The cervix is the neck of the womb (uterus) connecting the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). When cervical cancer develops, the cells of the cervix become abnormal and grow out of control, and the cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which forms warts in the throat and genital area. Although it is the most prevalent cancer in South African black women it is also the most preventable cancer through screening and treatment of precancerous lesion and the use of vaccines. Natural products are being tested for the treatment of cancer as conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy destroy cancerous as well as healthy cells.
There are some herbs that are known to nourish the cervix and our immune system.
Tumeric/Curcumin (Rz. Curcuma longa): Turmeric, and more specifically, curcumin, its primary active ingredient, continues to shine as an awe-inspiring, anti-cancer “superfood” spice with a vast array of tangible health benefits, including its ability to induce cancer cell death and prevent cirrhosis. The Life Extension Foundation (LEF) has conducted extensive research into the anti-cancer properties of turmeric and found that the spice targets an astounding 10 causative factors involved in cancer development, including,DNA damage,chronic inflammation,disruption of cell signaling pathways. Countless hundreds of published studies, it turns out, have also shown that curcumin is a potent anti-cancer food that blocks cancer development in a number of unique ways. Though a precise cancer prevention dosage of turmeric has not officially been established, studies involving human patients with diagnosed cancer found that curcumin doses of about 3,600 mg (3.6 grams) induced paraptosis; targeted destruction of cancer cell mitochondria; disruption of the cancer cell cycle; cancer cell down-regulation; and arrested stem cell development.
Green Tea/ECGC (Camelia sinensis): Extracts from green tea may be useful for treating precancerous conditions of the cervix, potentially halting the progression to cancer, according to the European Journal of Cancer Prevention (2003;12:383–90). Polyphenols are the compounds in green tea responsible for its anticancer effects. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most effective of the polyphenols at inhibiting cancer growth and inducing cancer cell death. Polyphenol E (poly E) is a polyphenol mixture that contains EGCG.
Astragalus Root (Huang Qi, Rdx. Astragalus membranaceus): This herb improves immune-system vitality. Astragalus acts through the same pathways that are the target of many chemotherapy drugs including PARP inhibition and inhibition of the PI3K-Akt pathway so common in many women’s cancers.
Resveratrol, Grape Skin, Grape Seed: Resveratrol (3,4′,5-trihydroxy-trans-
Holy Basil (H. Ociumum gratissimum) is an herb that has been in use for centuries in the Indian tradition of Ayurvedic Medicine. Holy Basil is one of many herbs rich in Ursolic Acid. and phenolic compounds and a wide array of other natural products including polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Rosemary: Herbs and spices are chosen due to their bioactive components which have the ability to reduce the risk of cancer through their antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-tumor activity. Considerable evidence suggests that rosemary extracts, or its isolated components, can retard chemically induced cancers. For example, topical application of a rosemary extract has been reported to block the initiation and promotion phases of B(a)P- and DMBA-mediated skin tumorigenesis (Huang et al. 1994). Rosemary extracts and the active compounds carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid have been found to inhibit the proliferation of various human cancer cell lines. Rosemary species have been found to have the highest antioxidant content due to high content of polyphenolic compounds. Therefore the rosemary species possess potential chemopreventive properties. Sage:
Oregano: The herb possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, and encourages cell death making it a powerful anti-cancer herb; but what is really exciting is that may be particularly effective against prostate cancer and may even become part of the treatment for this cancer.
Snow Fungus: Scientific studies have found that the mucilage like polysaccharides found in snow fungus fit like keys into receptor sites on certain immune cells. This increases the production of interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2), two important immune-system chemicals, and stimulate the production of germ-eating macrophages. Snow fungus increases the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and enhances the effectiveness of antibodies. In addition, snow fungus reduces the rate at which cancers spread. In order to grow and spread, tumors have to establish their own blood-vessel systems. Snow fungus compounds counteract a blood chemical called platelet-activating factor (PAF), which makes the blood less likely to clot and spin a fibrin “net” on which blood vessels to serve the tumor can form. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that snow fungus extracts kill cervical cancer cells, as well those taken from other types of tumors. Snow fungus is known to sensitize the cervix and uterus to radiation treatment, making that treatment more effective. One of the most valuable medical uses of snow fungus is to prevent leukopenia, or low white blood cell counts, in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
Red Clover: Known by such names as “God given” and “prized herb”, red clover is a humble little field herb with incredible healing gifts. Brimming with nutrients, red clover is especially mineral rich, loaded with calcium and magnesium, contains profuse amounts of protein, vitamin B complex and vitamin C. The National Cancer Institute has found anti-tumor properties in this herb, and no less than 33 cultures around the world use red clover to treat cancer. It has been found to contain at least four anti tumor compounds including daidzein and genistein. Red clover also contains significant amounts of antioxidants, especially tocopheral, a form of vitamin E shown to help prevent breast tumors in animals. Red clover is prescribed today for the treatment of breast, ovarian and lymphatic cancers. To augment other approaches to the treatment of these diseases, herbalists recommend drinking two to four cups of red clover blossom infusions daily. Phytosterol rich red clover blossoms have been used for centuries to balance the hormones and promote the production of estrogen.
Sophora Root (ku shen): Sophora root powder or a foam containing sophora alkaloids applied to the cervix was found effective in the treatment of cervix erosion. In another report, the alkaloids at 50–100 mg, given two to three times daily by injection for 10 days, which would be continued for another 10 or 20 days if necessary, effectively treated women with various infections of the reproductive organs, including salpingitis, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, endometritis, chronic cervicitis, and vaginitis. According to Modern Study and Application of Materia Medica , the alcohol extract of sophora (which would be rich in the alkaloids) inhibits vaginal trichomonas (of 176 patients treated topically, 126 were cured).
Mounting evidence suggests that cancers are not an inevitable consequence of aging but are preventable diseases. Herbs can be a factor in one’s diet to lower cancer risk and control tumor behavior.