According to pharmacynews.com, homeopathy may help relieve several side effects of chemo, including dermatitis (itchy, inflamed skin), stomatitis (ulcers and infection in the mouth), and more.
So what is homeopathy, and how can you take advantage of it during cancer treatment?
The Society of Homeopaths says that science can’t explain exactly how homeopathy works, but it’s based on the principle of “like cures like.”
“A substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person,” they say, “is used to cure those same symptoms in illness. For example, one remedy which might be used in a person suffering from insomnia is coffee.” Apparently, such a remedy triggers the body’s own healing processes. Considered a “gentler” way of healing, homeopathy has been around for thousands of years, and typically uses plant, mineral, and animal-based medicines, diluted to form a “tincture.” The solution is then agitated (shaken) before used in treatment.
In a review of several scientific trials involving over 600 participants, scientists found that skin irritation caused by radiation was less in patients using calendula ointment (a homeopathic remedy) than trolamine (a topical agent). Patients with mouth sores had better luck with a homeopathic combination of medicines than with a placebo. Researchers warn that these results are preliminary and that more studies need to be done, but they provide more evidence that natural remedies offer comfort during cancer treatments.
If you’d like to try homeopathy yourself, the best thing to do is to find a specialist who can help you. The National Center for Homeopathy provides a listing of homeopaths, with a page that allows you to search in your area. (The Society of Homeopaths also offers a handy search engine.) The site also gives you important information you should know when choosing someone. For instance, homeopathy can be practiced by all kinds of healthcare professionals, from medical doctors to nurse practitioners to physician’s assistants. The important thing is that the person is certified in homeopathy, and that he/she has experience dealing with cancer side effects.
Holistic.com gives you a handy list of questions you can ask your new practitioner, like, “How will I know a homeopathic remedy is working?” and “Will I experience any side effects from homeopathy?” If you’re interested in doing more research on homeopathic treatments for cancer side effects, check out this page, which offers some homeopathic solutions. For example, to relieve nausea and vomiting, it suggests cadmium sulphuratum, available only by prescription.
“Homeopathic remedies can help manage drug side effects without drug interactions,” says homeopath Nicole Duelli, CCH, RSHom (NA). “…[It] stimulates the body’s immune system and strengthens the body’s vitality to minimize the toxic side effects of chemotherapy.”
If you’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, dermatitis, and/or exhaustion, homeopathy may help. At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your healthcare professional about it.
Have you experienced the benefits of homeopathy during treatment? Please let us know.