Herbal Alternatives for a Healthy Prostate
Natural Cures may Reduce the Risk of
by Lucy Tashman
A growing body of evidence suggests that over-screening and
invasive diagnostic and treatment methods do not always
translate into fewer cancer deaths.
Frequent cancer screening, while widely advocated by many
doctors as a way of detecting cancer in its early stages, is not
without its downside. While it is true that screening detects
small tumors, the events that follow may or may not enhance the
patient’s health. Often, patients are subjected to more
radiation or even to surgery to further diagnose and treat the
tumor, leaving the body damaged and weakened.
In the case of prostate cancer, recent studies show that the
slow growing tumors often targeted as early cancer would have
been better left untreated, as many conventional treatment
methods have serious side effects, such as impotence, compromise
of the genito-urinary tract, and anal damage.
A recent large scale, long term study conducted by National
Cancer Institute researchers and published in the New England
Journal of Medicine found that regular prostate cancer screening
had no effect on the incidence of death from the disease.
Researchers followed more than 75,000 male patients over a
period of 10 years, half of whom were screened once a year for
prostate cancer using the PSA test. The other half of the study
group continued with regular health care, but was not screened.
Analysis of the study’s results showed that the overall rate of
prostate cancer death among participants "was very low and did
not differ significantly between the two study groups."
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Preventing Cancer Naturally
While modern medicine is very aggressive in finding and treating
cancerous growths, almost no attention is given to preventative
measures such as dietary and lifestyle changes, which when
implemented faithfully, are almost guaranteed to reduce the risk
of cancer. New research is revealing the benefits of dietary
substances such as lycopene (found in high concentrations in
papayas, pomegranates and tomatos), cruciferous vegetables and
Vitamin D in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
In current medical practice, little consideration is given to
the long term effects of drug therapy, and alternate therapies
are almost never used. For example, poor diet over many years
often results in obesity, which heightens the risk of high
cholesterol levels and hypertension. For this condition, statin
drugs are often prescribed, which have recently be identified
with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Many other
prescription medications are well known to cause weight gain,
which in an of itself causes serious health problems.
Several herbs and natural substances have been investigated for
their potential in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. They
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Screening - The Debate Continues 6 Natural Supplements to Treat
an Inflamed Prostate Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is very beneficial for the
treatment of all kinds of prostate conditions, and is considered
to be anti-carcinogenic. Ashwagandha strengthens the immune
system, and has been proven in laboratory research to reduce the
size of tumors. Several recent studies have been published which
suggest that Ashwagandha may play an important role in
preventing prostate cancer.
Shilajit, a naturally occurring mineral pitch, is considered by
many herbal and naturopathic practitioners to be effective in
treating prostate conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia
(BPH). Shilajit is given alone or as part of Chandraprabha vati,
a preparation well-known to reduce an enlarged prostate gland.
Triphala is an herbal preparation made from equal parts of three
potent fruits: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia
bellerica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). This preparation
is a powerful rejuvenating Ramayana. According to accounts in
the ancient Ayurvedic text, Caraka Samhita, a person who
consumes Triphala will "live for a hundred years without any
sign of decrepitude."
Diet and Cancer Prevention
Nutrition is essential to good health and should never be
underestimated. Wherever possible, animal fats, sugar, and
unhealthy contaminants such as pesticides, hormones, and other
chemicals should be eliminated. To reduce the risk of prostate
cancer, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and
leafy greens should be eaten regularly. Lycopene-rich foods like
tomatoes, pomegranate juice and papaya are also strongly
recommended. Omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seed oil, salmon,
and other foods have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate
cancer, while saturated and animal fats may raise it.
Exercise and stress-reduction techniques have also been proven
to reduce the risk of all forms of cancer, and should be
incorporated into everyone’s daily routine.
Thomas H. Lee, M.D., Philip W. Kantoff, M.D., and Mary F.
McNaughton-Collins, M.D., M.P.H. Screening for Prostate Cancer;
New England Journal of Medicine – Volume 360:318; March 26, 2009
Ravikumar Aalinkeel, Zihua Hu, Bindukumar B. Nair, Donald E.
Sykes, Jessica L. Reynolds, Supriya D. Mahajanand Stanley A.
Schwartz Genomic Analysis Highlights the Role of the JAK-STAT
Signaling in the Anti-proliferative Effects of Dietary
Flavonoid—‘Ashwagandha’ in Prostate Cancer Cells; eCAM Advance
Access published online on January 10, 2008
Acharya SB, et al. Pharmacological actions of shilajit. Indian J
Exp Biol. 1988;26:775-7.
Kaviratna AC and Sharma P (translators), Caraka-Samhita, Second
Revised Edition [volume 3], 1996 Indian Books Centre, Delhi
Sandhya, T. et al. "Potential of traditional ayurvedic
formulation, Triphala, as a novel anticancer drug", Cancer
Letters, Volume 231, Issue 2, 18 January 2006, Pages 206-214.