Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang – Fighting Mast Cell Tumors and supporting the lungs against cancer

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, otherwise known as Drive out Stasis in the Mansion of Blood Decoction, has a beautiful red color from the wonderful Hong Hua or safflower flowers it contains. This is the last of my top five cancer formulas and a very special one at that. Where Hoxsey is somewhat toxic and cooling, Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang is warming and nourishing. At the same time it is a quite strong cancer fighter.

The number one place I use this formula is for dogs with mast cell cancer. This is a cancer that often arises if there is impaired blood flow to the skin. Without good blood flow the immune system can not find and destroy the cancer cells that arise. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang helps promote blood flow to the skin so the immune system can reach mast cell cancer. In my experience this formula helps to reduce tumor size, occasionally shrink the small tumors completely and prevent formulation of new mast cell tumors. These dogs are often prone to reoccurrence, not necessarily because tumors spread, but because the underlying disease process still exists.

I also will use this formula topically mixed with a little DMSO Gel or with vitamin E or aloe if DMSO can not be purchased or the tumor is by the mouth. For DMSO I use about two tablespoons of herbs for 4 ounces of gel and mix it in the gel jar. The other carriers you just want to make a paste that will stick to the skin. I apply the herb/DMSO paste directly to the tumors. Please read about DMSO and discuss with your vet before using. Because mast cell tumors can cause a sudden release of histamine when irritated, especially with larger tumors this should not be applied without veterinary guidance. A good article on DMSO is DMSO – many uses, much controversy.

This is a formula that I use in any of the dogs and cats I treat with lung metastasis. It has an amazing ability to move blood away from tumors in the chest and out to the periphery of the body. This starves tumor cells in the lungs.

In addition it is good against any intra-thoracic tumor, thyroid adenocarcinomas, and salivary tumors. It can also be effective against some of the blood borne cancers like leukemia and myeloma.

This formula has been shown to increase immunity, kill cancer cells and enhance the effects of radiation therapy. It has strong anti-oxidant effects and helps to support the body and immune system in its fight against cancer.

It is a combination of the following herbs

  • Tao Ren (peach seed)
  • Dang Gui (angelica root)
  • Hong Hua (safflower flowers)
  • Chuan Niu Xi (cyathula root)
  • Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia)
  • Chi Shao (red peony root)
  • Zhi Ke (bitter orange)
  • Chuan Xiong (lovage root)
  • Jie Geng (platycodon root)
  • Chai Hu (bupleurum root)
  • Gan Cao (licorice root)

I usually add San Leng (scirpus rhizome) and E Zhu (turmeric) to this formula to enhance its effect against cancer. Studies done on these two herbs show that they have a significant effect in inducing apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.

The main effects of this formula involves taking blood away from tumor cells and moving it to the parts of the body which need it. However Chai Hu has direct effects in killing cancer cells as discussed in the article about Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Tao Ren contains the same bound form of cyanide found in apricot seeds, which has a strong effect on cancer cells but spares normal cells.

In addition to cancer I also use this formula for many forms of heart disease, hacking coughs, bronchitis, dry skin and itching, fear, and back pain.

This formula works best for tumors that are considered blood stasis in Chinese medicine and better for tumors in the cranial third of the body. There are slight modifications made to this formula for internal tumors in the middle and caudal body. See Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang and Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang.

If I use ground herbs, I usually dose this formula at 1/8 teaspoon twice a day for small dogs, ¼ teaspoon twice a day for dogs up to 30lb, ½ teaspoon twice a day for dogs up to 70lb and 1 teaspoon twice a day for dogs over 70 lbs. I will occasionally dose it just in the morning if I am giving Xiao Chai Hu Tang in the evening.

If using a tincture I dose it at 0.2ml per 5lb once or twice a day.

I sell powdered Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang with the added San Leng and E Zhu through my etsy store Kingdom of Basil.

If you want to buy the base formula, the teapill form is sold on
Stasis In The Mansion Of Blood Teapills (Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang Wan) If you use tea pills I highly, highly recommend finding a way to add in San Leng and E Zhu. The formula just doesn’t work as well without these two ingredients.
To use tea pills I dose cats and very small dogs at two pills twice a day, medium sized dogs at 4-5 pills twice a day and large dogs at 8 pills twice a day.

Please check with you animal’s primary vet before using this formula.

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Integrative and holistic approaches to cancer – the beginning of a project

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

For a long time now I have been frustrated that I am only one person. Part of the year I have to turn clients away and the most frustrating times are when I have to turn people away who have animals with cancer.

I often get calls and emails from folks out of the area with animals with cancer. Sometimes I am able to turn them on to someone who can help them in their area but sometimes they are far away from big cities and holistic vets.

So after much thought I have decided to embark on a journey over the next couple years to bring the information I have to anyone who may want it. I am going to begin to write a book on treating cancer in dogs and cats.

My plan is to post what I am writing on the web in small sections and then in the end to pull all the information together into a book. However I want this information to stay open source so everything will also remain on my website for viewing.

Like many of the articles I write I will try to provide information that is easy to use and navigate. While I think it is still ideal to find a holistic vet to work with if you have a dog/cat with cancer, I want to make this information usable by anyone. I am also hoping that this will be a book that can be used by western veterinarians to aid in both the treatment of cancer and in understanding therapies used by holistic vets.

Here is my proposed chapter index – My plan is to write it in order of importance and fill it in as I go along – more will become available over time:

Integrative and holistic methods for treating cancer in dogs

SanSheDan ChuanBeiYe – toxins in small amounts to fight cancer

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

A little snake bile can go a long way…..

If you are treating cancer.

SanSheDan ChuanBeiYe is one of my primary herbals I use for cancer treatment. It is a Chinese product marketed for use as cough syrup and contains three herbal/animal ingredients in a sugar solution. The primary ingredient in SanSheDan is apricot seed or Xing Ren. It also contains fritillary bulb (Chuan Bei Mu) and snake bile.

Many of my clients refer to it as snake oil but it really does work.

It is especially helpful for animals with cancers which tend to migrate to the lungs. I always use this in my osteosarcoma dogs but also use it for treating many other cancers.

In fact, I have not found a better product for keeping cancer out of the lungs. If we can catch the cancer before there are detectable lung mets on X-ray, this product will usually keep it that way.

In Chinese medicine terms this formula is directed towards the lungs. The snake is moving and helps to move the apricot seed into the lungs and keep things open. The apricot seed is a lung tonic and helps to open up the lungs and kill cancer cells. The fritillary gets rid of phlegm in the lungs and reduces nodules.

Apricot seed contains a bound form of cyanide. This form of bound cyanide is much more toxic to cancer cells then normal cells.

This supplement in the first of a series I will talk about where toxic compounds in small amounts can lead to better health if used correctly.

Taken in recommended dosage I believe this herbal to be extremely safe. However it should not be overused – more is not better and in large dosages this product can kill. It also should never be given to pregnant or reproductive animals who may become pregnant.

In small animals I dose this supplement at 1ml per 10lb of body weight per day. In most dogs of average size I dose it at one vial (10ml) twice a day. If they are much over 100lb I will increase that to 1-1/2 to 2 vials twice a day. Because it comes in glass vials with a straw for sucking it out, you need a large needle and syringe to remove it. Often your vet is willing to provide this. It can be given in food or squirted directly into your animal’s mouth.

I have never had an animal have a negative reaction to this product at this dose.

(I finally have a company, Modern Herb Shop I trust, that sells Sanshedan online. I have tested there product myself and it works well. If you life in a city with a Chinatown or international community, you can also find it there. )

As with all health advise given on this site, please check with your animal’s primary veterinarian before using this product.

Return to Integrative and Holistic Methods for Treating Cancer in Cats and Dogs.

Maggie’s protocol for osteosarcoma

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I just saw a dog with a similar cancer to Maggie’s this morning and wanted to add one more page to Maggie’s story. I hope this is helpful to the folks out there working with the many dogs who suffer from osteosarcoma. Here is the protocol we used to treat Maggie’s cancer. I use a similar protocol for most of the dogs I treat.

Maggie’s protocol

Also please see my cancer care page

  • Three treatment of radiation and three treatments of chemotherapy towards the beginning of her illness.
  • Amputation of her affected leg
  • A high quality, grain free homemade diet
  • A supplement called SanSheDan ChuanBei Ye, which helps to keep cancer out of the lungs. In Seattle this can be purchased at Lucky An Dong in the International District. One of my favorite supplements, it is made from apricot seed, fritillary seed, and snake bile. Often called snake oil by my clients, this supplement is very helpful for any lung condition and for keeping cancer out of the lungs.
  • Missing Link supplement to support her body and immune system.
  • After she was done with radiation, Artemisinin a powerful anti-cancer herb. This is a herbal supplement in research right now for treating osteosarcoma in people. It is absorbed by cancer cells (which have a high iron uptake) and produces free radicals which kill the cancer cells. This herb can not be given during radiation therapy or for two months afterwards.
  • Pain medications as needed
  • lots of love!
  • Please remember that every dog is different and that you should find a veterinarian to work with before starting any supplements.

Cat scan for cancer

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I found this amazing story today, Cat nips owner’s lung cancer, about a cat named Tiger who diagnosed lung cancer in his person. He would not stop pawing the left side of this man’s chest which he mentioned to his doctor. They found a lung tumor right under where Tiger had been pawing! Because of Tiger’s quick action they were able to remove the tumor and it sounds like his person has a good chance of full recovery.

It is amazing to me how acute animals’ sense of smell is and how they are willing to help us. There have been a number of accounts of dogs diagnosing cancer by smell although this is the first one I have seen involving a cat. Service dogs can detect when people are about to have seizures by smell making it so that people with epilepsy can live normal lives. We all know the tales of the search and rescue dogs who find people buried under buildings or in the snow. And of course there are also the drug and explosive sniffing dogs at the airports and ferry docks.

I have had clients mention that sometimes it is another animal in the house that detects illness in their animal companion long before that animal shows any signs we can see. I know if I wound myself, my dogs will usually find where and want to check it out.

Here is another interesting story about cancer sniffing dogs, Can Dogs Sniff Out Cancer?. Puts a whole new meaning to getting a cat scan (or in a dog scan)!

In celebration of Melbrey

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

melrecentWe are so very thankful to have our fuzzy friend Mel still in our lives. You never realize how fragile life is until you see your dog laid out on the table and know that there is a less than 50% chance that you will never be able to look into his eyes again and tell him you love him. Watching his chest rise and hearing his heart beat but knowing that he is one wrong move away from death.

It was three months ago today that we almost lost our dog Mel to adrenal cancer. On October 29th Dr. Tim Kraabel at Lien Animal Clinic removed a large adrenal tumor and Mel’s left kidney is a three hour surgery. Tim said it was the most difficult surgery of his twenty year veterinary career.

We know that there is still the possibility that the cancer will return but for now we have our friend. He is pretty much back to normal except for the fact that he will no longer eat anything unless it has duck in it. Go figure.

We are also so thankful for having Tim Kraabel’s help. He diagnosed the tumor on a radiograph when both the board certified radiologist and I missed it, and he performed a very difficult surgery most veterinarians would not have been able to do and saved Mel’s life. How to offer thanks for saving a friend’s life? Words can not say enough.

Some thoughts on osteosarcoma-a follow up to Maggie’s story

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Part 1 of this story

  • If I had to offer one piece of advice from working with these dogs it would be amputate if at all possible and the cancer has not yet spread to the lungs. Every dog I have treated has had problems with the pain before lung problems from metastasis. If they have three healthy legs and the cancer is in a leg, amputate and amputate early.
  • I have seen these dogs do so much better with combined treatments. Just chemo or radiation gets you so long, and just acupuncture can also extend life but the two together usually more than double the time and quality of life of these animals. Find a good oncologist or a veterinarian who specializes in cancer treatment and a good holistic acupuncturist and work with both.
  • Love, love, love. Once again a loved dog who has an important place in the family will do so much better.
  • Get many opinions. If one veterinarian tells you there is no hope talk to a second one. We all have our own experiences and expectations. There are many textbooks written on medicine but we all have our own tricks.
  • Find some support. Working with any family member with cancer is difficult emotionally and having someone who understands what you are going through can really help. Sometimes that is another member of the family but if you are all alone reach out through forums or support groups.
  • Research online. There is so much information available online although don’t believe everything you read.
    • Here is a super site on cancer in dogs.
    • Here is my cancer care page. I do not recommend using all the things listed on this page and usually do a consultation with clients to pick the best treatments for a particular animal.

Part 3 of this story

Sometimes three legs are better than four

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

maggieyoungMaggie tries really hard to be a good guard dog. When you come to the door of her home, you can hear her barking in a strange muffled way, which makes you wonder until the door is opened and you realize she has a teddy bear in her mouth. That being said Maggie loves people and once she meets you she is all smiles, teddy bear or no teddy bear. Maggie has a way of smiling with her eyes that just draws people in.

When I meet Maggie she had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma or bone cancer in one of her front legs. At the time her family were exploring options to treat her but one thing was almost certain, regardless of treatment, in a year she would no longer be with us. Bone cancer has a very poor prognosis, usually causing death within three months with no treatment and within 6-12 months with aggressive treatment.

I could tell when I met Maggie’s family how important she was to them. Her family lived in a wonderful older home with one of those grand living rooms and they really liked having photos of those they loved in this space. When I walked in I immediately noticed that there were as many photos of Maggie and the kitties of the household as there were of the human family members. Her family told me how difficult it was for them to have Maggie sick because their previous dog had died of lung cancer and now Maggie also had a cancer that usually spread to the lungs.

We talked for a long time about the options that were available for Maggie. They had already seen an oncologist and had set up appointments for radiation and chemotherapy but they really were hoping for some way for Maggie to completely beat the cancer.

I always like to give people hope and tell them that not every animal follows the textbooks and that acupuncture can sometimes dramatically change the course of an illness but at the same time I try to be realistic. I explained that we could probably double Maggie’s time here and make her feel better but that it would be unlikely that we would completely get remission. I remember looking at this beautiful dog so full of life and her family who loved her so much and thinking that it was so tragic that she would not make it to old age.

As time passed Maggie did not get sick but she did become incredibly painful because of the tumor in her leg. I would show up to treat her and she would no longer get up most of the time. When I looked in her eyes, I saw so much pain. I felt so bad that not even the strongest drugs we had and the acupuncture could keep the pain away for her.

Amputation became the only option to stop Maggie’s pain but what a difficult decision. I saw her family struggle with the decision of what seemed like a major mutilation of her body to them. Maggie had lived almost a year with the cancer at this point and by everyone’s assessment she was supposed to be gone by now. Was it worth doing an amputation only to have her die a few months later?

Amputation is one of the hardest decisions for an animal’s human companions to make. So many thoughts go through their mind. Will they still be whole? Will they want to be alive with only three legs? Will they still be able to do the things they love? Will they understand why I did this or hate me for taking away a part of their body?maggie

One day Maggie got up and when she stepped down on her front leg it broke right in two. The cancer had weakened the bone so much that it could no longer support her weight. At this point it became a much easier decision to make and Maggie had the leg amputated almost immediately.

With three legs, Maggie may not be able to go for long walks like she used to and the stairs are sometimes hard for her to navigate but Maggie greets each day with a playful spirit and a happiness to be here. She loves to greet neighbors who walk by and many people in the neighborhood know her as the dog that cancer could not take.

These days I do not treat Maggie as often and our main concern is keeping her legs healthy so she can continue to get around. I feel like coming to treat Maggie is like seeing an old friend.

She rolls over on her side after the needles are in and I stroke her belly and neck. If I stop for even a moment she lifts her head to look at me with those big eyes, “please don’t stop.” There is a familiarity and a comfort in visiting Maggie and it feels like I have been included in her special family of people who she shares her happiness, love and the journey of her battle with cancer.

When I stopped by Maggie’s house this week she bounced over to greet me with a tennis ball in her mouth and than run to the other edge of the yard to pick up another one. She raced around with the two tennis balls and a big smile, “look what I can do.” As I walked up to the door she bounced up and down next to me, “mom, look who’s here, look who’s here!”

It has been almost two years since Maggie lost her leg and close to three since she was diagnosed with cancer. This happy golden retriever with the sparkling brown eyes has beaten the odds.

2/17/2011 Update. It has been over two years since I wrote this and Maggie is still cancer free and doing well!

1/18/12 Maggie sadly passed away a couple days ago. She was almost 13 years old and it had been almost six years since her cancer diagnosis. We are all grieving for her, she was very loved. Please visit Maggie Rose a beautiful poem written in honor of Maggie by her human father.

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Rooney’s wisdom

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

In my dream, she approached me with that sparkle she always had in her eyes. “Come to me and lay beside me and I will take away your fears,” she seemed to say. I lay down with my head against her soft golden fur and pressed deeply into her side feeling protected and safe. I could feel her love and warmth, hear her heart beating, feel how alive she was, yet I knew in the dream that she was ready to become a dog of the stars. I woke up knowing that Rooney had decided it was time to leave this world. Her beloved human companions called me soon after to tell me they thought it was time to let her go.

While I felt drowning in sorrow, I knew it was the end of a wonderful, miraculous life. Rooney had decided that she could not stay here any longer, this was her choice. Two and a half years earlier she had been diagnosed with bladder cancer and was given at most three months to live. Her human companions had done all they could for her, putting in a port to drain urine out of her body because she could no longer pee through the normal opening, starting her on chemotherapy, and waiting for the day soon that they would have to let her go. Rooney, however, had no intention to follow the prognosis she was given.

When I first met Rooney she had already been living with cancer for six months. As I approached the house, I saw two happy dogs peering out the window, two dog tails wagging. Syd was the first to greet me, jumping up and down and trying to inhale my arm – I must taste you! Rooney stood back and watched waiting patiently for her dog sister to find her mind again. A beautiful dog, she was part Chow, with long golden hair, a thick mane, and deep brown eyes which if you looked into showed her complex soul.

Rooney was unique in that she really wasn’t sick. Yes, after her monthly chemo she would feel a little off for a day or two but besides that she was really quite good. She wasn’t dying even though she had a fatal disease, in fact she would get quite upset if you talked about her dying or even about her being sick. I would come to give her acupuncture and we would start to talk about some little problem she was having and she would get up and leave – walk right out of the room and find somewhere else to be. She seemed to say, “Hey, I’m just fine please don’t dwell on my problems. I’m here, I’m me, and I’m not my illness. Love me for who I am today, at this moment. Will you please stop acting like there is something to be sad about here?”

When Rooney was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she became more free to live. We often said that Rooney had complete control over her cancer: not only did she live every day fully, enjoying her walks and the great love she received from her people, but everyone she touched lived more fully because of her. Every day with her became a gift and we took nothing for granted. When I made my weekly visit to treat Rooney, I never stopped being amazed at the grace of how she lived with her illness, and the joy that she gave to each moment. It was impossible to walk away from Rooney and not feel more present in my own existence.rooneyphotosmall

Towards the end of her illness, Rooney reached a point where we knew she was dying. She once again lost the ability to urinate on her own, which she had regained shortly after staring her chemo, but to our amazement she started to be more like a puppy, regrowing her hair with a soft downy coat that she had only had when she was young and eating better than she had in a long time. I think Rooney finally accepted she was dying, knowing it before any of us did. It had been important to her to see the new twin children who were born to her people shortly before her death. They had arrived and she was free to go, she had lived over thirteen years, a good age for even a dog without cancer.

Even though Rooney was completely dependent on her people to drain her urine every 6 hours the last months of her illness, she was happy because she was among her family and at home. She was loved, well cared for but most importantly valued for her wisdom and what she gave to those who loved her. I think a large part of why Rooney was able to work with her illness with such grace and live so much longer than anyone expected was that her human companions did not see her care as a burden but as a gift given to a much-loved friend. In exchange she gave us all unconditional love and the gift of living each moment present and aware, feeling joy, feeling sorrow, seeing the movement of time as something to coast along on and not to fear.

The phone rang again and it was my best friend Cheryln calling to tell me that her labor had began. I remember eight months earlier finding out that Cheryln was pregnant and offering to be at the birth. For the past month I had been waiting with excitement for this call and now I wanted everything to wait. “Don’t worry the contractions are still far apart,” she told me, “no need to leave yet.” I was conflicted over my promise to her to be present at this birth and my need to be with Rooney at the end, neither could wait and Cheryln was a three hour drive from me. I silently hoped that I would be able to be present with them both and was also astonished that both would come on the same day.

Somehow it seemed more than coincidence that Rooney would pick the time to pass away to be the same day as the birth of a new life that I was also so involved with. She seemed to want to point out that death is not an end but just another step in the cycle of life we are all a part of. I think this was also why she waited for the twins to be born before choosing to depart.

Cheryln’s labor did wait, and I was able to be present with Rooney and her family when she passed away. Her death was very peaceful, and she passed away surrounded by her whole family of people and animals – those she loved most and who loved her most – by her side, in her home. While her passing was full of sorrow and left us with a hole in the space that she had filled for so long, there was something about being present when such a wise being leaves this existence, after living life so fully, that inspires us all to live our lives with more joy.

After returning home from Rooney’s passing, the phone rang again, and it was Cheryln asking me to began my drive down to Portland. I jumped in the car with our other friend, Jenn, who was also to help with the birth. I was overwhelmed with the sorrow I felt about Rooney and the joy and anticipation of a new life about to began. Lilliana’s birth was beautiful and amazing and she came into the world with a good set of lungs, at home surrounded by people who loved her family, the cat and three compassionate naturopaths who helped with the birth. I spend most of the labor holding Mr. Moo, their cat, so he could watch what was happening. He was very fascinated with the whole experience. Mixed with my sorrow there was great joy with the birth of this little perfect being. Ten fingers, ten toes and one very long and active tongue.rooneyphotothree

I will never forget how it felt to experience the sorrow of the passing of such a wise friend and teacher, who had lived her life how all of us wish we could, and the joy of the perfect birth of a baby who has just began in this world, all within a day. Through my work I have had many great animal teachers who do not speak with words but who guild us through the way they live, love, and accept. Rooney was one of these teachers and I hope that her wisdom on how to live can inspire us all.

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