Ginsing is a common herb used in eastern medicine, and is now being used for dogs by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.
There is good reason for this. Ginseng has some very definite effects that are real, and may help a dog with cancer. I’d be thinking mainly of using ginseng for mammary cancers or cancers of the stomach, colon and possibly liver. Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, may point other additional uses for dogs with cancer.
If you have interest in finding a vet that uses both conventional and alternative therapies, check out the Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine.
Here’s some information on Ginsing…
Ginsing is a root. There are different kinds of ginsing (actually, up to eleven different types depending on classification). The plants grow mainly in China, Siberia, and Korea.
There’s red Panax ginseng (older and steam cooked, probably the one most useful), white Panax ginseng (younger, not cooked much), Siberian ginseng, American ginseng, and other classifications.
The active good stuff in many types of ginseng is found in substances called ginsenosides. It seems that these most likely work to help in cancer patients by decreasing inflammation. Long term, microscopic inflammation in the body is linked to most cancers, as you will read about in your Guide.
Red (Panax) ginseng powder was found to increase survival times in humans with stage 3 stomach cancer, and also helped their immunity. The number of patients that survived 5 years after diagnosis almost doubled from about a third to more than two third. This was in conjunction with chemo and surgery.
The fact that these stomach cancer patients improved while on ginseng and chemo is significant. Ginseng contains antioxidants, normally not allowed by many oncologists during chemo. (The Guide discusses using supplements along with chemotherapy if you need more information about this.)
Korean ginseng extract was shown to decrease lung and liver tumors (adenomas) in mice that were exposed to carcinogens.
In humans with breast cancer, ginsing was found to increase both survival time as well as life quality. Here is a nice chart that shows the difference.
In patients sensitive to ginseng’s energy restoring effects, there may be stimulation and sleeplessness at night. Ginseng may have blood thinning effects, and should be stopped before surgery or in pets with bleeding disorders.
Ginseng definitely has its uses, and is one of the tools that can be chosen to help dogs with cancer. Please discuss these with your vet with training in Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine.
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.