So what IS the evidence for botanicals in cancer?

In summary, there are 4 sources of evidence for our approach.

  1. There is an enormous amount of data supporting the anticancer activity of natural (botanical) compounds. The rapidly growing knowledgebase is technically called "basic science" or "preclinical science". That is the study of activity and molecular mechanisms of action of food or plant derived compounds (or mixtures of compounds including whole herbs and herbal formulae) in experimental studies in vitro (using pharmacological approaches and test tube models such as immortal cancer cell lines) or in vivo (animal studies).
  2. The "omic" sciences of modern cancer research (in the last decade+ following the decoding of the human genome) have overturned traditional views of cancer and revealed its astounding complexity in terms of the underlying multiple molecular pathways which drive tumorigenesis and disease progression. This knowledge shows a high degree of congruence with the information from (1) i.e. preclinical science about natural compounds and their effects on these pathways.
  3. Traditionally, there is enormous historical knowledge base of clinical herbal practice (in both eastern and western herbal medicine systems) which has developed sophisticated approaches using botanical tools to treat the "person with the disease" rather than the "disease the person has". This historical knowledge also includes working with people with cancer, and indeed many of today's anticancer chemotherapies were derived from plant medicines that have been used for centuries to treat cancer. 
  4. Expertise and professional training in herbal medicine (as opposed to knowledge about herbal medicines themselves) and its incorporation into contemporary oncological care has been the clinical specialty of only a few herbal practitioners in the current period. The transdiciplinary knowledge required to successfully implement botanical and nutritional strategies within the complex world of cancer care requires a firm scientific foundation and continuously updated familiarity with cancer research as well as extensive hands-on clinical experience working with people who have a cancer challenge. (See Bio: Jonathan Treasure on our web site). We have called our synthesis of this approach "Herbalism 3.0", see web site for further explanation.
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