When it comes to natural remedies for cancer therapy, many patients are given anecdotal advice about the usefulness of alternative traditional medicines. They are also often told to combine these with their conventional medication for added effect.
While conventional treatments are subjected to rigorous research before they can be recommended for clinical use, alternative treatments are not.
These “natural” remedies are either turned into over-the-counter medicines or can be taken in their natural forms.
It is important to note that alternative methods labelled “natural” are not necessarily “good”. Nor do they necessarily translate into healing.
The use of traditional remedies should always be discussed with a physician or an oncologist. They may have adverse effects or may reduce the efficacy of conventional treatment.
Here are some of the myths and facts about natural products that purportedly have anti-cancer properties.
In 2009, an article investigating cancer-related biological activity in ripened bananas was published. The study could not make any direct link to the fruit as an anti-cancer remedy but included the following statement:
Due to the association between immunostimulatory and anti-oxidative effects, oral banana intake has the potential to help prevent lifestyle-related diseases and carcinogenesis.
The statement went viral in the media with many memes posted on Facebook suggesting ripened bananas could reduce cancer risk. While studies have demonstrated that antioxidants play an important role in protecting body cells against potential cancer agents, the article does not say bananas have an active ingredient that can combat cancer.
There are, however, remedies that have seen more positive results.
Fruit and vegetable pits