Chemotherapy Fatigue is real All patients receiving chemotherapy suffer toxic side effects. The most common complaint is chemotherapy related fatigue. A recent study found that that Stage 2 and Stage 3 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy reported less fatigue and improved quality of life when the herbal medicine Ashwaganda was used during the course of their treatment. The breast cancer patients participating in the study received 2000mg of Ashwaganda three times a day. This is an example of the marriage of modern science and ancient healing wisdom.
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) is a traditional herbal medicine that has been used in India for hundreds of years for relieving fatigue and exhaustion associated with physical and emotional stress. It is appropriate for the person who feels “tired and wired”, who is deeply exhausted but cannot relax.
Ashwaganda is classified as an adaptogen or tonic herb. Adaptogens may be thought of as nourishing , replenishing and restorative plants, much like concentrated food. Typically tonic herbs enhance the endurance and stamina and your ability to cope with and recover from stress. Herbal medicines may be used effectively to find relief from side effects of chemotherapy and to maintain and restore healthy function under the supervision of a knowledgable health care professional.
A high percentage of cancer patients seek Integrative Cancer Care and use other therapies including dietary and herbal medicines, acupuncture, dietary and food therapies along with meditation, relaxation and visualization techniques. Increasingly there is more science to back up the valid use of these therapies. An Integrative Cancer Care Plan is a plan for health and wellbeing and therefore includes therapies that manage the physical and emotional stress of the cancer journey as well as support and protect normal healthy functions during traumatic, invasive and difficult diagnostic procedures and toxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments.
The very best outcomes are possible when a cancer patient has a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians who can not only collaborate to treat the disease, but also plan for long term health and well being. This not only improves quality of life but also fosters a sense of control. It is important for cancer patients to feel that they are doing something positive and life giving while going through difficult and toxic treatments. This, in and of itself has been shown to improve immune responsiveness and nourish peace of mind and a sense of hope and optimism in the face of serious illness.