The Big 5 Cancer Fighting Foods

May 23, 2024 18 mins to read

From alternative and traditional medicine come 5 of the most potent (and controversial) anti-cancer herbs, supplements & protocols to include as part of a anti cancer diet. These 5 cancer fighting foods can help lower inflammation and oxidative stress and Boost overall immune function to help fight cancer. Read my Alexa Anona Protocol for Cancer, for more info! As a disclaimer, you should consult a licensed naturopathic doctor before trying anything in this guide, or making changes to your treatment plan.

Table of Contents

Essiac Tea | Cancer Fighting Foods

A herbal anti-cancer tea formulated by Rene Cassie includes: Blessed Thistle, burdock root, kelp, red clover, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, Turkish Rhubarb Root and watercress:

1. Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)

Blessed Thistle has been traditionally used for various medicinal purposes, including anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects; It’s a great cancer fighting food. Its potential anti-cancer properties are attributed to the presence of polyphenols and flavonoids, which can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.

  • Study: Research has shown that extracts from Blessed Thistle can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that extracts of Cnicus benedictus exhibited cytotoxic activity against certain cancer cell lines .

2. Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

Burdock root contains arctigenin, a lignan that has shown significant anti-cancer effects. It can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce apoptosis.

  • Study Evidence: A study published in Phytotherapy Research demonstrated that arctigenin could suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote apoptosis in colorectal cancer cell lines .

3. Kelp (Various species of brown algae)

Kelp is rich in iodine and other compounds like fucoidan, which have been studied for their anti-cancer properties. Fucoidan has been shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit tumor growth.

  • Study: Research published in the Marine Drugs journal highlighted the anti-tumor effects of fucoidan, showing its ability to reduce the viability of cancer cells and induce apoptosis in vitro .

4. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red Clover contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens with potential anti-cancer effects, particularly in hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.

  • Study: A review in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine discussed the role of isoflavones in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and their potential use in cancer therapy .

5. Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

Sheep Sorrel is known for its antioxidant properties and has been used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including cancer.

  • Study: Although direct studies on Sheep Sorrel’s anti-cancer effects are limited, its antioxidant properties suggest it could help in preventing the oxidative stress that leads to cancer development .

6. Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery Elm Bark has mucilage, which is known for its soothing properties. While not directly anti-cancerous, it can support the body by soothing the gastrointestinal tract, potentially improving the absorption of other anti-cancer compounds.

  • Study Evidence: Studies are limited on its direct anti-cancer properties, but its use in traditional medicine supports its role in a holistic approach to cancer care .

7. Turkish Rhubarb Root (Rheum palmatum)

Turkish Rhubarb contains anthraquinones, which have demonstrated anti-cancer properties, including inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis.

  • Study: Research published in Cancer Research found that anthraquinones from Rhubarb can induce apoptosis in various cancer cell lines .

8. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Watercress is rich in glucosinolates, which are converted into isothiocyanates in the body. Isothiocyanates have been shown to have anti-cancer properties by inhibiting carcinogenesis and promoting apoptosis.

  • Study: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that watercress extract could reduce DNA damage in cells and may have protective effects against cancer development.

Buy Original Essiac Tea

Rene Cassie Genuine Essiac Tea. This is the original recipe Essiac Tea, created by a small family owned business in America. This essiac tea product follows Rene Cassie’s original recipe, with all the herbs that she used including Sheep Sorrel Root. Free USA shipping. Ships Worldwide.

Budwig Protocol | Cancer Fighting Foods

Designed by Johanna budwig to address nutritional deficiencies in those with cancer, Johanna Budwig’s mix of organic flaxseed oil, flaxseed powder, and cottage cheese leverages the synergistic effects of these ingredients to provide anti-cancer benefits. The combination aims to improve cellular health, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, and enhance the body’s overall ability to fight cancer:

1. Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

Flaxseed is a rich source of lignans, omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber, all of which have been studied for their potential anti-cancer effects.


Lignans are phytoestrogens with antioxidant properties that can modulate hormone metabolism and inhibit the growth of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.

  • Study Evidence: A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrated that flaxseed supplementation significantly reduced tumor growth in breast cancer patients due to its lignan content .

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Flaxseed oil is particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and can inhibit cancer cell proliferation.

  • Study Evidence: Research in the British Journal of Cancer indicated that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cancer progression and metastasis by altering cell membrane properties and signaling pathways .

2. Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is a concentrated source of ALA, which plays a crucial role in maintaining cell membrane integrity and function. The oil also has anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial in cancer prevention and treatment.

  • Study: A study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that ALA from flaxseed oil can inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, including breast and prostate cancer cells, by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis .

3. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is rich in sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine and cysteine, which are crucial for cellular metabolism and detoxification processes. These amino acids help improve the absorption and utilization of omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil.

  • Study: While direct studies on cottage cheese’s anti-cancer properties are limited, the synergistic effect of combining it with flaxseed oil has been noted in the Budwig protocol. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry emphasized the importance of dietary sulfur-containing amino acids in enhancing the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects of omega-3 fatty acids .

Synergistic Effects in the Budwig Diet

The combination of flaxseed oil and cottage cheese is designed to enhance the bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids. The sulfur-containing proteins in cottage cheese make the oils more water-soluble, thereby improving their absorption into the cells. This mixture is believed to restore the normal electrical charge of cell membranes, improving oxygen uptake and reducing the proliferation of cancer cells.

  • Study: In vitro and animal studies suggest that the combination of flaxseed oil and sulfur-containing proteins can significantly inhibit cancer cell growth and metastasis. A review in Nutrition and Cancer highlighted the potential benefits of the Budwig diet in cancer therapy, pointing out the enhanced bioavailability and efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids when combined with dairy proteins .

Black Cumin Seed Oil | Cancer Fighting Foods

Nigella sativa (Black Seed Oil or BSO) is a herb commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic and Unani medicine for a variety of ailments. BSO offers significant potential as an anti-cancer agent and a therapeutic option against COVID-19. Its primary active component, thymoquinone, demonstrates multiple mechanisms of action, including inducing apoptosis, inhibiting proliferation and angiogenesis, reducing inflammation, and modulating immune responses. These properties make Black Seed Oil a promising natural compound for further research and potential therapeutic use:

Anti-Cancer Properties of Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil)

Thymoquinone: Thymoquinone (TQ) is the primary bioactive component of Black Seed Oil, responsible for many of its medicinal properties, including anti-cancer effects.

Induction of Apoptosis and Inhibition of Proliferation

Thymoquinone can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.

Study: Research published in Cancer Letters demonstrated that thymoquinone induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation in breast cancer cells by modulating the p53 gene and Bax/Bcl-2 pathways.

Anti-Angiogenic Properties

Thymoquinone can inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form from pre-existing ones, which is crucial for tumor growth and metastasis.

Study: A study in the International Journal of Oncology found that thymoquinone inhibited angiogenesis in human glioblastoma cells by downregulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for cancer development. Thymoquinone has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce this risk.

Study: According to a study in Biochemical Pharmacology, thymoquinone suppresses inflammation by inhibiting nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling pathways, which play a role in cancer progression.

DNA Damage and Repair Mechanisms

Thymoquinone can modulate DNA damage and repair mechanisms, which are critical in preventing cancer cell survival.

Study: Research in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics showed that thymoquinone enhances the sensitivity of cancer cells to DNA-damaging agents by impairing their DNA repair mechanisms.

Efficacy Against COVID-19

Nigella sativa has also been studied for its potential effectiveness against COVID-19, particularly due to its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Immune System Modulation: Black Seed Oil can modulate the immune system, enhancing the body’s ability to fight off infections, including viruses like SARS-CoV-2.
    • Study Evidence: A review in Journal of Herbal Medicine highlighted that thymoquinone can modulate the immune response by enhancing macrophage activity and production of interferons, which are critical for antiviral defense.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: The anti-inflammatory effects of thymoquinone can help mitigate the severe inflammatory response seen in COVID-19 patients, known as the cytokine storm.
    • Study Evidence: A study in Phytotherapy Research suggested that thymoquinone’s ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) can be beneficial in managing the hyperinflammatory state in COVID-19 patients.
  3. Antiviral Activity: Thymoquinone has shown direct antiviral activity, which could help reduce viral replication and spread.
    • Study Evidence: Research published in Archives of Virology indicated that thymoquinone could inhibit the replication of several viruses, including coronaviruses, by interfering with viral entry and replication processes.

Cannabis Oil (FECO or RSO Oil) | Cancer Fighting Foods

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), also known as Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), is a concentrated cannabis oil popularized by Rick Simpson for its purported anti-cancer properties. This oil contains both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two primary cannabinoids found in cannabis. Cannabis oil offers significant potential as an anti-cancer agent and for managing symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments. The primary cannabinoids in cannabis oil, CBD and THC, have demonstrated multiple mechanisms of action, including inducing apoptosis, inhibiting proliferation and metastasis, and reducing inflammation. Additionally, cannabis oil can help alleviate pain, improve sleep, and stimulate appetite, making it a valuable adjunct therapy for cancer patients:

Anti-Cancer Properties of Cannabis Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis known for its various therapeutic effects, including anti-cancer properties.

Induction of Apoptosis

CBD can induce apoptosis in cancer cells, leading to programmed cell death without harming normal cells.

Study: Research published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics demonstrated that CBD induces apoptosis in human glioma cells by activating the caspase pathway and producing reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Inhibition of Proliferation

CBD can inhibit the proliferation of various cancer cell types, preventing tumor growth.

Study: A study in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that CBD significantly reduced the proliferation of breast cancer cells by downregulating the expression of the Id-1 gene.

Anti-Angiogenic Effects

CBD can inhibit angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, which is essential for tumor growth and metastasis.

Study: According to research published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, CBD can inhibit angiogenesis by downregulating the expression of pro-angiogenic factors like VEGF.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, also known for its potential anti-cancer effects.

Induction of Apoptosis

THC can induce apoptosis in cancer cells through various mechanisms, including activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).

Study: A study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that THC induces apoptosis in glioma cells by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors and initiating a cascade of cellular events leading to cell death.

Inhibition of Metastasis

THC can inhibit the metastasis of cancer cells, preventing the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

Study: Research published in Oncogene demonstrated that THC reduces the invasiveness of cancer cells by modulating the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix components.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Both THC and CBD have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help in reducing the chronic inflammation associated with cancer progression.

Study: A review in Current Pharmaceutical Design highlighted the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids, which can contribute to their overall anti-cancer properties by reducing the inflammatory micro-environment that supports tumor growth.

Additional Therapeutic Benefits

Pain Relief

Cannabis oil is widely recognized for its analgesic properties, which can help manage pain associated with cancer and its treatments.

  • Study Evidence: A study in The Journal of Pain found that both THC and CBD can reduce pain in cancer patients by modulating pain signaling pathways and reducing inflammation.

Improved Sleep

Cannabis oil can help improve sleep quality, which is often disrupted in cancer patients due to pain, stress, and side effects of treatments.

  • Study Evidence: Research in Sleep Medicine Reviews indicated that cannabinoids can improve sleep by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and regulating sleep-wake cycles.

Appetite Stimulation

THC, in particular, is known for its appetite-stimulating effects, which can help counteract the weight loss and malnutrition often experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.

  • Study Evidence: A study published in Annals of Oncology reported that THC improved appetite and food intake in cancer patients, contributing to better overall nutritional status and quality of life.

Apricot Seeds (Vitamin B17) | Cancer Fighting Foods

Amygdalin, also known as Laetrile or Vitamin B17, is a compound found in the seeds of many fruits, particularly apricots. It has been highly controversial due to its purported anti-cancer properties and the associated risks of toxicity. Despite the controversy, some studies have explored its potential mechanisms in attacking cancer cells. Amygdalin (Vitamin B17) presents potential anti-cancer properties through mechanisms such as inducing apoptosis, inhibiting proliferation, and exhibiting anti-angiogenic and immune-modulatory effect:

Anti-Cancer Properties of Amygdalin (Vitamin B17)

Induction of Apoptosis

Amygdalin is believed to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. This mechanism is crucial for preventing the uncontrolled growth and spread of cancer cells.

  • Study: A study published in the Journal of Natural Products demonstrated that amygdalin induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells by increasing the expression of apoptotic markers and activating the mitochondrial pathway.

Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation

Amygdalin has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, thereby slowing the progression of the disease.

  • Study: Research in Life Sciences indicated that amygdalin inhibits the proliferation of human cervical cancer cells by blocking cell cycle progression and modulating the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins.

Anti-Angiogenic Effects

Amygdalin may also exhibit anti-angiogenic properties, which means it can prevent the formation of new blood vessels that supply tumors with nutrients and oxygen necessary for their growth.

  • Study: A study in PLOS ONE found that amygdalin inhibits angiogenesis in vitro by downregulating the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and other pro-angiogenic factors in breast cancer cells.

Modulation of Immune Response

Amygdalin is thought to modulate the immune system, potentially enhancing the body’s ability to target and destroy cancer cells.

  • Study: According to research published in Pharmaceutical Biology, amygdalin can enhance the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, which are critical components of the immune system’s response to cancer.

Detoxification and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Amygdalin may have detoxification and anti-inflammatory effects, which can contribute to its overall anti-cancer properties.

  • Study: A review in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics discussed the potential of amygdalin to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are associated with cancer development and progression.

Controversy and Risks

Cyanide Toxicity

One of the primary concerns with amygdalin is its potential to release cyanide, a potent toxin, when metabolized in the body. This has led to significant debate and regulatory actions regarding its safety and use.

  • Study: The New England Journal of Medicine reported cases of cyanide poisoning in individuals consuming amygdalin supplements, underscoring the need for caution and medical supervision when considering its use.

Lack of Consensus in Clinical Efficacy

Despite some promising in vitro and animal studies, there is a lack of consensus on the clinical efficacy of amygdalin in treating cancer in humans. Many studies and reviews have questioned its effectiveness and emphasized the need for more rigorous clinical trials.

  • Study: A review in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians concluded that the clinical evidence supporting the use of amygdalin for cancer treatment is insufficient and that its potential benefits do not outweigh the risks associated with cyanide toxicity.

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The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.


  • Essiac Tea
    • Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Study on Cnicus benedictus.
    • Phytotherapy Research: Arctigenin’s effects on colorectal cancer cells.
    • Marine Drugs: Fucoidan’s anti-tumor effects.
    • Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Isoflavones in Red Clover.
    • Antioxidant properties of Sheep Sorrel.
    • Traditional uses of Slippery Elm Bark.
    • Cancer Research: Anthraquinones from Rhubarb.
    • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Watercress and DNA damage reduction.
  • Budwig Protocol (Muesli)
    • Journal of Clinical Oncology: Study on flaxseed lignans and breast cancer.
    • British Journal of Cancer: Omega-3 fatty acids’ effect on cancer progression.
    • Nutrition and Cancer: ALA from flaxseed oil and its anti-cancer effects.
    • Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: Synergistic effect of sulfur-containing amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Nutrition and Cancer: Review on the Budwig diet and its potential benefits in cancer therapy.
  • Black Seed Oil (BSO) aka Nigella Sativa
    • Cancer Letters: Thymoquinone induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation in breast cancer cells.
    • International Journal of Oncology: Anti-angiogenic effects of thymoquinone in glioblastoma cells.
    • Biochemical Pharmacology: Thymoquinone’s anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Molecular Cancer Therapeutics: Thymoquinone and DNA damage/repair mechanisms.
    • Journal of Herbal Medicine: Thymoquinone’s immunomodulatory properties.
    • Phytotherapy Research: Thymoquinone’s anti-inflammatory effects in COVID-19.
    • Archives of Virology: Antiviral activity of thymoquinone.
  • Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) or Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO)
    • Molecular Cancer Therapeutics: CBD induces apoptosis in human glioma cells.
    • Breast Cancer Research and Treatment: CBD reduces proliferation of breast cancer cells.
    • The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics: CBD inhibits angiogenesis.
    • The Journal of Clinical Investigation: THC induces apoptosis in glioma cells.
    • Oncogene: THC reduces invasiveness of cancer cells.
    • Current Pharmaceutical Design: Anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids.
    • The Journal of Pain: Analgesic properties of THC and CBD.
    • Sleep Medicine Reviews: Cannabinoids and sleep improvement.
    • Annals of Oncology: THC and appetite stimulation in cancer patients.
  • Apricot Seeds (Vitamin B17)
    • Journal of Natural Products: Amygdalin induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells.
    • Life Sciences: Amygdalin inhibits the proliferation of human cervical cancer cells.
    • PLOS ONE: Anti-angiogenic effects of amygdalin in breast cancer cells.
    • Pharmaceutical Biology: Immune modulation by amygdalin.
    • Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics: Detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties of amygdalin.
    • New England Journal of Medicine: Cyanide toxicity from amygdalin.
    • CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians: Review on the clinical efficacy of amygdalin.

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