This morning I came across an interesting case report of a Chinese female patient who was diagnosed at the age of 49, in July of 2000, with IgG kappa multiple myeloma. After going through nine chemo cycles (mainly melphalan), she discontinued the treatments because of serious side effects. The full study is available for free here: goo.gl/evtUrQ
Less than a year post diagnosis, in May of 2001, she began taking a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remedy known as Huangqi Guizhi Wuwu Tang. It’s a combination of five herbal extracts, including astralagus root and fresh ginger.
Her fever and sweats and other side effects disappeared or improved.
She had no (or minor) side effects from the herbal mix.
She has remained stable for 18 years.
Occasional joint pain/backaches, but no bone lesions.
Her renal impairment has not worsened significantly.
Her quality of life is “excellent.”
During the years, the herbal mix and dosage have been modified, based on her symptoms. The basic ingredient, though, has remained astragalus root. You can scroll down the study for a list of all the ingredients. Very interesting!
At one point she stopped taking the herbal mix for “several months.” Big mistake. Her symptoms, including renal function, worsened. She went back on the herbal mix and has not stopped taking it since then.
Based on their patient’s medical case, the authors suggest that “Modified HGWT, especially the Chinese herb medicine Radix Astragali could potentially be an alternative option for the treatment of MM.”
Of interest: astralagus seems to have an effect on the bone marrow microenvironment, which has become almost an obsession of mine in recent weeks, as you may have noticed. So I want to do some in-depth research here.
The BM microenvironment is discussed mainly in the Discussion part of the study. Now, I don’t want to turn this post into a laundry list of “this extract had this effect, that extract had this other effect on this and that” and so on. Too many details, so I suggest that you go have a look at the Discussion when you have the time…
In case you don’t have time, though, here’s the gist:
The herbs used in this traditional herbal mix, with its multiple targets and low cost, “may play an important role in attenuating dysfunction of bone marrow microenvironment.”
Astragalus, in particular.
Another possible use of this mix, the authors add, would be to relieve at least some of the harsh side effects of chemotherapy. Of course, never take anything without first consulting with your doctor!
But my writing time is running out so I have to end this post…
I wanted to end it with a quote from the study: “Routine physical examination results of the last 2 years showed the patient’s disease remained stable. Though MM is not cured, her life quality is excellent…”
I mean, at this point we know that our myeloma cells won’t just disappear…I can live with that, as long as my quality of life remains the same…or…gets even better (hey, why not shoot for the stars? 😉 )