When a meta-analysis of 65 randomized controlled trials, covering over 4700 patients, reaches a convincing conclusion, we should all stand up and take notice. And when the patients in question have advanced lung cancer, the cancer which kills more Americans than any other, the conclusion bears all the more significance.
Here is the conclusion: Advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy and an herbal mixture containing the herb Astragalus live significantly longer than NSCLC patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy alone. This effect was observed at 6 months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months, at statistically significant levels (for example, 35% higher survival rate at 12 months). No toxic side effects were ascribed to the Astragalus compounds. (View the report abstract here)
To put this in perspective, trials of new drugs for highly lethal cancers often make headlines when they increase average survival by a month or two. A drug associated with a 35% increase in survival rate after a year would be heralded as the highlight of a generation…and such drugs often have notable side effect profiles.
Astragalus has been used by Chinese medicine practitioners for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions from colds and viruses to cancer. It is highly nourishing to the immune system, which may help explain its efficacy as an anticancer herb. It also supports the body’s ability to cope with stress.
It is exciting to see such positive results when a traditional herb is put to the test of multiple (65!) clinical trials. It is time for Western medicine to collaborate with experts in traditional medicine to bring the best of all available remedies to patients.
Note: Astragalus has the potential to interact with certain medications and other herbs, and should be taken only under the supervision of a professional expert in its use.