Alternative Skin Cancer Treatment Options – Their Use & Their Safety

There are many people who prefer an alternative skin cancer treatment. Alternative treatments for skin cancer include black salve, pancreatin enzymes, eggplant, cymilium, cannabis (hemp) oil, and apricot seeds.

Black Salve

Black Salve is one of the most controvercial of the alternative skin cancer treatment products. It is a medicinal mixture invented by the Indians. Traditionally, it was made of blood root and ash. However, today there are several variations available for purchase which include mullein, chickweed, comfrey, marshmallow, Sodom’s apple, DMSO, chapparal, zinc, Indian tobacco or myrrh.

How does it work?

There are two reported mechanisms of black salve. One, it is corrosive and literally burns away the tumor. Two, it draws the cancer to the surface of the skin where it then falls off.


While there have been scattered reports of successful treatment of skin cancer with black salve, there have also been documented cases of more serious effects. Due to its corrosive nature, it can cause scarring. When used over large areas or heavily, it can lead to disfigurement, which may require surgery to repair.

Pancreatin Enzymes

Pancreatin enzymes are digestive enzymes manufactured and used by the body to aid in digestion.

How does it work?

It is believed that pancreatin enzymes are the body’s natural defense against cancer.


Because these are naturally occurring enzymes in the body, there are few side effects reported. It may cause mild digestive system discomfort such as bloating, flatulence or indigestion. Research is varied on this method’s effectiveness however.

In one study published in a June 1999 issue of Nutrition and Cancer, researchers tested pancreatin enzymes on eleven patients with inoperable cancer. Eight of the patients were in Stage Four. Eighty-one percent lived to one year, forty-five percent lived to two years and thirty-six percent lived to three years. Two of the trial participants were still living with no sign of cancer at the time of publication.


Eggplant is a vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways or used to formulate a salve or poultice for the skin.

How does it work?

The skin of the purple eggplant includes a compound called nasunin. This compound has antioxidant and antiangiogenesis properties. It prevents cancer from growing and spreading by preventing the development of blood vessels that the cancer needs to survive. The juice of the eggplant is also believed to have antimutagenic properties.


Eggplant is one of the safer alternative skin cancer treatment options. As a vegetable, it is rich in vitamins and minerals needed by the body. To ensure you are not inadvertently exposing yourself to pesticides, either grow your own or purchase organic eggplant.


Cymilium is a commercial insect bite remedy. Active ingredients of the product include aloe vera, pancreatin, urea, stearic acid and ammonia.

How does it work?

Urea helps clear the path to the cancer cells for the treatment to work. Pancreatin aids the body’s natural defense against the cancer. Aloe vera has several purposes. First, it helps carry the pancreatin to the cancer. Second, it aids immune response in the body. Third, it may also help the body remove the cancer cells once they are killed. Ammonia helps protect the pancreatin. Stearic acid is thought to aid in cancer fighting by attracting free ionic calcium Ca2+, which is thought to interfere with the cancer cell’s metabolism.


Cymilium is FDA approved for use as an insect bite treatment. However the FDA has not evaluated it for use as one of the many alternative treatments for skin cancer. There have been no reported side effects.

Cannabis (Hemp) Oil

Cannabis oil, sometimes referred to as hemp oil, is the oil pressed from the seeds of the cannabis plant.

How does it work?

Studies have shown that compounds found in cannabis, specifically tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can inhibit the growth and spread of cancer. A 2007 study by Harvard researchers found that it reduced tumor growth by half and had a significant effect on reducing spread.


Hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which can aid all over body health. Research has also shown that cannabis can help relieve nausea and encourage appetite in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Apricot Seeds

Quite simply, apricot seeds are the seeds of the apricot fruit.

How does it work?

Apricot seeds contain a rarely heard of vitamin, Vitamin B17, sometimes called laetrile or amygdalin. When cancer cells come in contact with this vitamin, a special enzyme within the cancer breaks down the vitamin, releasing cyanide. The cyanide then attacks the cancer cells.


There are mixed opinions on the safety of apricot seeds. According to some sources, the normal cells of the body do not have the enzyme needed to release the cyanide. Instead, the enzymes in normal cells releases the nutrients of the vitamin and a neutralizing agent which attaches to the cyanide, rendering it harmless. However, there have been reports of lethal poisoning by individuals who ate apricot seeds. These are attributed to eating large amounts of the seeds.


While there are several alternative therapies available, care should be taken to fully understand the benefits and risks of an alternative skin cancer treatment before forgoing conventional treatments. Even if there is the potential for a safe, effective, alternative medicine for skin cancer, remember that some can do signifacantly more harm than good.

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