Season 8 Episode 12: Holistic Cancer Care with Chanchal Cabrera

Share this!

Holistic Cancer Care with Chanchal Cabrera

Would you prefer watching or reading this episode? If so, click here for the 'Holistic Cancer Care' video and transcript.

Episode Summary

Cancer. The very word can strike fear in the heart—and unfortunately, it touches many of us at some point in our lives, whether directly or indirectly through family and friends.

But cancer… and herbs? What role can herbs possibly play in a big, scary, potentially deadly  disease like that?

If you’re faced with a cancer diagnosis, what can you do to take control of your journey and feel empowered?

Just as important, what steps can you take to help prevent cancer in the first place?

These are just some of the issues covered in today’s episode with Chanchal Cabrera—an herbalist with 35 years of clinical practice who specializes in holistic oncology. It was so good! And Chanchal’s new book, Holistic Cancer Care, needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf. It’s an impressive and helpful book for anyone who’s ever been touched by cancer, and even those who want to prevent it.

By the end of this episode, you’ll know:

► What is patient-centered medicine, and why is it so vitally important when crafting a treatment plan?

► Is it true that lymphatic herbs shouldn’t be used by cancer patients? Why or why not?

► Why sunscreen doesn’t give you the protection you might think it does (and what you can do instead)

► How can herbal medicine be included in cancer care, and what are some specific herbs that have been researched for this purpose?

► Depending on the treatments selected and the cancer itself, patients may suffer with radiation burns and/or neuropathic pain. As a listener, you’ll also receive free access to not one, but two downloadable recipe cards from Chanchal for soothing herbal creams.

For those who don’t already know her, Chanchal is a medical herbalist and has been in clinical practice for 35 years with a specialty in holistic oncology. She is the author of Fibromyalgia: A Journey towards Healing and her latest book, Holistic Cancer Care: An Herbal Approach to Preventing Cancer, Helping Patients Thrive during Treatment, and Minimizing the Risk of Recurrence, launched in April. She held the faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster 2004-2016. She serves on the board of advisors of Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby, on the editorial board of Medical Herbalism clinical newsletter, and she publishes widely in professional journals and lectures internationally on medical herbalism, nutrition, and health.

Chanchal is also a certified Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) practitioner, a certified Master Gardener and a certified Horticulture Therapist. She lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband manage Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a 7 acre internationally registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and where they host apprenticeships in sustainable food production and herbal medicine. The farm also hosts Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run the botanic garden and provide horticulture therapy.

I’m beyond thrilled to share our conversation with you today!

I see the role of a herbalist as an incredible opportunity to connect people with plants in such a way that they actually care enough about the environment the plants grow in to do something active to help the environment. Really, I see herbalism as an extremely effective form of activism and I consider myself an environmental warrior, an environmental activist through my herbal medicine work.


What You'll Learn from This Episode

  • [01:09] Introduction to Chanchal Cabrera
  • [03:46] Growing up on a farm, meeting David Hoffmann, and a TB clinic
  • [09:25] How needing a new challenge led to an entirely new relationship with herbal medicine
  • [15:20] Chanchal’s typical patient
  • [17:37] Holistic Cancer Care
  • [25:25] Sunlight, sunscreen, and cancer
  • [31:27] What herbs are for cancer?
  • [36:44] Chanchal’s big mistake
  • [40:04] The importance of getting dosage right
  • [43:24] Do lymphatic herbs promote the spread of cancer?
  • [48:23] Two recipes from Chanchal
  • [48:57] Empowering yourself as a patient
  • [54:45] Herbal love letters
  • [55:10] Herbal tidbit

Get Your Free Recipes!

Herbal Cream for Radiation Burn

This cooling, soothing, and healing cream will promote tissue repair, inhibit infection, and minimize scarring.



  1. Blend the sea buckthorn oil, vitamin E, vitamin A, propolis, essential oils, and honey together. 
  2. Slowly add this mixture to the calendula cream, stirring well, then set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl blend the silver and aloe gels with the calendula juice and add the comfrey powder. Then fold the two mixes together and stir well. 
  4. Apply over closed skin (not over open wounds, to avoid absorption of comfrey).

Herbal Lotion for Neuropathic Pain 

This is a rich and creamy formula that soothes and numbs the skin. St. John’s wort and gotu kola both have a nerve-healing, restorative action, while the cayenne and aconite inhibit pain impulse transmission. Magnesium gel is cooling and soothing, vitamin E is anti-inflammatory, and the essential oils are numbing, cooling, and pain relieving.



  1. Blend the oils into the base cream, then add the tinctures slowly, followed by the magnesium gel, and mix until all is smoothly incorporated. 
  2. Apply to the affected part as needed. Wash hands after applying.

Connect with Chanchal

Connect with Rosalee

Are You Ready for More Herbal Inspiration?

The best way to get started is by joining my herbal community and weekly newsletter where I share my best herbal tips and insights.

When you join you’ll also get access to The Herbal Jumpstart Course which helps you figure out the best herbs for you.

Sign up below!


Sign me up for weekly herbal tips, recipes, and insights. 

We respect your email privacy

Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Healand co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.  

Choose the best herb for you!

The secret to using herbs successfully begins with knowing who YOU are. 

Get started by taking my free Herbal Jumpstart course when you enter your name and email address. 

By signing up for my free course you’ll also be joining my weekly newsletter where I send my best tips and herbal recipes. I never sell your information and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Information found on this website is meant for educational purposes only.
It is not meant to diagnose medical conditions, to treat any medical conditions or to prescribe medicine.
Copyright 2010-2022 by Rosalee de la Forêt
Affiliate Disclaimer