Radiation burns (X-ray burns)

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The most likely cause of radiation burns for people will be through the focused use of X-rays to target cancer in the form of radiotherapy. There are many established protocols in the conventional system to help with the external damage from radiotherapy but the internal side of things is not given so much attention and that is where I typically focus most of my attention with my own patients...

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Internal Medicine

Immune health

Just as with fighting cancer itself, the best thing you can do in general to help with dealing with radiotherapy is to have as healthy an immune system as possible.

Several particularly important immune herbs are mentioned below but immunity is such an important, area; e.g. what reduces it, what helps it, that it is recommended to study the subject in more depth here

Echinacea & Astragalus

If you must endure a course of radiotherapy then, well beforehand, for at least a week and the longer the better, get help from Nature in the form of herbal medicines. Two of the best herbs for immune health are Echinacea root from the Native American tradition, more about it here, and Astragalus root from traditional Chinese medicine, more here. These two herbs have reliably been seen to restore even the most depressed immunity to better health.

Echinacea angustifolia

Panax Ginseng & Withania

Any person who gets run down and over-tired is putting their immune system in a vulnerable position, and let's face it, a course of radiotherapy and all that entails is a gruelling prospect at any age, Consequently, there is great value in doing things which will reliably lift energy to help restore immune health and speed healing.

Two of the best of all herbal medicines to restore vitality are the energy tonics Panax Ginseng and Withania root. For anyone who wants to know about these trusted allies in more depth there is a detailed article on Ginseng here and another on Withania here

Unfortunately, you must be aware that Panax Ginseng, as a valuable herb, is notoriously compromised by adulteration and inaccurate labelling - get it from a trusted source.

Panax Ginseng


Eat Vegetables!

Eat lots of vegetables when you are going through radiotherapy, especially greens in salads, steamed or stir-fried and especially vegetables with plenty of colour; raw, baked, steamed or stir-fried.

If interested, you will find information about how antioxidants protect against radiation damage, which will help explain why eating plenty of vegetables makes such a difference to clinical outcomes, but the main thing is to just do it, every day, in whatever form you like the best.

Medicago sativa (Alfalfa)

External Medicine

The external treatment of X-ray burns is something that is obviously taken very seriously and you will be wise to entrust your care of any burns to the practitioners who are involved in your treatment...

That said, there are several great plant options that have been seen to do a tremendous amount of good to people suffering from burns of all kinds and the truth is that drug therapies, medicated creams etc. are not to everyone's tolerance, nor do they work for everyone. It's important to know there are options.

Of course, any oil or gel etc. must be removed before any radiotherapy treatments but they can certainly be applied any time after a treatment to help heal the precious tissues.

Aloe vera

Many people find Aloe Vera to be exceptionally helpful and simply use a plant that they have grown at home or been given for this purpose. Just cut or break off a piece and use the prolific 'gel' that oozes out to gently rub directly on to your skin. Aloes can take a lot of this kind of punishment and you can get many treatments from a reasonably sized plant.

There are numerous commercial products of Aloe Vera gel, at least one of which may be gladly endorsed by the responsible practitioner for your radiotherapy program. It is well regarded in all fields of medicine,

Lavender oil

Lavender oil can be remarkably helpful in easing the pain and damage of burns. It is easily obtainable and one of the only essential oils that can be safely applied directly to the skin, more info on it here

Lavandula officinalis (Lavender)

St John's wort oil

A number of practitioners have reported very good results for radiotherapy burns with the use of St John's wort that has been infused into an oil. More info on St John's wort in general here


Most herbalists, including this one, have seen practical miracles with the use of Comfrey root & leaf for skin or tissues that have been damaged for any number of reasons, more on Comfrey here

Symphytum officinale (Comfrey)

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd