Herbal and natural products

Cancer treatment often temporarily reduces a child's immune system. If supplements contain bacteria or fungi, infection may occur.

You may choose to give your child herbal or natural products (vitamins, homeopathic remedies). While some of these products may be safe, some natural products may interfere with how well chemotherapy works.

Why some natural products may not be safe for your child

  • side effects may occur and interfere with treatment.
  • if your child is taking methotrexate, vitamin C can cause the body to hold onto methotrexate longer, causing more side effects
  • St. John's Wort taken at the same time as etoposide (VP-16) may reduce the effectiveness of etoposide
  • there is generally a lack of studies to show that the natural product is safe or effective
  • generally no dosing guidelines for young children. 

Talk with your child's doctor or nurse before using any vitamins, herbal remedies, or other natural products.

Last updated Thursday 7th December 2023