Risks of using herbal medicines in cancer patients

A study published in the journal of Cancer found that herbal remedies and supplements such as turmeric can increase the toxic effects of certain chemotherapies. Similarly, they found that green teas and gingko biloba can increase the risk of bleeding in these cancer patients.

The study was focused on cancer patients in the Middle East since herbs are commonly used as traditional medicine. The study found that nearly two-thirds of the herbal medicines that cancer patients in the Middle East used pose potential health risks.

I think this study is very important because a lot of people tend to think that anything that is over-the-counter or natural is safe. This is why it is important for patients to inform all of their healthcare providers about all of the over-the-counter medicines and supplements they take. My questions for the class are: What do you think of herbal medicines and how safe do you think they are for the average person?


Eran Ben-Arye, Noah Samuels, Lee Hilary Goldstein, Kamer Mutafoglu, Suha Omran, Elad Schiff, Haris Charalambous, Tahani Dweikat, Ibtisam Ghrayeb, Gil Bar-Sela, Ibrahim Turker, Azza Hassan, Esmat Hassan, Bashar Saad, Omar Nimri, Rejin Kebudi, Michael Silbermann. Potential risks associated with traditional herbal medicine use in cancer care: A study of Middle Eastern oncology health care professionals. Cancer, 2016; 122 (4): 598 DOI:10.1002/cncr.29796