Ayurveda & Traditional Chinese Medicine: Alternative Therapies for Treatment of Leukemia

by • February 10, 2013 • HealthComments (13)13744

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Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases plaguing contemporary society. A 2008 World Cancer Research Fund international survey recorded an estimated 12.7 million cases of cancer throughout the world. Out of the 12.7 million, 350,000 of those cases were leukemia, making up 2.8% of those newly diagnosed in 2008 (WHO). Although there are countless perspectives as to what causes cancer, Western biological structures seem to have the most influence, for they claim “scientific evidence” as their crutch. Yet, the unearthing of quantum physics brought with it concepts that were the very opposite of the previously cemented Newtonian principles of solid matter, reductionism, locality, and strict causality that modern medicine was based on. These new quantum principles that replaced Newtonian physics bore a striking resemblance to the energy systems of healing that had been in place for thousands of years in Eastern Asia. In light of the interconnected relationship discovered between subatomic particles and metaphysical reality, traditional eastern medicines, previously disregarded for lack of scientific evidence, were suddenly of great interest to the scientific community. The traditional medicines, Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine, or TIM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are based on balance and harmony on all levels of existence; whereas Western medicine views the patient as a distinctly physical entity, traditional healing methods see the patient as existing in multiple planes. By viewing the patient as a whole entity, rather than attempting to objectify his/her subjective experience of life, TIM and TCM have major implications in the treatment of cancers. This article seeks to highlight the important concepts of these two alternative healing therapies in the treatment of cancer, while simultaneously providing evidence for their success in treating leukemia and the necessary induction of these methods into contemporary Western medicine.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines cancer as “malignant neoplastic disease, in which there is an uncontrolled proliferation of cells, typically with invasion and destruction of adjacent normal tissue, and often with metastatic spread to distant parts of the body via lymphatics or blood vessels; an instance of this, a malignant tumor,” (OED). Leukemia, then, is seen as an unmanageable growth of cells in the bone marrow. Western medicine, also termed “allopathic” medicine, relies on the Newtonian principles of physical matter, in which the world is made of up of solid matter, there is strict causality of effect, locality of cells deems interactions possible only through direct contact, and systems can be understood by reducing them to their simplest forms. In addition, this physical reality results in the division of body and soul, for a metaphysical component cannot be present within something physical. Rather, our soul exists outside of us, allowing us to separate from our subjective experience of life. This, in turn, became the basis for Western belief in the infallibility of “objective” science (Sharma, 496). The scientific community’s impact on healthcare is a diminishment of interpersonal connection between physician and patient. Patients were, and still are, viewed as objects, as potential paychecks. Herein lies the issue: if patients aren’t seen as individuals, then their personal ailments cannot be treated as such. Causes of cancer are seen just as the soul is, outside of the human body, and a result of environmental factors. The main worldwide risk factor for leukemia is presently smoking, making up 9% (23,000) of deaths (Danaei et al, 1787). Rather than prescribing treatments specific to the patient, allopathic practitioners rely on dangerous procedures, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. In fact, these procedures can even reduce the patient’s lifespan, rather than expanding it. For example, chemotherapy acts as a carcinogenic immunosuppressor, where it can actually kill the patient before they actually die from the cancer itself, while surgery removes the cancer, but doesn’t treat the primary source of it (Trivieri & Anderson, 592-593). The vagueness in which cancer is described in western science is a commentary on how the west views sickness as objective. Each type of cancer is mostly treated with these same three options, yet there are dozens of types of cancers in existence, and all affect the person in unique ways; allopathic medicine treats the symptoms, without bothering to delve into the patient’s subjective experience and understand the underlying causes of the disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been in existence for about 5000 years, and is one of the most widely url-6accepted forms of medicine. TCM is based on the idea of qi, life force energy, flowing through our bodies. Yin and yang are the central focuses for maintaining balance of qi energy and they represent the opposing forces that are separate entities, yet intimately connected and impacted by the other. The yin represents the organ tissue, while the yang is its activity; when the two are imbalanced, either the yin doesn’t have the raw materials it needs to function, or the yang doesn’t react accordingly. According to TCM, there are meridians of energy internally and externally flowing around us, and each of these meridians corresponds with a specific organ. TCM’s Five Phase Theory breaks up ten organs into one of five elemental categories: earth, metal, fire, wood, or water. Each of these elements is comprised of a yin and a yang organ. The yin organs consist of the heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, and liver, for they are more substantial, solid organs, whereas the yang organs include the small intestine, stomach, large intestine, bladder, and gallbladder, which are hollow organs, functional organs (Trivieri & Anderson, 456-58).  TCM also takes into account the body-mind network that functions as communication, and seeks to analyze the process so as to integrate it into healing. The body-mind network “may be partly regulated by the relative contributions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic components of the nervous system;” this also relates to the TCM concept of informational transfer and balance between ying & yang (Wong, Sagar, & Sagar, 235).

Leukemia, in terms of TCM, can be viewed as a disruption of this information flow between yin & yang, and “is represented in TCM terms by patterns of disharmonies in the main organ systems, as well as abnormalities of qi (energy flow), essence (energy reserves), blood, heat, and moisture,” (Wong et al, 236). Treatment, then, reaches the patient on a deeper level than allopathic symptom reducers. Rather, TCM uses herbal remedies and acupuncture to realign the out-of-balance life force.  The body-mind network model of TCM combines emotions and feelings with symptoms to create a personalized diagnosis and treatment regiment based on the root causes of the symptoms, as well as the symptoms themselves. This is evident in the correlation between increasing qi, manifested as anger (liver fire), and the finding that anger can suppress the immune system (Wong et al, 236).

url-3Because we each exist on numerous levels, TCM treatment uses four major approaches to treating cancer. The first is called Fu Zheng Xie, which supports normal qi function while clearing away the evil. This method is an immunomodulating technique, in which the patient’s own immune system is strengthened by using Fu Zheng herbs, biological response modifiers, so that it can defend itself from pathogens (Wong et al, 238). In addition, cancer is seen as due to a deficiency that must be resolved so that the qi isn’t weakened as much during the healing process Fu Zheng herbs “contain high levels of polysaccharides with strong immunopotentiating activity,” (Lahans 53-4). In other words, the herbal remedies prescribed boost the body’s immune system responses. Ginseng root has been found to have anti-tumor activity, to inhibit platelet aggregation, and inhibit immunosuppression that is the result of chemotherapy (Wong et al, 237). Within this biological response modification again we see the underlying intention of TCM to increase the body’s own immunological responses. The second method of TCM cancer treatment is named Huo Xueurl-7 Qu Yu, in which blood stasis is considered to be either the cause or the result of cancer. Blood stasis syndrome, a form of Chinese diagnostics, indicates the points on the body which have poor circulation. Certain herbs break down the fibrin coating that prevents chemotherapy and immune cells from entering the tumor by changing the viscosity of the blood, helping to maintain regular circulation, and regulates blood flow, among others, (Lahans, 54). Blood stagnation is associated with tumors, for the poor circulation leads to the survival of cancer cells in low oxygen environments. The herbs used here are meant to detoxify the blood, so that it and the qi move smoothly (Wong et al, 237). The next treatment method is called Qing Re Jie Du, in which heat and toxins are cleared. Effects of these herbs are similar to chemotherapy drugs, in that they “reduce inflammation, neutralize toxins, reduce fevers of many kinds and often treat pain,” as well as containing cancer growth suppressors (Lahans, 54). Ruan Jian San Jie, in which one “soften[s] the hard and dissolve[s] the knotted,” is the next herbal treatment option (Lahans, 54). These herbs are salty, and help to break down tumors that are hard and filled with phlegm. They enter the phlegm mass and pry it open, allowing other herbs and chemicals in to break it up. The final herbal option is Yi Du Gong Du, in which one uses a toxin to attack another toxin, seen most often in chemotherapy. Each of these herbal paths are considered and then combined by the TCM practitioner to suit the specific disease of the patient (Lahans, 54-55). Acupuncture is also used to diminish the effects of chemotherapy, as well as to reduce pain and allow the patient to preserve his/her qi.


url-8Certain herbs have been found to be especially beneficial to cancer prevention and treatment. Medicinal mushrooms have been a topic of research lately, for there are at least 270 species of mushrooms thought to have healing properties. One promising species known as Lentinan, “has been shown to possess anti-tumor activity, to prevent metastasis, and to inhibit chemical- and viral-induced oncogenesis,” (Sullivan, Smith, & Rowan, 164). As a result, Lentanin plays a part in improving the overall quality of life of patients suffering from side-effects of conventional treatment by reducing nausea, hair loss, and pain.  The effectiveness of many of these herbal compounds lies in the state of compound itself; rather, “the purported medicinal and chemo-preventive role of crude mushroom extracts may lie in the synergistic interactions of the many constituents,” (Sullivan, Smith, & Rowan, 167). Other methods of healing that don’t include herbs or acupuncture are qigong, transcendental meditation, and Tai Chi. These methods enable the person to get to know themselves on a deeper level and then, in turn, come to know the root of their disease better. From this, full recovery is possible through determination and surrender.

Ayurveda comes from Sanskrit, where “ayus” means life, and “veda,” represents knowledge, and was the first form of healing that emphasized the importance of health on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual levels (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 3). This form of healing is a five thousand year old Indian medicinal system that is based on the concept of a universe made up of 5 elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth, with each of these urlelements present at all levels of life, in one way or another (Patwardhan et al, 466). Ayurveda characterizes the body into one of three dosha (body) types, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, while attempting to reach a “balanced coordination of body, mind, and consciousness,” which is the ayurvedic signal of health (Garodia et al, 1-2). Each body type has its own dietary restrictions, optimal functioning time of the day, and corresponding season. Ayurveda is designed, just as TCM is, to promote good health and prevention, rather than attacking the symptoms of the disease once it comes. The two textbooks of Ayurveda are called imgres-2Charaka Samhita, which “deals with the etiology, symptomology, pathology, prognosis, and medical management of the disease, and Sushruta Samhita, which contains information on surgical instruments and procedures (Garodia et al, 1-2). In addition, TIM uses the mind and the spirit to get to know the body so that it can reach a balance between the three body types.

The Vata dosha is in charge of movement and flow of the body’s locomotor functions, such as blood circulation, expansion and contraction of heart and lungs, and nervous system actitivies, among others (Sharma, 500). Vata governs the most important mechanisms and turl-9herefore controls the other two doshas. A vata is usually of light, thin build, performs activity quickly, have a tendency for dry skin, an aversion to  cold weather, irregular hunger and digestion, quick to understand new information, but also quick to forget it, tendency to worry, tendency towards constipation, and a tendency towards light, interrupted sleep. An imbalance of this dosha is usually characterized by rough skin, weight loss, anxiety, restlessness, constipation, decreased strength, arthritis, hypertension, rheumatic disorder, cardiac arrhythmia, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome (Sharma, 500-502).

Pitta dosh governs the bodily functions that are associated with metabolism and heat, and also directs all biochemical reactions and the process of energy exchange. This dosha regulates hunger/ metabolism, secretion of hormones, the respiratory system, and others (Sharma, 500). thumb26217-doshaCharacteristics of a pitta include moderate build with medium speed, aversion to hot weather, sharp hunger and digestion, medium time to grasp incoming information, regular memory, tendency towards irritability and anger, sharp and clever mind, prefers cold foods and drinks, cannot skip meals, is a good speaker, and has a tendency towards reddish hair and complexion, along with moles and freckles (Sharma, 502). An imbalanced pitta could lead to yellowish complexion, excessive body heat, insufficient sleep, weak digestion, inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, heartburn, peptic ulcers, and anger (Sharma, 501).

Finally, the kapha dosha is in charge of the structure and coherency of the organism, for it governs biological strength, natural tissue resistance, and proper bodily structure in terms of bodily systems, including neurological (Sharma, 500). When imbalanced, kapha can have a pale complexion, coldness, laziness and dullness, excessive sleep, sinusitis, respiratory diseases/asthma, excessive weight gain, loose joints, and depression (Sharma, 501). The Kapha traits usually include solid, heavier build, greater strength and endurance, slow, methodical activity, smooth but oily skin, tranquil, steady personality, slow to grasp new information, but slow to forget, slow to become excited or irritated, sleeps heavily and for long periods of time, hair tends to be thick and dark, and there is usually evidence of slow digestion and mild hunger (Sharma, 502). When these doshas are out of balance, they create a disharmony that causes the physical manifestation of disease. These pathogens are throughout the whole body, and are the result of bad hygiene, bad diet, poor lifestyle choices, and bad habits. When there is excessive water or fat in a tumor, as well as balanced doshas, the tumor seems to be benign. If one isn’t careful to rebalance one’s doshas, tumors may form as a result of bodily negligence. Factors that cause Vata aggravation are “excessive intake of bitter, pungent, astringent, dry foods and stressful conditions,” (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 2). Pitta aggravations are the result of the “excessive intake of sour, salty, fried foods and excessive anger,” (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 2). Aggravating factors of Kapha include “excessive intake of sweet, oily food and sedentary nature,” (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 2).


Ayurveda defines the “ultimate basis of disease” as “losing one’s connection to (or memory of) the unified field, which is the innermost core of one’s own being and experience,” (Sharma, 498). A main technique of ayurvedic practitioners to retrieve information is through nadi vigyan, or pulse diagnosis. Here, the practitioner can access internal functioning information through reading subtle signs in the radial pulse, which encodes information regarding the cardiovascular system and other (Sharma, 501). Again we see, just as we did in TCM, an emphasis on the synergistic effects of chemicals within the plants. It is believed that these compounds are naturally occurring for a reason, and that their natural synergy is just as strong, if not stronger, than an isolated chemical. In turn, these herbal mixtures are seen as part of the consciousness model, a quantum theory that all nature is made up of probability waves that are a function of intelligence, and that we live within a field of energy information similar to the Zero Point Field (Sharma, 497), (McTaggart, 24). Therefore, according to this energy model, ayurvedic tinctures and plant remedies are a reintroduction of information into a disrupted system. In essence, the natural intelligence of the plants increases the overall expression of intelligence within our bodies (Sharma, 502).

Ayurveda views the illness within each patient as unique, so instead of naming the disease, it is related to the levels of pitta or agni (fire) that lives in all cells and is responsible for digestion and metabolism in the body. The lack of pitta results in an inverse reaction in tumor growth. In addition, vata represents the anabolic (built-up) growth phase, while kapha represents a catabolic (break-down) phase. Cancer is a result of the aggravation of vata, and the suppression of kapha, resulting in a buildup of tissue, which eventually becomes a tumor. The six stages of tumor growth mentioned in the Sushruta are “sanchaya: early stages of localized neoplastic changes,” “prakopa: transformation of primary growths into metastatic tumors,” “prasara: metastasis,” “sthana samsraya: complete metastasis and secondary growth,” “vyakti: clinical signs and symptoms are expressed,” and “bheda: the stage where differentiation of growth occurs on the basis of histopathology,” (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 3).

Cancer, according to ayurvedic principles, develops in three stages. First, the patient suffers from the initial stage of glandular swelling, also known as granthi. This, then, develops into the second stage of cancer, arbuda, in which we confirm and define the specific malignancy. Cancer is viewed as a result of “lifestyle errors,” including “unhealthy foods, poor hygiene, or poor behavior, or from physical trauma, all leading to imbalances of [the doshas], resulting in injury to the inner layer of the dermis (rohini, the sixth later of skin) and the formation of abnormal branches of blood vessels,” (Garodia et al, 2). This leads to the formation of either granthi or arbuda, which arrive in the form of bubbled glandular growths. Granthi tends to be hard, round, and bulging, while arbuda has been described as large, round, immovable, muscular, deeply rooted, and slow growth of swelling as a result of aggravated doshas, which vitiate the muscle, blood, and fatty tissues (Garodia et al, 2-3). This explains why tumors that are tridoshic, or a result of the imbalance of all doshas, are usually malignant, for the homeostasis created by the harmonic doshas is lost.

Ayurvedic therapy is divided into four distinct categories: Prakriti Sthapani chikitsa, or health maintenance, roganashani chikitsa, or disease cure, rasayana chikitsa, or restoration of normal function, and naishthiki chikitsa, or the spiritual approach. Rather than treating the symptoms as allopathic medicine tends to do, ayurvedic principles are designed to search for the root cause of the illness, whose development is classified in six stages: “aggravation, accumulation, overflow, relocation, build-up in a new location, and manifestation into a recognizable disease,” (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 3). In addition, because Ayurveda considers the illness to be non-localized, url-10the herbal tinctures used to treat cancer impact the entire body by treating multiple organ systems at once (Balachandran & Govindarajan, 5). Shodhana chikitsa, or strong purifying techniques, is used in Ayurvedic cancer care to flush the system of toxins and restore the natural rhythm to the body by balancing out imbalanced doshas. After, rejuvenitive therapies are used to cleanse the body of blockages that may result from the purification. Before treating the imbalanced doshas directly, “emotional support and psychotherapy are provided with yoga, meditation, prayers, and chanting, along with individualized nutrition plans and dietary interventions,” (Garodia et al, 4). By treating the patient on all levels of being, the practitioner can heal the complex, multi-layered individual by being attentive to their spiritual and environmental health, which can often be overlooked in contemporary western medicine.

Most research into traditional healing modalities has been biased in an attempt to discredit it, poorly funded and therefore poorly designed, or used in an attempt to relate it to standing biological structures in the west. TIM and TCM have been found to be extremely successful in conjunction with contemporary, allopathic measures for treating cancer, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and invasive surgical techniques. While there is little research available on the effectiveness of traditional medicine’s impact on leukemia, there is an abundance of research on the isolated chemicals that western science believes to be the true source of healing. Yet, little research gives credit to the overall effect of the therapies themselves; by isolating compounds we are in danger of doing to traditional medicine what allopathic medicine has done for healing in the west, increased specialization and a decreased holistic view of the body.

Traditional Chinese medicine has undergone an intense revival in the past fifteen years. Hong Kong’s realization of the potential for increased business and public interest in TCM has lead them to create a “10-year plan for making the city an ‘international center for Chinese medicine,” (Normile, 2). As a result, increasing amounts of research are being conducted in the east on Chinese medicinal herbal compounds and their biochemical effects on patients suffering from leukemia.

url-11In a study by Efferth et al, Chinese herbs were tested for their effects on multi-drug resistant leukemia cells. Numerous herbs were administered to three types of leukemic cells by two different blind laboratories, one in Australia and one in Germany. The results of the experiment were based on a growth curve gathered over a period of ten days. Researchers found that homoharringtonine, bufalin, and artesunate were the urlmost effective compounds reducing the size of leukemic cells. Bufalin seems the most promising in this experiment, for not only did the three types of leukemic cells not show any resistance to the herb, but some even showed increased sensitivity. This experiment shows the importance of herbal medicine in decreasing resistance to anti-cancer treatments (Efferth et al, 161-168)

Interestingly, researchers have also found anti-leukemic properties in the herb Indigofera tinctoria, which is commonly known as the dye for blue jean manufacturers. A compound called Indorubin was isolated from this, and was found to stop cell growth through the url-1inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) in leukemia cells by binding to the ATP-binding sites of cell-cycle controllers. However, the use of this compound ceased in the 1970’s, due to evidence that it causes gastrointestinal tract problems, as well as being “poorly water soluble,” (Bradbury, 1131). Scientists url-12have eliminated this issue by isolating derivatives, such as meisoindigo, which is widely used in China for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Meisoindigo was also found to shorten the path to remission when paired with an all-trans retinoic acid (Bradbury, 1131-1132).

A study done by Ruan, Lai, & Zhou showed the positive effects of certain herbal derivatives on leukemic cells. Artesunate, a derived compound of artemisinin, was found to be extremely effective on leukemia specifically (along with colon cancer). In addition, butanol and PC-SPES were found to inhibit cell growth and tumor generation in patients suffering from leukemia (Ruan, Lai, & Zhou, 4-6) Takrisodokyeum (TRSDY), a compound of 12 herbs in various proportions, was also found to have an effect on destabilizing cancer cells. In fact, “promyelocytic leukeamic cells (HL-60) cells pre-treated with TRSDY revealed that apoptotic cell death was indeed caspase-3 induced,” with “Its activation resulting in classical apoptotic signs including DNA fragmentation, chromatin condensation and plasma membrane blebbing, (Parekh, Lui, & Wei, 4). Here, apoptosis represents cell death, while caspase-3 is a pro-apoptotic enzyme that causes cleavage and destruction of cancer cells.

Ayurveda too lacks sufficient research into the positive effects of TIM on cancer, and leukemia specifically. Instead, just as with TCM, studies tend to focus on isolation of compounds found in Ayurvedic treatments and diets in order to satisfy the western appetite for empirical findings. Once again we see the lack of awareness of the holistic view of health, and western science, by isolating derivatives, is ignoring the interaction of the naturally occurring chemicals within the body. Rather, empirical science is intent on separating out the specific chemical it deems responsible for the anti-cancer properties, instead of testing whether it may be the interactions of each chemical within the plant or food itself.

A 1997 case study of a 16-year old boy in New Delhi, India with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) revealed that the teen had gone through two cycles of chemotherapy, reached remission, but then relapsed. However, he refused another round of chemotherapy and/or a bone marrow transplant, and instead opted to try Ayurvedic Therapy (AYT). Proper diet, yoga, and supportive therapy were given, along with Navjeevan, Valapani, Kamdhuda, and Prak-20, which are Ayurvedic herbal compounds. Six months after the patient began AYT scans showed that only 1% of cancerous cells were present in the bone marrow, while none were detected in the bloodstream. The patient continued steady treatment for the next 5 years, after which he “received intermittent maintenance AYT, same as mentioned before, in the same doses for three months in the next two years,” (Prakash, 2).

Another case study reported of a 47 year old male in Mumbai who was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) in 1997. The patient was given a cocktail of medications, Navjeevan, Valapani, Kamdhuda, and Prak-20 antibiotics, blood components, and multiple rounds of chemotherapy after multiple remissions and relapses. However, after his last relapse he refused anymore chemotherapy and instead opted to sign up for an url-14experimental study conducted by the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. When the man began therapy he was anemic, anorexic, weak, and had a lung infection, which was the main reason for the use of light antibiotics and blood transfusions with the AYT. His Ayurvedic therapy consisted of a strict Pittavardhak aahar, an herbo-mineral compound, and salt diet, as well as isolation. The patient’s symptoms and condition seemed to get better after fifteen days of AYT, and after a month his tests began to come back normal, along with an increase in energy and strength. After about a year, the therapy was stopped, while he continued to receive treatment for three months once a year for the next five years, until 2003. The patient has had no reports of relapse in the seven years since his completion of AYT (Prakash, Parikh, & Pal, 3-4).

Specific plants have been found to be extremely effective when treating different types of leukemia. Compounds derived from the Vinca rosea plant have been found to be particularly effective in treatment of Lymphatic leukemia, while K40, which is found in Semecarpus anacardium (SCAS) shows potential in treating chronic myeloid leukemia (Marmont & Damasio, 15). In addition, aqueous, alcoholic, acidic, and olive oil solutions of Plumbago zeylanica were reported to work against lymphocytic leukemia, and Withania somnifera (Aswagandha), a common Indian medicinal plant also known as the Indian ginseng, was also reported to have effects on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Teja & Nayak, 2). Gold nanoparticles are also being researched for their anti-cancerous properties. Still used in India “under the name Swarna Bhasma (‘Swarna’ meaning gold, ‘Bhasma’ meaning ash),” and is referred to as the “drug of longevity” because of its use in rejuvenation and revitalization for the elderly (Mukherjee et al, 9). These gold particles were found to be particularly detrimental to B- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) by combining with another compound called VEGF to increase apoptosis through the use of UV-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) (Mukherjee et al, 4-9).

The use of TCM and TIM as medical treatment for leukemia is still a long way from being a scientifically or culturally accepted practice in western allopathic medicine. Regardless of thousands of years of practice, western science has the arrogance to call into question the validity of these techniques, when allopathic medicine itself is still in its infancy. More research is needed on the effectiveness of the overall traditional therapies, rather than the impact of an isolated derivative from a specific herb used in treatment. These traditional treatments are holistic practices of medicine, and therefore the research into them should allot them the courtesy of at least considering each therapy as a whole first. Although empirical evidence is needed to truly gage the effectiveness of a treatment, this does not necessarily mean that each chemical considered to be potentially helpful should be isolated. Before delving in and picking out the specific active components in each individual herb, western science must realize that these herbs are prescribed in conjunction with one another, and while each specific chemical within the plant may not have an effect on leukemia itself, the interaction of the chemicals within the plant is where the secret in their success lies.



For Citations and Further Research 

1)    Balachandran, P., & Govindarajan, R. (2005). cancer—an ayurvedic perspective. Pharmacological Research, 51(1), 19-30. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661804001094

2)    Bradbury, Jane. “From Chinese medicine to anticancer drugs.” Drug Discovery Today. 10.17 (2005): 1131-1132. Print. <http://zp3xh7ca4f.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_tim=2011-11-10T21:20:00IST&url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=infofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ct&xrfr_id=info:sid/primo.exlibrisgroup.com:primo3-Article-sciversesciencedirect_elsevier&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=From Chinese medicine to anticancer drugs&rft.jtitle=Drug Discovery Today&rft.btitle=&rft.aulast=Bradbury&rft.auinit=&rft.auinit1=&rft.auinitm=&rft.ausuffix=&rft.au=Bradbury, Jane&rft.aucorp=&rft.date=2005&rft.volume=10&rft.issue=17&rft.part=&rft.quarter=&rft.ssn=&rft.spage=1131&rft.epage=1132&rft.pages=1131-1132&rft.artnum=&rft.issn=1359-6446&rft.eissn=&rft.isbn=&rft.sici=&rft.coden=&rft_id=info:doi/10.1016/S1359-6446(05)03587-7&rft.object_id=&svc_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:sch_svc&svc.fulltext=yes&rft.eisbn=&rft_dat=S1359-6446(05)03587-7&rft_id=info:oai/>.

3)    Danaei, G., Vander Hoorn, S., Lopez, A. D., Murray, C. L. J., & Ezzati, M. (2005). Causes of cancer in the world: comparative risk assessment of nine behaviioural and environmental risk factors. Lancet, 366, 1784-93. Retrieved from http://medres.med.ucla.edu/Education/syllabus/solid/pdf/4. Modifieable Risk Factors for Cancer.pdf

4)    Garodia, P., Ichikawa, H., Malani, N., Sethi, G., & Aggarwal, B. (2007). From ancient medicine to modern medicine: ayurvedic concepts of health and their role in inflammation and cancer. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 5(1), Retrieved from http://www.jivaresearch.org/research/curcumin/From_ancient_medicine_to_modern_medicine-_Ayurvedic_concepts_of_health_and_their_role_in_inflamma.pdf

5)    Lahans, T. (2007). Treatment principles in chinese medicine for modern integrated cancer care. The Journal of Chinese Medicine, (85), 53-56. Retrieved from http://bingprimo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com:1701/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=detailsTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=TN_gale_hrca170019716&indx=1&recIds=TN_gale_hrca170019716&recIdxs=0&elementId=0&renderMode=poppedOut&displayMode=full&frbrVersion=&dscnt=1&scp.scps=scope:(bing_aleph),scope:(bing_eternity),primo_central_multiple_fe&frbg=&tab=default_tab&dstmp=1319040921679&srt=rank&mode=Basic&dum=true&tb=t&vl(freeText0)=Treatment principles in Chinese medicine for modern integrated cancer care&vid=BING

6)    Marmont, Alberto, and Eugenio Damasio. “The Effects of Two Alkaloids Derived from Vinca Rosea on the Malignant Cells of Hodgkin’s Disease, Lymphosarcoma and Acute Leukemia in Vivo .” Blood. 29.1 (1967): 1-21. Print. <http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/29/1/1>.

7)    McTaggart , Lynne. The Field. 3rd. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. Print.

8)    Mukherjee, Priyabrata, Resham Bhattacharya, Nancy Bone, Yean Lee, Chitta Patra, Shanfeng Wang, Lichun Lu, and Charla Secreto. “Potential therapeutic application of gold nanoparticles in B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (BCLL): enhancing apoptosis.” Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 5.4 (2007): 1-13. Print. <http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1477-3155-5-4.pdf>.

9)    Parekh, Harendra, Gang Lui, and Ming Wei. “A new dawn for the use of traditional Chinese medicine in cancer therapy.” Molecular Cancer. 8.21 (2009): n. page. Print. <http://www.molecular-cancer.com/content/8/1/21>.

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