Some complementary remedies may help with the symptoms of leukemia and the side effects of treatment.

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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.

There are no alternative treatment options available that can treat, cure, or manage leukemia or any other type of cancer. However, there are some methods that may help ease certain symptoms of leukemia or help reduce the side effects of treatment.

This article discusses these natural remedies and summarizes available research on their effectiveness.

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

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

None of the following alternative methods can cure leukemia. However, there is some evidence they may help a person ill with cancer or undergoing treatment to feel a little better.

These treatments include:


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

The remedy involves placing thin needles into pressure points around the body. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that this can 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, as well as relieve symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, or depression.

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 (NCI), essential oils may help some people with leukemia manage certain side effects of chemotherapy, such as tiredness or changes in appetite.

Auricular acupressure

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

One side effect of chemotherapy that many people experience 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.

Another 2021 study also showed that auricular acupressure could help people living with cancer sleep better, even while undergoing treatment.

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

Herbal products

The NCI states that no herbal products can treat or cure cancer, but some may help with certain side effects of treatment.


Researchers have explored whether 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 be beneficial for people with leukemia when a person uses it alongside conventional treatment.

According to the review, curcumin has antitumor properties and can help treatments slow disease progression, reducing the doses of medical treatments necessary and lowering the risk of side effects.

However, the review provides no evidence that curcumin can actually cure cancer without other medical interventions. Furthermore, the review adds that there are no clinical trials on the safety of high curcumin doses and more research is necessary to assess this.


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

The active ingredients in ginseng are ginsenosides. Some test-tube studies report that ginsenosides may have antitumor properties. One 2020 study suggests that combining chemotherapy with compound K, another substance in ginseng, may be beneficial for the treatment of leukemia.

However, none of these studies prove definitively that ginseng or the compounds it contains can cure leukemia when a person uses them without medical treatments such as chemotherapy.

Additionally, more studies on humans are needed as research is currently limited to test-tube studies using highly concentrated amounts of ginseng and its components.

Nutritional supplements and vitamins

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

However, some in vitro studies have shown that vitamin C can have an antitumor effect. One 2017 rodent study suggests that injecting very high doses of vitamin C can kill leukemia cells.

Some studies suggest the possibility of using vitamin C to enhance the work of chemotherapy or other treatments. However, scientists do not currently recommend using it in humans for this purpose.

Detoxification therapies

Detoxification, or detox, therapy is the name for diets, regimens, and therapies that claim to remove toxins from the body and promote health. For example, it can 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.

Homeopathic medicines

According to the NCCIH, homeopathy is an approach to medicine that stems from two unconventional theories, neither of which has the backing of research.

The theory that “like cures like” refers to the idea that a person 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.

Not only is there no scientific evidence to support either of these theories, but the NCCIH warns people against using homeopathy to replace established treatments as this could worsen symptoms and allow the disease to progress.

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 with limited effect on 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 involves emitting radiation from an external machine.
  • 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.

A person should talk with a doctor before trying any alternative therapies, herbal products, or supplements.

Not only can some therapies reduce the effectiveness of certain treatments for leukemia or interfere with other medications a person may be taking, but alternative therapies may even be harmful.

After starting medical treatment for leukemia, a person should also discuss any side effects that they experience with a doctor.

In addition to suggesting methods to ease or manage side effects, a doctor may also make adjustments to a person’s treatment plan to minimize adverse effects.

Here are some common questions about complementary therapies that people use to manage symptoms of leukemia and the side effects of treatment.

What foods cure leukemia?

There are no foods that can cure leukemia or other types of cancer. While certain herbal products, such as turmeric and ginseng, may offer some benefits when a person uses them alongside conventional treatments, there is no research suggesting they can cure, manage, or prevent leukemia on their own.

Are there any natural remedies for leukemia?

There are no natural remedies for leukemia. Some complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or aromatherapy, may help ease certain side effects that are associated with cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, but there is no evidence to support using any natural remedies for leukemia.

Can a person cure leukemia without treatment?

Some types of leukemia progress very slowly and may not require immediate treatment. However, leukemia rarely goes away without treatment.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available that can help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplant.

What food should leukemia patients avoid?

Certain herbal products can interfere with medications that people use to treat leukemia and should be avoided, including green tea supplements and St. John’s wort.

Some foods may also aggravate certain side effects of treatment, including foods high in sugar or fiber, spicy foods, caffeine, and citrus fruits.

Learn more about diet and leukemia here.

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 may help a person manage some symptoms of leukemia and certain side effects of treatment. These include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and acupuncture.

However, it is unclear how effective these methods are and there is no evidence they can cure cancer.

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