A Whangarei police officer and a legendary New Zealand cricketer made headlines when they opted for natural remedies to treat cancer.

Meanwhile, Wairarapa residents have been using similar remedies for several years - with natural health practitioners reporting an increase in business as more people seek natural solutions.

Former Black Caps captain Martin Crowe told media he was using a remedy made from sea cucumbers to treat his follicular lymphoma, which returned following conventional treatment.

Police Constable Anton Kuraia is walking the length of the North Island to raise awareness of alternative medicine, claiming his leukaemia was cured by Vitamin C.

Advertisement

Featherston-based homeopath Claire Bleakley said she has treated cancer patients using similar natural remedies - significantly extending life expectancy.

She mentioned two of her patients in particular: A man with tumours who lived for seven years after being given two to live, and a woman with ovarian cancer who lived 15 years past her initial prognosis.

"There have been some exceptional results," Mrs Bleakley said.

"We are indoctrinated to think chemotherapy is the only cure for cancer, but alternative [remedies] have been proven to be more life giving."

Mrs Bleakley said homeopathy used remedies made from plants, animal products or minerals - including sea cucumber, said to produce alkaloids which help cell regeneration.

It also takes into account related symptoms from past traumas, family history and emotional difficulties.

With various interlinking symptoms treated, the health of the patient improves, she said.

One of her clients was Featherston man Larry Duggan, who lived for two years after melanoma in his eye had spread.

Advertisement

Daughter Lee Carter said the herbal remedies left her father "in very good health".

"While he was with Claire, dad was never ill with his condition," Mrs Carter said.

"Physically and mentally, he was comfortable - he was in a good frame of mind, and felt confident about the situation."

Had he chosen to go with chemotherapy or radiation, Mrs Carter believes the side effects would have weakened his body, causing a faster decline.

"He would have been quite sick - that wasn't who he was."

She said her father had been involved in an accident, where his eyes were damaged by a piece of flying machinery; leaving her wondering if the trauma triggered the cancer.

This theory is supported by Masterton naturopath Anita Baker, who has treated clients with leukaemia.

She said one of the philosophies of naturopathy is the link between body and mind - with cell mutation caused by distressing events.

"[Naturopathy] can pinpoint what happened in the person's life which set off the mutation - then we clean up the body from there."

"Cleaning up" involves prescribing vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements to help rebuild cells.

Homeopath Mrs Bleakley said she believes people were becoming open to alternative medicine.

She has found her client base has grown steadily, particularly over the past year.

"I think we are more accepting: I've met several people who've heard about Martin Crowe, and think it's fantastic."

Wairarapa DHB cancer care co-ordinator Jacinta Buchanan encouraged those living with cancer to consult their doctor or specialist before embarking on any alternative therapies.