Carctol is an ineffective cancer treatment made by mixing 8 Indian herbs.
Carctol has been aggressively marketed as being able to treat cancer and reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy. However, there is no medical evidence that it has any benefits whatsoever for people with cancer.
Background and promotion
Carctol is a herbal dietary supplement marketed with claims it is based on traditional ayurvedic medicine. Its ingredients include Hemidesmus indicus, Tribulus terrestris, Piper cubeba, Ammani vesicatoria, Lepidium sativum, Blepharis edulis, Smilax china and Rheum emodi.
It was first promoted in 1968 by Nandlal Tiwari. In 2009 Edzard Ernst wrote that it was still promoted in the United Kingdom; public relations companies hired by its sellers had garnered it wide coverage on the web and, according to the British Medical Journal, in the media generally.
Effectiveness and response
Cancer Research UK say of Carctol, "available scientific evidence does not support its use for the treatment of cancer in humans". Edzard Ernst has written "the claim that Carctol is of any benefit to cancer patients is not supported by scientific evidence".
Harriet A. Hall includes Carctol among the biologically-based remedies promoted by naturopaths. Hall laments that frauds and quacks persistently try to take advantage of the vulnerability of cancer patients.
- "Carctol". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- Ernst, Edzard (2009). "Carctol: Profit before Patients?". Breast Care 4 (1): 31–33. doi:10.1159/000193025. PMC 2942009. PMID 20877681.
- Marks, N. (2004). "PR coup for herbal cancer drug". BMJ 329 (7469): 804. doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7469.804.
- Hall, Harriet A. (2012). "CAM for cancer: Preying on desperate people?". Progress in Palliative Care 20 (5): 295. doi:10.1179/1743291X12Y.0000000009.
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