Getting a diagnosis of cancer is every pet owner’s worst nightmare. I unfortunately don’t have a magical herbal cure. But, there are a few herbs which are looking very promising in the fight against cancer. Let me tell you a bit about these:
Artemisinin, a molecule isolated from Artemisia annua (Wormwood) has been found to have some anti-cancer activity. When the molecule comes into contact with a high concentration of iron (which is common in cancer cells) it breaks down, releasing a type of reactive oxygen, which is toxic to cancer cells because they have unusually low levels of anti-oxidant enzymes. The dose used by the researchers was 300mg Artemisinin twice a day.
This research was done on humans or in vitro, but Artemisia is safe for dogs in the correct dose and this might be worth trying. I believe you can get Artemisinin drops. Just remember to adjust the human dose down according to your pet’s bodyweight.
Our very own proudly South African Rooibos tea has been shown to have a strong anti-mutagenic effect. The Rooibos Council: “They prevent or slow down cancer by protecting the DNA in living cells against oxidative damage, or by removing cancerous cells that already have DNA damage. Rooibos may also be able to switch on certain genes that help to break down carcinogens. Extensive work has been done with rat and mice models proving the ability of Rooibos to delay the development of skin cancer lesions, reduce pre-cancerous lesions in the liver and inhibit the development of papillomas in the oesophagus.”
This means that our pets could benefit from the addition of Rooibos to their diet, not while they are suffering from cancer, but before, in order to help to prevent cancer.
An Australian vet, Dr Doug English, after using turmeric for many different conditions over the years, started a Facebook group called Turmeric User Group. He asked his clients to paste their stories onto the page so that he could keep a record of his results. He was overwhelmed by stories of Turmeric treating all sort of diseases, including cancer.
He suggests using the Turmeric together with a cold pressed oil (coconut, olive or linseed) and a few grinds of black pepper. (More info here: http://www.turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-for-animals/)
The main active ingredient of Turmeric is called Curcumin. It has been shown to have both a protective effect against cancer and the ability to halt the growth of and sometimes even shrink tumours. A 2007 study suggests that it also helps to prevent the spread of cancer from one organ to another.
All of this research is very preliminary and one can’t say for sure that any of these herbs will definitely cure your pet of cancer. But, if I were the owner of a pet with cancer, I think I’d try the Turmeric and Artemisia. And I think it is definitely a good idea to add Rooibos tea to the day to day diet of dogs and cats.