Skip to content

Chinese Herb to fight Breast Cancer

Black Cohosh to fight Breast Cancer
by Matt Van Dyke, EAMP

Recently a Chinese herb, Cimicifuga foetida, has been shown to possess novel anti-cancer  effects.  You probably don’t know this herb by it’s Chinese name: 升麻, Sheng Ma.  But  most likely you do know of it by its common name: Black Cohosh.
In Western herbalism, Black Cohosh is most popular in its use for the treatment of  menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.  Studies that have been conducted have  shown mixed results for this treatment, it seems to work great for some women, but for  others it does nothing.  Also, in some women it causes indigestion and stomach cramps.   The reasons for these inconsistencies can be reconciled if we look at the herb from an  energetic standpoint.  In Chinese Medicine Sheng Ma is Sweet, Spicy, and Cool by nature.   It enters the Large Intestine, Lung, Spleen, and Stomach channels.  It has 3 distinct  actions.  It disperses ‘wind-heat’ and vents measles.  It Clears heat and toxins, especially  from the upper part of the body.  And it raises yang qi.  Because of it’s ‘raising’ function, it  can act as a guiding herb, leading other herbs to the upper part of the body, a trick that  comprises some of the strategies of Chinese herbal formula therapeutics.
As you can see, this herb helps to guide the qi and heat up and out.  If someone has ‘cold’  in the stomach, or a tendency towards ‘rebellious stomach qi’ (i.e. nausea, vomiting), this  herb could exacerbate these effects.  Or if the woman has severe sweating or night sweats,  this herb could actually exacerbate the condition by opening the pores even further.
In a Chinese Medicinal herbal formula, the herbs are balanced in such a way that very  specific interactions between the herbs create an overall therapeutic action which  counteracts or balances a certain energetic state in the body.  Some formulas are comprised  of hot herbs to warm the body, some formulas are comprised of cold herbs to clear  inflammation and heat from the body.
What about the anti-cancer properties?  Well 2 things.  First of all it’s very interesting to  note that this herb goes to the Stomach channel.  The Stomach channel in Chinese  Medicine goes directly through the breast.  Also, this herb ‘clears heat and toxins’.  Cancer  is a pathological state of the body characterized by heat and toxins.  In fact, most of the  research that has been done on Cancer and Chinese herbs consists of finding all of the  herbs that ‘clear heat and toxins’ and testing them on cancer cells. With this method new  drugs and mechanisms of action are being found frequently.
This makes Sheng Ma or Black Cohosh and ideal herb to study for potential anti-cancer  effects.  And what did they find?  Novel triterpenoids that inhibit breast carcinoma cells.
Surprise surprise!
Here is a link to the original study:
http://www.cmjournal.org/content/11/1/1

For Herb consultation or Acupuncture treatment, please call 360.466.1800 or go online  at www.mattvandykelac.com to schedule an appointment.

This article was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.
360-466-1800