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J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2007 Jan-Feb;24(1):35-40.

The use of herbal therapies in pediatric oncology patients: treating symptoms of cancer and side effects of standard therapies.

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Oncology/BMT Unit at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA.


Complementary and alternative medicine is increasing in use in the pediatric oncology population. Although there is a multitude of herbal therapies used, the focus of this article is a review of the literature addressing some herbal therapies used to treat the symptoms of cancer and side effects of traditional methods of treatment. Ginger is used in the treatment of nausea and vomiting. St. John's wort is successful in treating depression and anxiety. Echinacea is used as an immunostimulant. Herbal therapies in the pediatric oncology population are usually initiated and managed by parents. Many herbal therapies are beneficial, but some potential herb-drug interactions should be considered. This poses a challenge to the oncology nurse because herbal treatments are managed by the parents and pharmaceuticals are managed by the practitioner. Educating the patient, family, and practitioner is important in ensuring a thorough health history assessment and, subsequently, safe and effective herbal and pharmacological therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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