There are probably more varieties of cytotoxic
herbs than there are chemotherapeutic drugs. Hartwell researched
all references to cancer herbs spanning 5000 years and 2,500,000
herbs. Of these, he determined that at least 3000 herbs possess
some anticancer properties. This is the same figure used by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Exactly how and why an herb addresses cancer
differs enormously from plant to plant, but we may never learn
as much as we need to know unless the companies performing the
research can isolate an active ingredient that they can develop
into a patentable drug. I personally oppose these efforts because
in their whole forms and working in synergy with other herbs, the
cytotoxic actions are often buffered by the protective actions. What
this means in lay terms is that while a particular constituent
of an herb, such as the alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine that
are found in the Madagascar periwinkle, may have specific cytotoxic
properties, the other hundred or two hundred constituents may have
other supportive actions such as the capacity to lower blood sugar
or detoxify the liver or protect organs from damage while the cancer
cells are being killed. Every herbalist I know favors not
just the use of whole herbs in their natural forms but usually
also the synergy of several herbs in combination with each other.
What are these 3000 Herbs?
Of the 3000 herbs with proven anticancer actions,
the mechanisms by which they achieve their effects varies significantly.
Some arrest the fermentation process upon which the cancer cells
depend for survival; some are directly toxic, more to the tumor
than healthy tissue; some inhibit cell division; some affect the
pH in such a way as to reduce the risks of oxidizing chemicals
and the development of secondary tumors and/or metastasis.
Finding the combination that works best for a
particular patient is not really a matter of trial and error. Starting
with some basic understanding permits one to narrow the focus to
a group of formulas likely to accomplish the desired tasks. Obviously,
the better the information and greater the knowledge, the more
likely it is that correct choices can be made.
I have been reading about anticancer herbs for
almost 35 years. Except for a few herbs here and there, such as chaparral,
I strongly believe that herbs like companions and that they work
best in combination with other herbs. This immediately makes for
a huge difference between an isolated constituent and a whole herb,
not to mention a formula. Look at Nature. Chaparral grows in the
desert where it has few companions, but red clover grows in meadows
where there are many other herbs. My uncle wrote a little book
at the end of his life. My favorite line was, "If you wish
to understand Nature, do not disturb Her." His words have
guided me in much of my work with Nature.
For instance, while one may find lists of anticancer
herbs that go on and on and formulas that contain 25 or even 75
herbs, I am not too keen on some of these formulas. I prefer the
ones that exhibit relationship to the cultural tradition and geographic
region that has given us the herbal knowledge. By this, I mean
that while pau d'arco may be a fine herb, I think it belongs in
a Brazilian formula, not in combination with chaparral or bloodroot.
Many of the formulas re-created for Sacred Medicine
Sanctuary are Native American. There are significant Cherokee influences
in our tonics. We also carry the Ojibwa formula, called Essiac,
and, of course, chaparral which
is from the Southwest. In addition, we have created a specialty
line of supportive products that address specific aspects of the
healing process. Some of our formulas are available through the
Sacred Medicine web site, but most are only distributed to practitioners.
I know that deciding how to address cancer is
very difficult. Patients and their friends and family are afraid
of making a mistake that could cost valuable time or perhaps a
life. I want to say that I recognize this dilemma, but I walk in
my own sandals. I would offer my sandals to you for a day, but
I suspect you would give them back after a few minutes or hours
because they fit me better than they do you. I am comfortable with
who I am as well as with what Sacred Medicine Sanctuary has to
offer, but we make no claims, offer no guarantees, and promise
only that we do our best to create responsible herbal products
whose formulas are supported by historic healiing traditions, not
It is a point of honor for me that I offer the
knowledge I have freely . . . without interferring with your decision
making processes. I know, I could make it easier on others as well
as myself by telling you to take a particular product, but you
will never hear me say that. I want to facilitate healing and part
of healing means forging a connection between what you feel and
what you think. Ergo, if it feels right, it very likely is right.
Follow your own inner guidance.
I will offer this. If you are totally confused
yet believe the products we provide might be right for you, have
your primary health care provider contact me. I will gladly discuss
your case history with your doctor and brainstorm what might meet
your needs. Please, however, have
your practitioner make the contact.
If you are prompted to try our products, I will
make it a little simpler by suggesting that you consider one or
both of the two main tonics. Trifolium
Compound [now called Sundance
Elixir] is somewhat more detoxifying
and stimulating to the eliminatory system. It has nine herbs that
are known to have anticancer actions, but it also contains some
cascara sagrada and is purging in higher dosages. Compound Syrup Scrophularia [renamed
Seneca Elixir] is more subtle but seems to work better where there
is more swelling, lymphatic congestion, and hard lumps. I feel
it is also more effective where infection might be aggravating
the cancer. Both of these tonics are historic re-creations of tonics
or elixirs with a long history in the treatment of cancer.
This part of the site is still being developed,
but there is much more information on my older site. You might
want to go straight to:
You could also go to the online
store. Or, you could tour the section of this site that is
more complete and check out treatment strategies.