Natural Therapies For Cancer-Related Fatigue

The stress of dealing with cancer and the conventional therapies associated with it such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can be overwhelming. A number of side effects can occur from these treatments that may include anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, headaches, skin rashes, hair loss, diarrhea, constipation, infection, weight loss, skin damage(radiation), heart disease,  loss of appetite, nerve damage, mouth and throat changes, low libido, swelling, urination changes, loss of memory and focus, anemia, and bleeding problems. Yet the most common side effect of all is fatigue, referred to in medical circles as cancer-related fatigue (CRF). A variety of studies show that approximately 80 to 90 percent of people who receive chemotherapy and radiation experience fatigue.

There are several natural therapies we offer at The Stengler Center for this problem. The most powerful is intravenous nutrient therapy. As well, several supplements are helpful including ginseng, including Asian and American ginseng. The first study was 3 months in duration that monitored the quality of life scores in people with cancer. They found those that took 3000 mg of Panax ginseng had improvement in mental and physical functioning compared to placebo. An even better quality study that was double-blind and randomized involved 364 fatigue cancer survivors at 40 different institutions. A dose of 2000 mg of American ginseng was given for 8 weeks which resulted in statistically significant improvement in fatigue scores compared to placebo.

The authors of the study found that ginseng had several different balancing effects on the body which could account for its ability to help CRF based on a variety of research. They noted the ability of ginseng to downregulate inflammatory pathways, decrease inflammation, and modulate cortisol and the impact of chronic stress on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis.”



Park JH, Cha HY, Seo JJ, Hong JT, Han K, Oh KW. Anxiolytic-like effects of ginseng in the elevated plus-maze model: comparison of red ginseng and sun ginseng. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005;29(6):895-900.

Barton DL, Liu H, Dakhil SR, et al. Wisconsin ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to improve cancer-related fatigue: a randomized, double-blind trial, N07C2. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013;105(16):1230-1238.

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