Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
While chemotherapy for cancer can be lifesaving, it frequently produces serious side effects. Many of the side effects occur because chemotherapy is designed to attack rapidly dividing cells. These rapidly dividing cells include not only cancer cells, but also normal cells in the digestive tract and elsewhere. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores. Hair loss and anemia may also occur, again due to the chemotherapy’s effects on healthy cells that undergo rapid division as part of their normal life cycle.
This article focuses on the one complication of chemotherapy for which homeopathy has been studied at the present time: mouth sores.
In a double-blind trial, 30 children with mouth sores due to cancer chemotherapy were given either homeopathic or placebo mouthwash, five times daily for at least 14 days.1 The results showed that use of the homeopathic treatment significantly reduced symptoms as compared to placebo.
The mouthwash used in this trial contained the following ingredients:
According to the principles of classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for cancer chemotherapy support, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The traditional symptom picture of homeopathic Arsenicum album includes painful mouth sores relieved by warm or hot drinks in a person who feels fatigued and anxious.
Mercurius solubilis may be used when the symptom picture includes a tongue that is swollen and coated, bleeding gums, and mouth sores that feel worse at night.
Homeopathic Sulphur could be indicated for red, inflamed mouth sores that are aggravated by hot drinks. Swollen gums, a bitter taste in the mouth, and dark red lips also go along with this remedy.
1. Oberbaum M, Yaniv I, Ben-Gal Y, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial of the homeopathic medication TRAUMEEL S in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation. Cancer. 2001;92:684–690.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015