Many so-called natural health experts recommend juicing to leukemia patients. While there is no reason people who have leukemia should not enjoy a glass of juice if they want it, the really effective natural treatment for leukemia is not juice. It's green tea. More specifically, it's green tea in extract form.
Around 2005, dozens of leukemia and lymphoma patients started taking green tea extract on their own, and message boards lit up with the results. A typical report read something like this:
“I think everybody needs to know about green tea extract as a treatment for NHL (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). I was diagnosed in 2002. Even after eight months of chemotherapy, my white cell count didn't get much below 60,000. My doctor wanted me to take another course of chemo in 2005, but I started taking 6 decaffeinated green tea capsules per day instead.”
Or like this:
“I was diagnosed with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) in 2000. My white cell count was 24,000, so I decided to stop drinking coffee and start drinking green tea to see if that would make a difference before I went in for chemotherapy. I started eating lots of blueberries and blackberries and a salad at both lunch and dinner. At the end of 2002, my white blood count was down to a healthy 8850. Everybody should give this a try!”
Enough people who had various forms of leukemia and lymphoma did give green tea a try that the Mayo Clinic decided to run its own clinical trial in 2008. Since the motto of medicine is “first do no harm,” Mayo recruited people over 50 who had a CLL, which progresses slowly enough that it would be possible to intervene if green tea treatment didn't work. People in the study took 400 to 2,000 mg of a green tea product called Polyphenon E twice a day for a month.
And at the end of just a month, about 1/3 of the people in the trial had significant lowering of white blood cells counts. The Mayo Clinic has since run a trial using twice as much green tea.
This study did not prove that green tea helps any form of leukemia, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It did show that green tea is probably very helpful. If you are willing to submit to laboratory testing to make sure it is working for you, it is probably a good intervention while you are waiting to decide about chemotherapy. You and your doctor will have to decide whether green tea works well enough for you to avoid chemotherapy.
You need to take a green tea supplement, one that concentrates epigallocatechin gallate, also known as EGCG. To get the amount of EGCG to affect leukemia or lymphoma you would have to drink so much green tea you would begin to slosh. It takes 80 cups a day to yield 4,000 mg of EGCG's. But green tea supplementation may be just what you need to delay or avoid chemotherapy without risk to your health. Juicing is fine if you like the taste.