hormone replacement therapy, no explanation other than I wound up with breast cancer.
Treatments given so far has been one dose of TCH, herceptin, herceptin/taxol, bilateral mastectomy, currently starting CMF and then herceptin for a year.
One of the oral anti-nausea meds gives me vicious hiccups. A teaspoonful of creamy peanut butter works wonders to cure them."
09/25/2012: Susie from Long Island, Ny replies: "I want to thank all of you for your input. My husband is on his 7th round of chemo and has had minimal side effects so far. His blood numbers are getting to the 'edge' and we want to continue to be active in his care and you have helped! God bless!"