It is now 28 years since the Three Treasures remedy Chemo-Support was introduced. This remedy aims at lessening the side-effects of chemotherapy by tonifying Qi and Yin, clearing Heat, resolving Dampness and allaying nausea and vomiting.

It has been used by hundreds (if not thousands) of patients world-wide. The Three Treasures website explains the use of Chemo-Support.

It is always disappointing to hear about oncologists that still advise their patients against taking Chemo-Support, even after I provide a list of ingredients with their pharmacological effect. One reason oncologists advise against taking this remedy is the “old chestnut” of the alleged conflict between chemotherapy agents and anti-oxidants. The theory behind their opposition is that chemotherapy works by oxidating cancer cells and therefore one does not want to do anything that would prevent that. The Spring 2010 Newsletter on Chemotherapy and Anti-oxidants deals with this question and I will not repeat the arguments here. Suffice to say that it is far from proven that anti-oxidants interfere with chemotherapy: indeed there is some evidence that they may even work in synergy with it and lessen its side-effects.

The second question is; even IF anti-oxidants counteracted chemotherapy, does this apply to Chinese herbs, or at least to the herbs in Chemo-Support? Does the remedy contain anti-oxidants to a level that allegedly might counteract chemotherapy? The answer is an emphatic “No”. There is therefore no reason whatsoever to avoid taking Chemo-Support during chemotherapy. It pains me to have to tell patients (who frequently write to me) that, if they really have misgivings about taking Chemo-Support, they should follow the advice of their oncologist. I also find it upsetting that, in this age of integrative medicine, an oncologist may know nothing about Chinese herbs and yet advise patients not to take them.

I hear this all the time: “My oncologist said that he (or she) does not know anything about Chinese herbs and that therefore I should not take them.” I would have thought that it is their duty to inform themselves about Chinese herbs: anything less is poor care.