Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells with several established treatments, such as chemotherapy. Some home remedies might also help with the symptoms of leukemia.

Leukemia typically affects white blood cells, but it can also start in other blood cells.

The disease is most common in people over 55. However, it is also the most common cancer in children under 15. There are several types of leukemia with different outlooks and treatment options.

This article discusses treatments and home remedies for leukemia.

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There are several types of leukemia with different symptoms. Examples of leukemia symptoms include:

All these symptoms can occur with other illnesses. Diagnostic testing by a doctor is necessary to confirm the presence of leukemia.

Alternative treatment options will not cure leukemia. However, they may help ease the symptoms of leukemia and the side effects of treatment.

Nutritional supplements and vitamins

A healthy diet can help support the body of a person who has leukemia. It will not cure the condition but can keep the body in better shape to fight the disease and manage symptoms. Supplements can ensure the body has enough vitamins and minerals to function properly.

For example, vitamin C may help people with leukemia. One 2017 study in mice found that blood cells absorb large amounts of vitamin C. Another 2017 rodent study suggests that injecting very high doses of vitamin C can kill leukemia cells.

However, more research in humans is necessary to determine whether vitamin C can support leukemia treatment.

Herbs and botanical medicine

The National Cancer Institute states that no herbal products can cure cancer, but some may help with treatment side effects.

Green tea and turmeric

Researchers have explored whether green tea and turmeric may be helpful for people with leukemia.

The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. One 2017 review suggests that curcumin could help in the treatment of leukemia. It states that curcumin has anti-tumor properties and can help treatments slow disease progression, reducing the doses of treatments necessary and lowering the risk of side effects.

However, the review adds that there are no clinical trials on the safety of high curcumin doses and more research is necessary to assess this.

A 2018 review analyzed data from several clinical trials that gave green tea and turmeric to people with leukemia. The review found that these remedies did not improve treatment and increased the risk of adverse events. The authors suggest people with leukemia avoid green tea during treatment.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a plant that people use worldwide as a natural remedy for several ailments.

The active ingredients in ginseng are ginsenosides. Some studies report that ginsenosides have anti-tumor properties. A 2013 study suggests that combining chemotherapy with compound K, another substance in ginseng, may improve leukemia treatment.

Other herbal remedies

Other herbal remedies that may be beneficial to people with leukemia include:

However, more research is needed to analyze the efficacy of these remedies for treating leukemia.

Homeopathic medicines

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), homeopathy is an approach to medicine based on two unconventional theories.

The theory that like cures like refers to the idea that someone can cure a condition by taking substances that produce similar symptoms in people without the condition. The law of minimum dose suggests that lower doses of medication are more effective than higher doses. People who make homeopathic products often dilute them to the extent that they contain no active ingredients.

The NCCIH warns people against using homeopathy to replace established treatments, as this could worsen symptoms and allow the disease to progress.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional remedy that could help people manage the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.

The treatment involves placing thin needles into pressure points around the body. The NCCIH states that this could stimulate the brain to reduce pain.

According to the National Cancer Institute, some clinical trials have found acupuncture can relieve nausea and vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy. It may also reduce pain, fatigue, and dry mouth.

Auricular acupressure

Auricular acupressure is a treatment that uses magnetized pellets or seeds to stimulate areas of the ear.

One side effect of chemotherapy is constipation. A 2018 review of clinical trials using auricular acupressure in people with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy found that the treatment is safe and could replace laxatives.

However, another 2018 review found only weak evidence that the treatment could relieve constipation in people with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy uses various forms of water to treat diseases, such as water of different temperatures or pressures.

There is no evidence that hydrotherapy works as a treatment for leukemia. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that water-based activities can improve mental health. People with leukemia are at a high risk of depression and may benefit from water-based activities.

Detoxification therapies

Detoxification or detox therapy is the name for diets, regimens, and therapies that aim to remove toxins from the body and promote health. For example, it could include fasting or using a sauna.

However, the human body already has an effective system for removing toxins. Detoxification therapy is unlikely to benefit most people, including those with leukemia.

Essential oils

Essential oils are compounds from plants that people combine with a carrier oil to treat various ailments.

According to the National Cancer Institute, essential oils could help some people with leukemia manage the side effects of chemotherapy, such as tiredness or changes in appetite.

Treatment options for leukemia vary and depend on several factors, including:

  • the type of leukemia
  • the person’s age
  • the person’s overall health

Common treatments for leukemia include:

  • Chemotherapy: This uses drugs that target and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also damage noncancerous cells, causing side effects including hair loss, weight loss, and nausea.
  • Targeted therapy: This treatment uses tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which are drugs that target cancer cells without affecting noncancerous cells. They have a lower risk of side effects than chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. The therapy either involves emitting radiation from an external machine or an internal device.
  • Stem cell transplant: This involves using chemotherapy to kill bone marrow cells, including cancerous cells. Doctors then replace them with new stem cells that can develop into healthy, mature cells.

Anyone experiencing leukemia symptoms should contact a doctor right away. The symptoms are likely to be the result of another problem, and a doctor can confirm this. The person will require a physical examination and one or more diagnostic tests to identify the cause.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Traditional treatments for leukemia include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplants. These approaches are effective but can cause side effects.

Several home remedies and alternative therapies exist for people with leukemia, such as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and acupuncture. However, it is unclear how effective these methods are. Some may be helpful for managing the side effects of cancer treatments.

It is important to speak with a doctor before trying any home remedies. Some approaches are unsafe or may prevent other treatments from working properly.