Helping patients to Safely Navigate the Complex Complementary Medicine Maze:
Hello – I’m Grace Gawler.
More than 4 decades at the cancer coalface has seen the evolution of my unique, highly effective & scientifically personalised approach for prescribing complementary medicines for my patients:
First and foremost – I have a duty of care to the patient – Since Safety & Knowledge must be a priority; it is imperative that I share my science-based approach so you can maximise your cancer nutrition outcomes.
Influences: I was trained & mentored for almost 3 decades by Australia’s matriarch of botanical medicine; the late Dorothy Hall. Alfred Vogel from Switzerland was also a big influence for my science-based approach.
Science is in my nature and botanical nature is my science!
By embracing the new fields of genomics, pharmacogenomics, biogenics, epigenetics, metabolomics, ect, I can prescribe nutritionals & botanicals with more accuracy than ever.
CANCER NUTRITIONALS AND BOTANICALS:
I prescribe simply-formulated safe nutritionals (functional food – not a supplement – often more appropriate than probiotics or prebiotics) for cancer patients that will value add to well-being and life quality. The aim is to change the epigenetic landscape of various tissues in the body.
Example 1. A potent Japanese nutritional product (a functional food) based on shiitake mushroom mycelium can impact the immune system within the colon. One sachet taken three times daily – impacts the landscape of your colon lining, the bacteria who live there and thus, your immune system.
NOTE: Approximately 60% of your immune system is located in and around your colon. Importantly, since it is a nutritional, simple yet powerful; it will not impact pharmaceutical drugs – including important cancer treatments. It’s what we call a value add.
Example 2. Another Japanese nutritional (a functional food) is a targeted product; a microbiome that impacts the health of bacteria that live in the colon. Once again the product is aimed at changing the epigenetic landscape in the colon; e.g. if the patient has colonic polyps or even colon cancer; the nutritional product is aimed at restoring damaged tissue so that it is functional once again.
Supporting function is fundamental to recovery…
• Nutritionals should be simple products – not complicated with multiple ingredients. They should be geared at regenerating particular areas of damaged or poorly functioning tissue in the body.
• Nutritionals should always be a value add to supplement your diet & treatments when you have cancer.
• Herbal medicines (botanical medicine) are complex chemical compounds – yes, natural but complex. Botanicals often contain large quantities of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). For the right patient at the right dose at the right time – botanicals can help a patient to heal.
• BUT: When incorrectly prescribed at the wrong time at the wrong dose; botanicals can be extremely toxic and cumulative in the body.
• Botanicals are most beneficial to cancer patients when they are targeted and prescribed in a simple manner.(i.e. not contained in a single supplement with 20 other complex botanical preparations!)
• Some patients present to me with a huge volume of herbal supplements, combined with vitamins. They could be ingesting thousands of plant chemicals in high amounts of milligrams every day along with vitamins that are not natural but made in the laboratory.
• There is an enzyme system in the body that has to deal with all of these foreign plant chemicals being ingested, for most patients occurring at least three times daily.
• Botanicals must be able to be metabolised in a safe way so as not to impact the enzyme systems that are also responsible for metabolising often necessary and life-saving conventional pharmaceuticals
Everything we ingest is dose-dependent but botanical medicine is especially dose-dependent.
The recent trend for ingesting essential oils (botanicals) is a great example – can you imagine how concentrated the essential oil of the botanical could be.
For example: 1 drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea! Could you really sit down and drink 28 cups of herbal tea? This is certainly not natural!
More is not better is one of the first principles to learn in botanical medicine.
Video- A healthy gut microbiome. Better immune system, better digestion, better energy, maybe even better moods...
My longevity as Cancer Nutrition Adviser:
I began to study botanical medicine & botanical sciences in 1979. I graduated in 1986 with distinctions across all subjects. I have been the nutritional adviser for more than 18,000 patients. I have seen cancer food fads come and go.
Therefore – My best advice is if you have cancer – do not play around with self-prescribed botanical medicine. AND – beware of practitioners who sell you products with excessive ingredients at excessive doses.
When this is the case – NO ONE can predict the side effects or contraindications with other supplements or with other medications you may be taking. It is just too complex to work out!
When an oncologist answers a patient who asks – “Can I take all my naturopathic supplements whilst on chemotherapy? Should I go vegan? ” He is likely to answer a resounding “no” – take nothing extra, do nothing else with my treatment. This may not be ‘sour grapes’ – it is because he/she knows the complexities of getting the doses right and advising you correctly!
It may surprise you that I would agree… The oncologist is right; it is better to do nothing than to ingest perhaps thousands of unknown phytochemicals with unknown reactions and interactions.
There are few naturopaths or even integrative GPs, who prescribe minimal targeted nutritional’s and targeted botanicals – few are familiar with the new fields of genomics, pharmacogenomics, biogenics, epigenetics, metabolomics, ect...
The really big question is – How does the practitioner, or you the patient, comprehend how you (a unique genetic individual), metabolise pharmaceuticals, botanicals & nutritionals according to your genes?
TAKE HOME MESSAGE for Cancer Patients:
It is better not to consume alternative and complementary medicines AT ALL rather than excessively ingest complex combinations and concoctions of botanicals/vitamins/minerals/ nutritionals.
Especially when you have no idea how they will interact or if they will be contraindicated other potentially life-saving medications.