By Ric Coggins
The use of medicinal herbs was one of the greatest factors in my full recovery from what might otherwise have been “terminal” cancer. In fact, the Hoxsey Clinic treatment, which I currently am still undergoing, is primarily an herbal treatment.
The Tale of a Sick Horse
The original Dr. Hoxsey—an American veterinarian in the 1840s—was heartbroken by the fact that his personal horse had developed cancer, which he was unable to successfully treat with the medicine known to him. Professional protocols called for him to humanely put the sick animal down to prevent its suffering. Unable to “do it” that day, he put the horse out to pasture instead, thinking that the following day he would have the courage to do the kind thing… but “tomorrows” proved to be elusive, and he never got up the gumption to “retire” his old friend.
In time, he began to notice that with seemingly no treatment at all, the horse began to improve rather than get worse. In the “pre-pharmaceutical” era of medicine, where nearly all medical treatments were derived from plant-based substances, his attention was drawn toward learning what the animal was eating. As a veterinarian, he knew that sick animals instinctively ate things that would help them… much like a sick dog or cat will eat grass. So, following his companion around the pasture, he noted and collected the plants and “weeds” the horse consumed.
Plants, ‘Weeds’… and Improved Health
It was from these herbs that the Hoxsey treatments were developed—then to treat cancer in animals; today to treat cancer in humans. Though the Hoxsey treatment ingredients and preparations are a proprietary process, the clinic notes today that their treatments consist of the medicinal herbs Cascara, Poke Root, Burdock Root, Barberry, Buckthorn Bark, Stillingia Root, Prickly Ash Bark, Licorice Root and Red Clover. In my case, the tonic is based on Cascara, and I take the other herbs several times a day in capsule form.
But even with over a hundred years of animal and human “trials,” and thousands of successful herbal cancer treatments (mine being one of the more recent), allopathic medicine refuses to consider the results as anything more than anecdotal.
Perhaps this is because there is no real money in the dispensing of herb… and lots of money in the prescribing of pharmaceuticals! (That is just my thought.) To be sure, medicinal herbs—including the Hoxsey treatment—do not cure cancer any more than a bandage cures a cut. Bandages and medicinal herbs simply aid the body to do what it is designed to do in the first place… heal itself. One could just as easily suggest that there is no clinical evidence that a cast heals a broken arm. Whether the arm was placed into a cast or not, the broken bone would heal. The cast simply assists that process. So to the same degree, the pharmaceutical medicine-based community is correct when they state that there is no clinical proof that herbs cure cancer.
What medicinal herbs actually do is help heal the immune system to rebuild itself, so it can either prevent cancer from occurring, or reverse a cancer present… the way nature intended it to. And because we are looking to heal the immune system rather than to cure anything, there are a number of combinations of different medicinal herbs that can be equally effective in doing just that.
How to Take Herbs
Herbs can be administered in a number of different ways. For humans, they can be taken as powdered herbs in shakes or in capsule form. Herbs can also be taken in the form of teas, tinctures and extracts, which in some cases are absorbed by our systems faster than pills. Pills or capsules taken orally must be first digested for their nutrients to be absorbed. Teas are steeped in hot water, which releases many active components of the herb. Tinctures and extracts are made by using alcohol, glycerin or water to draw out the healing properties of the plants.
Alcohol, when used, acts not only as a preservative in a tincture, but also acts as a carrier, taking the medicinal attributes of the herb straight into the bloodstream for better and faster results. One thing to note—while you can take medicinal herbs by themselves, many herbal combinations offer a certain synergy when they are taken with each other. One such combination worth investigating is called Essiac. Essiac includes Burdock Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Sheep’s Sorrel and Turkey Rhubarb. One compounder adds to this classic formulation, Blood Root and Watercress. A couple other medicinal herbs combined to enhance the immune system are Pau de Arco and Cats Claw. Because a number of cancers are either brought on by stress or later exacerbated by stress depressing the immune system, any of the group of medicinal herbs called Adaptogens can be very beneficial.
Adaptogens are herbs that help the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological, by supporting adrenal function and balancing body chemistry to lower cortisol levels. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Adaptogens include Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Astragalus Root, Licorice Root, Rhodiola and Cordycep Mushrooms, to name a few.
Better known for relief of headaches and migraines, the herb Feverfew contains an alkaloid called Parthenolide, which when extracted properly in a tincture form stimulates adult stem cell activity. This can be a particularly beneficial addition during fasting and intermittent fasting intending to achieve Autophagy. In the case of fasting, Feverfew can be a potent booster to get the stem cells going! Native American medicine men indigenous to the Lake Superior area are known to have used a paste made from the Blood Root plant to treat skin cancers.
A modern-day recipe for Feverfew would call for the use of the whole root of the plant powdered and combined with zinc chloride and the essential oils Frankincense and Myrrh, of Nativity fame. This is a very powerful combination and should only be applied under direction of an experienced practitioner. The immune system can also be taxed by microbial sources. Sometimes viruses, bacterial infections or fungi act like computer virus software running in the background, depleting one’s immune capacity. Lomatium Root is a powerful antimicrobial used to fight these “bugs.” Lomatium Root, also called Black Carrot or Desert Parsley, offers a broad spectrum approach to fighting things like the bugs that cause Epstein Barr (mono), shingles and Lyme disease, which deplete immune system bandwidth.
Lomatium Root acts both preventative and curative with respect to cancers. Because this herb works to detox the body when first taken, about 10 percent of those who take Lomatium develop a detox rash. It is harmless other than the itching, so don’t think the sky is falling if that happens. Because of this possible symptom, it might be wise to sneak up on this regimen by starting out with a 25 percent strength tincture, then once toleration has been determined, you can step up to the full-strength formulation.
Moving Forward With Herbs
In summary, there is not just one herb or combination of herbs that supports the immune system. There are many that do. To prevent or to reverse cancer, it is important that you find a practitioner who understands the interaction of medicinal herbs and the immune system, so that you can retain or regain the health you desire.
Follow more of Ric Coggins Journey here:
Ric Coggins in a University of Arizona master gardener who grew up on a one-acre garden tended by his father, who was a regular contributor to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening and Farming magazines. He continues his father’s “green” traditions on a one-acre organic garden urban homestead in Mesa that he calls The Fool on the Hill Farm.
Photos by Dani Cropper
Taken on site at SW Herb.