Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No alternative treatments have been proved to cure chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Alternative treatments for coping with fatigue

Some alternative medicine therapies may help you cope with fatigue, which is commonly experienced by people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Your doctor can treat fatigue by controlling the underlying causes, but often medications alone aren't enough. You may find relief through alternative therapies, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Yoga

Talk to your doctor about your options. Together you can devise a plan to help you cope with fatigue.

Green tea extracts for people with early-stage leukemia

A green tea extract has shown some promise in initial clinical trials for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Laboratory research determined that a compound in green tea extract, called EGCG, can kill chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.

In a study of people with early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia, taking EGCG in pill form reduced some signs of the disease in a portion of the participants. For instance, some participants noticed that their enlarged lymph nodes decreased in size, and blood tests revealed some participants had fewer leukemia cells in their blood. Research into EGCG and green tea is ongoing.

EGCG is generally considered safe, though, at high doses, it can cause complications, such as liver problems, and it may interfere with some medications. Side effects can include nausea, abdominal pain and indigestion. If you're interested in trying EGCG, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits. Your doctor may suggest additional blood tests and exams to watch for signs of side effects.

Apr. 26, 2013