Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men. With 1 in 8 facing this diagnosis over his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society, curiosity about natural solutions is understandable.
But can herbs or supplements prevent prostate cancer, relieve its symptoms and enhance overall health?
Here’s what to know about herbs for prostate cancer
Drawing on traditional medicine roots from China, herbal medicines exhibit unique advantages, according to an article published by the journal Nutrients. More than half of U.S.-approved anti-cancer drugs stem from terrestrial plants, demonstrating herbal medicines’ role in cancer drug development.
Known for low toxicity and potent curative effects, Chinese medicines find acceptance among many experts, doctors and patients. These remedies have inhibited tumor growth, extended life span and enhanced quality of life for some prostate cancer patients.
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, an authority on integrative and herbal medicines in New Mexico, offered her insights. She outlines the herbs and supplements she advocates for enhancing prostate cancer management.
“There are two approaches when we consider the best herbs for prostate cancer,” Low Dog said. “Some botanicals and plants help lessen the risk of getting the disease as well as what can be done when someone is diagnosed.”
Lycopene and tomato-based products
Lycopene, present in tomatoes and tomato products, has been studied for its potential in prostate cancer prevention.
“I believe that lycopene and tomato-based products are incredibly important for men trying to reduce the risk of prostate cancer,” Low Dog said.
“Research has shown that men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and were scheduled to have their prostate removed, were given 30 mg of lycopene from a tomato extract,” she said. “It reduced both their tumor size and lowered their PSA [prostate-specific antigen]. What it showed us is that these foods can help with reducing the risks of aggressiveness of prostate cancer and can reduce symptoms.”
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage contain compounds such as