5 Natural Remedies for Coping with the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

| Modified on Sep 20, 2022
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Cancer in itself is bad enough, but cancer treatments often cause the need for additional medical care. But, there are natural remedies that can help treat and even prevent the side effects of chemotherapy. If you find yourself in the position of needing chemotherapy, be sure to eat enough calories and protein and consider trying natural cures for chemotherapy side effects like ginger, baking soda, caraway seed, acupuncture, and probiotics.

What Exactly Is Chemotherapy?

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

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

What Are the Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

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

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

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

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

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

1. Ginger

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

2. Baking Soda

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

3. Carraway Seed

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

4. Acupuncture

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

5. Probiotics

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

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

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




Betty's Tea

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Posted by Betty (CA) on 04/07/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Tea to combat chemo toxicity and other energy killers

Supplies your body with essential nutrients to help with energy, removing toxins, body stressors, chemo. I make this if I am feeling exhausted or just having a bad day. Made it also during chemo. It really helps with toxins. I haven't put Schizandra berries in it yet but make it with all the rest of the herbal ingredients.

Blend equal parts of ingredients:

  • Schizandra berries
  • Rooibos Chai blend
  • Hibiscus blossoms
  • Nettle leaves
  • Goji berries
  • Ginger root
  • Lemongrass
  • Red clover blossoms
  • Licorice root
  • Orange peel

To make 16 oz of herbal tea blend

1. Bring 16 oz of spring or filtered water to a boil

2. Place 4 TBSP of herbal mixture into covered tea pot or canning jar

3. Pour freshly boiled water over herbs: steep covered for 6-8 minutes

4. Strain out herbs and let tea cool to room temp

Replied by Jerry
(Miramar)
08/02/2022
20 posts

Hi Betty.

Thank you for this. Where can I get most of those herbs. I do have something that's growing next to my ginger root, I'm not sure if its lemongrass or weeds. Orange peels are easy to get, is getting this online, a good idea, I checked a farmers market and, most of these, they didn't understand, or did not have it.

Thank you in advance.


Bromelain

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Posted by Lynn (England) on 10/17/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Please can someone tell me where I can obtain bromelain 6500 gdu? I can't find it anywhere. I can find 3000 gdu. Could I just use twice the amount of that? Or does it not work that way? I'm trying to help someone close to me who has damage from chemo. I saw Ted makes his own bromelain 10% with that and glycine.

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)
10/18/2018

Lynn, the hard, middle piece of a pineapple has bromelain. We suck on that (too hard to chew and swallow).


Colloidal Silver

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

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

Replied by Harrell
(Jennings, La)
10/04/2017

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


Fasting

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Posted by Tassi (California) on 03/26/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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

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

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


General Feedback

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

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

Replied by Lynn
(Williamston, Sc)
07/09/2012

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

Replied by Dawn
(New York)
12/19/2017

When you get chemo it kills off your white blood cells. Your doctor should regularly measure your wife's white blood cells and give her Neulasta or some other drug to keep her white blood cell counts in normal range. If your wife's white blood cell counts (esp. her neutrophils, type of white blood cell) are low you can easily get her very sick! Go to the doctor with her, she should get regular blood tests and her doctor monitor her so she doesn't get neutroponic fever or other bad side effects of chemo-->low white blood cell count. She will be okay, just be safe!


Lemons for Loss of Taste

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Posted by inspire2021 (Gulfport, FL) on 06/17/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Taste buds after chemotherapy:

To get your taste buds back, try sucking on a lemon. My brother was just told this by an oncologist and he said after a year, he finally has his taste back!!


Salt and Baking Soda Bath

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Posted by Racer (Hampton, Tn) on 01/24/2010
5 out of 5 stars

This was a letter in which we were talking about my 20 year old and how she became toxic on all her drugs, and my friend sent me this that she had found out many years ago!

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

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

HERE'S THE SIMPLE RECIPE:

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

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

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

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

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


Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Count) Remedies

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

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

Replied by Rob
(Manhattan)
02/15/2014

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

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

Replied by Timh
(Ky, Usa)
02/16/2014
2075 posts

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

Replied by Art
(California)
02/16/2014

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

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

Art


White and Red Blood Cell Count Remedies

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

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

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

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

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

Mushrooms formulas with Cordyceps & Reishi can help as well.

Best to you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jerry
(Miramar)
08/02/2022
20 posts

Hi, I know this an old post..but will this work for any for cancer, like breast cancer, and others..thank you in advance.

Replied by Timh
(Louisville, Usa)
01/08/2012
2075 posts

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

my 2 cent addendum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art
(California)
08/02/2022
1390 posts

Jerry,

According to the following article, fish oil (FO) may not be a good idea once chemotherapy is in play :

https://www.cancertherapyadvisor.com/home/cancer-topics/general-oncology/cancer-patients-should-avoid-fish-fish-oil-during-chemo-researchers-warn/

Here is a quote from the study :

>>> '

Patients with cancer should avoid fish oil supplements and remove herring and mackerel from the menu during chemotherapy, according to authors of a new study.

Their research shows that consumption of these fish or fish oil supplements significantly increases healthy human volunteers' plasma levels of a platinum-induced fatty acid known as 16:4[n-3], which has been implicated in cisplatin chemoresistance in preclinical animal studies. ' <<<

On the other hand, this article suggests that melatonin has multiple activities against breast cancer.

https://www.explorationpub.com/Journals/em/Article/100178

Here is a relevant quote that suggests that not only is melatonin an oncostatic on its own, it is also compatible with chemo and radio therapy :

>>> ' Impaired melatonin level promotes various pathophysiological changes, including cancer. In our modern society, breast cancer is a serious problem throughout the world. Several studies have been indicated the link between low levels of melatonin and breast cancer development. Melatonin has oncostatic properties in breast cancer cells. This indolamine advances apoptosis, which arrests the cell cycle and regulates metabolic activity. Moreover, melatonin increases the treatment efficacy of cancer and can be used as an adjuvant with chemotherapeutic agents. ' <<<

It is important to note that melatonin has shown benefit in multiple studies against various forms of cancer, not just breast cancer.

Art

Jerry
(Miramar)
09/19/2022
20 posts

Thank you for your informative reply. For years, I've noticed that I've been unable to sleep, for more than 4-5 hrs per night. Maybe that could have played a role, in the diagnosis. I didnt have a choice but to start khemo, as I was in immense pain. The surgeon refused to do a full mastectomy, wanted to palm me off to his oncologist friend. I've been taking resveratrol liquid a few months now, essasic tea, the only thing I've eliminated is sugar, although I do have a popsicle after khemo. My diet is mostly veggies, fruits, salads, sometimes chicken, but I could live without it everything is homemade. I have yet to find a good safe organic green tea, and I've been looking around for a probiotic, that does not make the cancer worse, as I just found out that some of them can.

Thank you again and have a wonderful day..


Zinc

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Posted by Betty (CA) on 03/25/2022
5 out of 5 stars

I experimented with adding liquid zinc to my shampoo due to hair thinning from chemo. It works! Finally regrowing hair. And, had a nevus on my scalp for several years. It is gone. Guessing the zinc got rid of it?

Replied by Art
(California)
03/26/2022
1390 posts

Betty,

How much zinc did you use in mg to ounces of shampoo to be effective for your hair regrowth? Which brands of products or specific links to those products? Thank you!

Art

Betty
(CA)
03/26/2022

Hi Art, shampoo I am using Maui Moisture brand, Smooth Repair Vanilla Bean, 15 oz bottle. The zinc is metagenics brand Zinc Drink and I used 1 1/2 TBSP.

Betty
(CA)
03/26/2022

I only wash my hair every 3rd day. It has taken 2 bottles worth of this mixture to show results (so, about 90 days to start seeing it).

Uncertain
(LA)
03/31/2022

Hey Betty...Sounds great. I am curious about the time frame. How long was it from the time you had the chemo, to when you started adding the zinc, to when you began to see hair growth again?

Louis
(Wheeling)
04/03/2022

Do I assume you wash your hair first with the shampoo then dry it and then massage the liquid zinc into or onto the scalp?

Liz
(AZ)
04/11/2022

Hi Betty - Thanks for sharing this encouraging testimony! I have been researching for remedies to regrow hair. I want to make sure I am using the right amount and applying it correctly. Do you pour shampoo into your hand and then pour the 1 1/2 Tbl of zinc into the shampoo? Are you eyeballing the amount or using an actual measurement spoon? Is there an easier way? Can zinc be poured into the shampoo bottle or maybe a smaller bottle so the ratio is not too diluted? You mentioned using a nevus cap for two years so do you know for sure if it's the zinc that has help hair regrowth or was it the cap or possibly both? I don't have a nevus cap and was just going to try the zinc & shampoo only to see if it will work.

Uncertain
(LA)
04/26/2022

Do you think this might work for androgenetic alopecia?

Art
(California)
03/27/2022
1390 posts

Betty, Thank you for the details. So 4 1/2 to 5 mg of zinc per ounce of shampoo. If you are using a 1/4 ounce of shampoo per wash, that's just a little over 1 mg of zinc per shampoo , but you are applying it directly to the target area, so perhaps it is a significant amount in that case. Art

Betty
(CA)
03/27/2022

Yes, I concentrate on massaging it in right on the bald spot on top of my head first. I am thinking to increase the zinc to see if I can get more results faster. Maybe 3 TBSP added. We shall see. Right now I have fly away new growth that will not lay down. Ya, I am proud to have it. Been having to part my hair on the side for two years. Tried everything under the sun in commercial bottles and things, no results. It was an experiment that turned out slow slow but working.

Betty
(CA)
03/31/2022

18 months since last chemo.

Replied by Lynda T.
(CA)
04/03/2022

I lost a lot of hair due to Covid, which is finally not falling out anymore. I am going to try this, and will report back any positive results!

Betty
(CA)
04/03/2022

Yes, please report back.

It was a slow go but now I have upped the zinc in shampoo to 3 TBSP (now that I know it isn't dangerous, ha. I am very respectful of things and go slow).

My daughter also has hair loss from cv19 back in Nov. She is doing this now and also having acupuncture therapy hoping it will help.

Replied by Timo
(Thailand)
04/04/2022

Why not spray the liquid zinc directly to your scalp? If you wash your hair fast, the shampoo will just be washed away. Spray it onto your scalp.

Betty
(CA)
04/04/2022

I did think about doing that but have no idea if it would be too much of a good thing, ya know. I do let the shampoo mix sit while I finish washing in the shower then rinse head to toe. So, about 15-20 min's (until the hot water runs out).

Betty
(CA)
04/11/2022

I put it in the shampoo bottle and shook it up.

I am now using 3TBSP of zinc mixed with shampoo. I don't believe it will harm in any way to increase zinc/shampoo ratio.

The nevus on top of my head is gone. Can't find any info about zinc and nevus' but mine is gone somehow.

Betty
(CA)
04/27/2022

My cousin has alopecia and is trying it also now.

Her dr told her most alopecia patients he sees are serum zinc deficient. She takes supplemental zinc and magnesium.

I also take zinc and magnesium orally but it wasn't helping with my hair but the kitchen sink shampoo I made is helping.