Dietary Therapy for Malignant Tumors by Yu Er-Xin, Assoc. Prof. TCM Depart.

, Affiliated Tumor Hospital First Medical University, Shanghai (Compiled by the Shanghai People's Broadcasting Station. This article is one of the series of talks entitled “Diet and Health” broadcast as a special program in 1986.) After contracting tumors or cancers, what kind of food is the patient advised to live on, and what kind of food should they avoid? This is a question which concerns many people. Let's discuss the contraindications first. From the medical point of view, there are two kinds of contraindications. First, certain foods are likely to five rise to cancerous conditions. These should not be eaten not only by patients with cancer but also by normal persons as well. This is the first type of contraindication. What kinds of foods possess such a carcinogenic effect? So far as it is known that moldy foods, such as foods contaminated with aflatoxin, can lead to cancerous conditions. Cereals contaminated by aflatoxin are believed to poison the liver and/or become liver cancer later on. Frequent ingestion of unfresh food, a low protein diet, and habitual ingestion of irritating, oily, fried, and preserved foods are believed to be responsible for stomach cancer. Imbalance in nutrients in the diet, such as too much fat and too little fiber, is also believed to be related to the incidence of colon cancer. Therefore, it is important that the patient refrains from contaminated food and unfresh food and pays attention to the relative proportions of the nutrients in their daily life thus attempting to get more protein and less fat and more fresh vegetables and more ingredients with a high fiber content. The second type of contraindicated food are those baed on the concept that fear of certain foods will result in the recurrence of the cancerous condition. Such foods should be avoided. To be frank, no scientist can proclaim with certainty that a certain food is bound to make a cancerous condition relapse. Nor have we seen patients' conditions have deteriorated because of a particular food. On the contrary, we have often noticed that quite a number of patients do not believe in such contraindicated foods and that they eat a wide variety of things. The result is that they live for quite a long time without recurrence of their cancers and in generally good health. Some of the popularly contraindicated foods prevailing at the present time seem to lack any theoretical foundation not only from the perspective of TCM but also from the of modern western medicine as well. In fact, some of these commonly believed contraindicated foods are actually ideal ingredients for cancerous patients. The first example is that many people believe crabs are contraindicated. As a matter of fact, this belief in the contraindication of crab for cancerous patients in groundless. According to TCM literature, crab possesses the pharmacological function of dispersing Nodulation and scattering the Blood. Cancer is usually a kind of Nodulation due to the Stagnation and Congelation of Blood. Crab can counteract such Stagnation and Congelation by unravelling the mass and dispersing the Accumulation of Blood. Therefore, because of its therapeutic properties, crabs as a food should be encouraged for cancer patients. In some areas, people have the habit of eating burnt crab shell as an ingredient in the treatment of breast cancer. Crab feet and claws also possess the pharmacological function of cracking Blood Stasis. Crab has

the contraindications depend upon the idiosyncratic situation of each individual. Seafood is not only not contraindicated but should be regarded as the most appropriate food for cancer patients. However. and over-eating it may lead to indigestion. Black Bone Chicken is a well-known. and exhaustion. this belief is also groundless. and it is also useful in the alleviated of gynecological tumors. Wai Ji Bai Feng Wan. Cold and Cool ingredients are advises. Excessive ingestion of chicken may also lead to indigestion. Chinese medicine says crab is energetically Cold. Chicken is highly nutritious. The first category of such foods is seafood. Jellyfish: TCM believes jellyfish possess the properties of transforming Phlegm and softening the Hard. crab has its weak points. A few years ago. Therefore. but it also affects the general health. yes. Although its therapeutic effect is not very strong. As a many strong points. However. Many people my be opposed to even the mention of seafood as appropriate in the treatment of cancer since they believe that seafood is absolutely contraindicated for tumors. Sea Turtle: Everybody knows this is a good ingredient for patients because it promotes recuperation. Softening the Hard means to make the mass or lump compliant and tender. in which Black Bone Chicken is the main ingredient. Needless to say. promotes the restoration of the immunological function. we attempted to apply sea turtle in the treatment of various cancers. For those signs of Hot nature. Actually. The weak point of chicken is that it generates Heat and tends to stir up Wind. precious ingredient. What are the general principles for the compatibility of foods and medicinal ingredients for cancerous conditions? Foods with Warm properties are preferred in case of Cold symptoms and chemical agents. Chicken has been listed as a medicinal ingredient throughout age-long history. the problem of indigestion is easy to overcome. and Cool and Cold foods are contraindicated. This prevalent notion is incorrect. (i. But small. is a commonly used patient medicine in gynecology. . Thus chicken and eggs should be regarded as effective ingredients for tonification in case of general debility. too. Cold chemotherapies). Chicken stomach as a digestive ingredient in TCM is also beneficial in the treatment of various tumors. Good nutrition enables the patient to stand various treatments. cancer patients have poor appetites and eating crab can improve the appetite. Poor nutrition not only renders the patient unable to endure their daily treatment. such as being highly nutritious with a high proportion of protein and a delicious taste. It is also a common notion that cancer patients cannot eat chicken. Provision of highly nutritious foods is an important aspect of treatment. Chicken eggs are also highly nutritious. Chinese medicine holds that chicken is an essential ingredient for the tonification of Deficiency. as long as the patient avoids over-eating crab. and Hot foods are contraindicated. So far it is known that lowered levels of nutrition in cancerous patients may lead to a decrease in immunological function of the body and may induce relapse of cancerous swellings. Another strong point of jellyfish is its Neutral nature which is conducive to normalizing the digestion. it is not advised for patients with Hot conditions. Next I will say something about the preferable foods which should be eaten by cancer patients. and it enhances the healing process. it facilitates recuperation. So should the patient avoid certain foods? According to TCM theory.e. emaciation. Some cancers are characterized by their hard and solid nature. it was confirmed that it does possess a certain adjunctive therapeutic effect and a tonifying effect as well. frequent meals of this are recommended.

They possess not only the function of softening the Hard but also of nourish the Yin and clearing Heat. Therefore. Or they may be steamed and then eaten with soy sauce and sesame oil. they are extremely delicious. there are some others. Clam: There are many ways to cook clams. some like to eat them just by dipping them in hot water. Not only that. these days. they are helpful in improving patients' appetites. Brasenia Schreberi: Brasenia Schreberi from West Lake (in Hangzhou. This is to say that they have the properties of dispersing and scattering swellings and masses and therefore are worthwhile to be recommended to the cancer patient. attention paid to cooking. Accumulations. All the above seafoods are described in the Ben Cao Gang Mu (An Outline of the Materia Medica) as being capable of removing masses. but because of their high protein content. plainly steamed turtle is more suitable. Mussel: these can be cooked together with pork. What are the foods that aid digestion and absorption? Hawthorn Fruit: This tastes slightly sour. Zhejiang) is renowned worldwide for its delicacy. and Nodulations. fresh water foods are also advised. One aspect of dietary therapy is to protect the patient's appetite. and it improves the appetite. How can good appetite be maintained? Apart from foods with fresh and delicious taste. which is very important as an adjunctive function for the recuperating patient. laver has a similar function to kelp above. it has the property of being able to soften the Hard. It possesses similar functions as seafoods. All these dietary approaches are delicious and allow clams' function of softening the Hard to be fully displayed. and other foods. the fad of cancerous patients' eating turtle seems to have gone too far. That is why many patients feel they loose their appetites. Besides. lumps. of course it can be used as a dietary ingredient.Kelp: Being a commonly used ingredient in TCM herbal treatment. the late stage patient. Some people like to eat them raw. and some like to cook them together with eggs. and therefore the patient is advised not to eat turtle every day. They are highly nutritious and are helpful in improving the appetite. In addition. It can not only soften the Hard but also nourish the Yin. they can also be cooked with pork. For those patients with Yin Deficiency and those with Hot conditions. It is necessary to warn that turtles and tortoises are greasier and harder to digest than most other seafoods. The above two ingredients can be prepared as a cold dish or made into soup. It is not only helpful for . Besides these foods. such as Sea Slug. and the addition of certain digestive ingredients are also very effective approaches. chicken. Abalone: These are an expensive seafood but are well known for their dietary functions. Poor appetite will surely influence the therapeutic result. their taste. frequent change in variety. In addition to seafoods. Tortoise & Soft-Shelled Turtle: These are common foods (amongst Chinese). Laver (Porphyra): Being delicious and tasteful. and non-greasy nature. or patients receiving radiation and chemotherapy. However. Strong and weak points may exist simultaneously.

one can take congee mixed with ginger. congee (xi fan). Cancer patients are recommended to eat this frequently. and in some severe cases. If a bit of salt is added. congee made from mustard leaf facilitates the removal of Phlegm. It says that hawthorn fruit can remove Food Stagnation but that it also removes swelling and lumps. noodles. and it also can resolve blood clots. Amongst these last mentioned foods. Therefore. it is highly recommended for patients with dry cough. There is a popular saying that goes. In order to increase the appetite of the patient. It also helps remove distention. According to the Ben Cao Gang Mu. Moderate use of MSG (monosodium glutamate) helps tremendously in hepatic coma due to liver cancer. this then tonifies the Kidneys. Vinegar can be used to scatter Stagnant Blood and to help digestion. “Radish before bed. Roasted Barley: This can be used to make a tea. radish in indicated. especially of patients. Therefore. And congee made from lotus root helps to cure hemoptysis. steamed bread. Pepper can stimulate the appetite and also disperses the Blood and activates the Qi. it should be recommended as a daily snack for cancer patients. Family members of cancer patients need to be expert cooks! We have often been told that certain relatives are not good at food selection and preparation. it promotes the healing of ulcerous lesions and helps stop bleeding in cases of intestinal ulceration. Staples can be altered between rice. they cannot even fall asleep. ginger after bed. Radish is also good for removing abdominal distention. The quality of the food influences the appetite greatly. Radish: These also help the digestive function. Radish is effective in transforming Phlegm and is therefore beneficial to aged people. the variety of staple foods should be changed frequently. mutton. keeps the MERIDIANS free-flowing. If the congee juice is used as an enema. For those with poor appetite accompanied by nausea and vomiting. too. and dumplings. this popular folk saying has considerable meaning underlying it.improving the patient's digestion but also helps to prevent stomach cancer due to atrophic gastric inflammation. buns. The meals they make remain the same day after day. In case of general debility. A little wine facilitates Qi and Blood circulation. . Ancient Chinese considered congee extremely beneficial when one is sick or during recuperation.” Quite a number of old people tend to produce profuse Phlegm due to cough. If such persons eat radish at dinner. Congee made from radish also helps digestion. Or one may also eat pickled ginger as a side-dish. Radish is also good for profuse Phlegm in case of lung cancer and for excessive saliva in case of esophageal cancer. patients should take congee made with fish. It helps to improve the appetite when drunk frequently. hawthorn fruit is able to eliminate muscular lumps and substantial and insubstantial masses. When the congee is done. especially in those who have eaten excessively greasy food. Therefore. Whereas. the uppermost layer of sticky juice is the essence of the rice nutrient. it will help improve their signs and symptoms. Making congee is not a simple thing that it can dismissed out of hand. Cooking congee is an art. Lightly salted soup is good for tonifying the Kidneys and also has the function of softening the Hard. If the patient complains of abdominal distention due to over-eating Ginseng. not at cooking itself. But how can a patient have the same meals everyday and still keep a good appetite? Many seasonings also have therapeutic effects. congee (dilute rice soup or porridge) is an important food. Crystal sugar is used for moistening the Lungs and for nourishing the Yin. and improves the appetite. Ginger congee has the function of suppressing vomiting. Ginger has the function of improving the appetite and suppressing vomiting. or chicken depending on personal preference and appetite.

Taro can also be used with other herbal ingredients in the manufacture of pills. Fresh vegetables are the essential ingredients the patient should eat. There is a folk remedy to treat liver cancer by steaming chicken together with black mushrooms. Red Bayberry: This is beneficial in the treatment of abdominal pain and diarrhea. and Fructus Citri Sarcodactylis (finger citron or Fo Shou) and may drink a tea made from . It is characterized not only by its delicious taste and rich supply of nutrients but also by its anti-cancerous effect. Pears: These can be eaten in the winter to moisten the Lungs and to stop coughing. Fresh mushrooms are cheap and preferable for frequent use. Taro: This is also effective in the treatment of cancer. though more expensive. And Vitamin A can improve the immunological function of the body. white fungus. are popularly used. Water chestnuts can be eaten either raw or fried with sliced pork. Lily bulb. Semen Coicis (Yi Yi Ren) and Semen Ziziphi (Suan Zao Ren) can all be used to tonify Deficiency. Patients with esophageal cancer are advised to drink more milk or a mixture of milk and Chinese chives. This is a famous formula from ancient times. Sugarcane Juice: This has a stop vomiting function. The greenish part close to the skin of the watermelon is the most effective part. Water Chestnut are known for their softening the Hard properties. which are commonly used in the treatment of tumors by Chinese herbs. Tomatoes: These are inexpensive and delicious and are most appropriate for patients with intestinal tumors. and Cordyceps steamed together with duck are recommended for patients with lung cancer. Mutton and beef can be used to tonify general deficiency. Vitamin C is capable of interrupting the carcinogenic function of some carcinogens inside the human body. and vegetables. In case of abdominal distention. If cooked together with jellyfish. Fructus Fortunellac Margarita. lotus seeds. such as fresh fruits which contain a broad spectrum of vitamins. Hericium Erinaceus has been made into a patent medicine and can be used as an adjunctive dietary ingredient. their softening the Hard property can be enhanced even more. Loquats: These can be eaten to stop coughing. especially Deficiency due to stomach and intestinal tumors. Pear juice is also a very good beverage for patients with esophageal cancer. meat. Aduki beans. Watermelon: This clears Summer Heat and dissipates Heat in general. duck stomach. inorganic salts.Certain other foods are also beneficial for the patient. Vegetables contain not only various vitamins. Patients with fever due to cancer are advised to eat this at will. The dietary formula for the patient should include fish. black fungus. all patients can take chicken stomach. Fungus of all kinds is an ideal food for patients also. and trace elements but also large quantities of fiber which helps keep the bowels open and helps maintain a good appetite. Black mushrooms. It belongs to the same family of plants as Rhizoma Pinelliae (Ban Xia) and Rhizoma Arisaematis (Tian Nan Xing).

and cuttlebone can be eaten. This article comes from The Treatment of Cancer by Intergrated Chinese-Western Medicine by Zhang Dai-zhao. and field snails are recommended. bamboo shoots. feng pi (sheet gelatin made from mung beans). Carassius Auratus (another species of fish). In case of profuse Phlegm. Tea can also be made out of the flower of Shepherd's Purse. Aristichthys Nobilis (a species of fish). white gourds. Capsella Bursa Pastoris (Shepherd's Purse).(aged) tangerine peel. and mustard greens. lotus root. If edema is encountered. translated by Zhang Ting-liang and Bob Flaws (1989). . patients are advised to easy radishes or turnips. Mustard greens can be used to promote the circulation of Lung Qi and transform Phlegm and also for tonification. If bleeding is present. Chinese lettuce.

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