Plant products have been used for centuries and many Western allopathic medicines, including oncology drugs, are derived from plants. Plants contain many potentially effective compounds and determining which are beneficial and which are harmful is a challenge. Moreover, the constituents may work synergistically to provide the effects
Homoeopathy is based on the ancient principle that "like can treat like." Homoeopathic remedies are prepared from a mother tincture, which is diluted down in successive steps. At each step the solution is given a vigorous shake, and homoeopaths believe that the power of the diluted solution to heal is conferred during these successive shakes.
Hundreds of herbal remedies are purported to have benefits in palliative care, including anticancer benefits as well as more general immune enhancing effects. Most of them do not have proven specific benefits but this could be due to the quality of the trials conducted. Possible interactions with active treatment and side effects necessitate caution in recommending their use. Careful discussion with a knowledgeable health professional is recommended. The evidence of clinical effectiveness of homoeopathy is mixed and scientific research into homoeopathy in cancer is in its infancy. Nevertheless, homoeopathy is used by patients in palliative care, and there is evidence that they find the approach helpful. The best available evidence suggests effectiveness of use for fatigue, hot flushes, pain including joint pain and muscle spasm, anxiety and stress, depression, quality of life including mood disturbance, radiotherapy, skin reactions, and ileus after surgery
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