Health Team

Herb helps child chemo patients

Posted January 8, 2010

A new study finds that an herb could help young cancer patients dealing with liver problems that are a harsh side effect of the toxic chemicals used in chemotherapy.

"Children with leukemia will experience liver toxicity about two-thirds of the time," said Dr. Kara Kelly, with the Columbia University Medical Center. "Sometimes, that means we have to hold their chemotherapy or we have to reduce the doses."

Herb may help chemo patients Herb may help chemo patients

Maisy Holehouse experienced those side effects when age 1½-years-old, she underwent chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common cancer in children.

"I remember lying in bed. That's all," Maisy said.

A new study found that an over-the-counter herb, called milk thistle, might help relieve those symptoms.

Fifty young leukemia patients with liver inflammation participated in the study. Those who took milk thistle showed improvement.

"To potentially have something that will allow us to administer the full doses of chemotherapy, that may help us in the future," Kelly said.

Maisy took milk thistle as part of the study, and her liver inflammation showed improvement. She underwent two years of chemotherapy and, at 9-years-old, has been cancer-free ever since.

"She is just an upbeat, loving, happy, robust girl," said Maisy's mother, Alice Coleman.

While more research is needed to better understand the benefits of milk thistle, Kelly said that Maisy's success shows promise for other young cancer patients.


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  • mocena Jan 12, 2010

    Animal Lover- Just so you know, many chemo drugs are created from compounds found in plants. Vincristine, a drug used to treat lymphoma, for example, is made from the periwinkle plant. So before you demonize the entire medical community, maybe you should do your research.

  • rhoda_penmark Jan 12, 2010

    "Herb" has always helped chemo/cancer patients. That's why it's legal in some states for medical use. :-)

  • CestLaVie Jan 11, 2010

    Amazing. Someone actually thought that something so NATURAL might help these patients. Why don't they extend that line of thought to include fresh, organic veggies, fruits, seeds, grains, legumes. Cut the sugar, processed foods, meat, poultry, dairy from their diets and just see how much & how fast they'd improve some more?

    I guess that's too simple an answer. Think how much it would deprive the medical, drug & food industry of their massive profits.

    Don't get me wrong here. I feel sorry for these kids, but the answers being given them are simply wrong, wrong, wrong. And, the biggest whopper in this is that these kids TRUST us to help them. Big mistake. They are true victims to this nations' brainwash.

    Medical industry comments: Save them. Until you're truly willing to look at alternative forms of health & healing, you're barking up the wrong tree. All you are is a product of what you've been taught & in this case, you're wrong. Some see it; most don't.