Black Cohosh Stops Breast Cancer Growth

A new laboratory study, published in Phytomedicine, suggests that extracts from black cohosh, an herb most commonly used to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, may stop breast cancer cells in their tracks. This adds more evidence to a small but growing body of research suggesting that black cohosh could have a use in breast cancer prevention.

Black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizome), is a perennial plant native to North America, is a member of the buttercup family. It has long been a popular alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in many countries. In the UK, 9 million days’ worth of black cohosh supplements were purchased in 2004.

The inhibition of the growth of breast cancer cells was related to an induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis). 

"These results corroborate the results of our previous studies indicating that the growth inhibitory effect of actein or an extract of black cohosh is associated with activation of specific stress response pathways and apoptosis," wrote the researchers, referring to their studies published earlier this year in Anticancer Research and the International Journal of Cancer.

Although the results are promising, further research is needed to determine whether the herb can be effectively used as a breast cancer chemopreventive agent.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

First of all, for those of you who are new to the newsletter; let me make it perfectly clear that while I view herbs as frequently helpful and virtually non-toxic when compared to patent drugs, they rarely treat the cause of the disease. I view most of them as symptomatic band-aids.  They should rarely be used without addressing the underlying cause of the disease, which is precisely what I address in the hundreds of thousands of pages on my site.

Having said that, black cohosh was first listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia (the nation's official drug reference book), from 1820 to 1926. But at that point, drug manufacturers began focusing almost exclusively on synthetic molecules that, unlike herbs, could be patented and used to make big profits. So research stopped, and medicinal plants like black cohosh were dropped from use in conventional medicine.

However, in more recent years, studies have shown that black cohosh is nearly as effective as estrogen -- and far more effective than placebo pills -- at treating hot flashes, and is also useful in managing the mood swings and irritability that can accompany menopause. And now we’re beginning to see its value in dealing with cancer.

The catch-22 is that black cohosh has also been found to interfere with drugs and radiation treatments used in conventional cancer therapy by:

  • Increasing cell killing by two of the drugs[ (Adriamycin and Taxotere)
  • Decreasing the effectiveness of one drug (Platinol)
  • Not altering the effects of radiation or a fourth drug (4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide)

Therefore, if you’re being treated for breast cancer through conventional cancer treatments you should definitely consult with your physician before using black cohosh on your own.

Cancer treatment is one that I typically don't focus on for a variety of reasons. But needless to say, there are a large variety of naturally-based treatments that you could use for cancer, in which black cohosh would not be a problem.

There are also a number of other options available that can help you prevent breast cancer.

My Cancer-Busting Dozen Approaches

I believe you can VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE your cancer risk and radically improve your risk of recovering from cancer if you currently have it.  All you need to do is follow these relatively simple risk reduction strategies. You won’t read or hear much about them because they have not been formally "proven" yet by conservative researchers. However, most people do not know that 85 percent of therapies currently recommended by conventional medicine have never been formally proven either.

So here are the Twelve Strategies

  1. Reduce your processed food, sugar and grain carbohydrate intake. Yes, this is even true for whole unprocessed organic grains as they tend to rapidly break down and drive your insulin and leptin levels up, which is the last thing you need to have happening if you are seeking to resolve a cancer.
  2. Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels: This is the end result, and can be easily monitored with the use of simple and relatively inexpensive blood tests.
  3. Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil or fish oil and reducing your intake of most processed vegetable oils
  4. Get regular exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
  5. Normalize your vitamin D levels and vitamin A levels by getting plenty of sunlight exposure  and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. If you take oral vitamin D and have a cancer it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.
  6. Get a good night's sleep.
  7. Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have
  8. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution
  9. Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from information carrying radio waves produced by cell phone towers, base stations, phones and WiFi stations
  10. Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead
  11. Have a tool to permanently reprogram  the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. Energy psychology seems to be one of the best approaches and my particular favorite tool, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique. German New Medicine is another powerful tool
  12. Use broccoli sprouts as an adjunct to everything above unless you simply do not like broccoli
  13. .
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