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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Chu I Ta and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on February 1, 2023

Best Treatment Options To Help You Recover From Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The first sign of Hodgkin's lymphoma is usually a bump or bruise that doesn't go away. These treatment options can help get you back to feeling well.

Hodgkins lymphoma min scaled

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare type of cancer that usually goes undetected at first. The initial sign might be a bump or bruise that doesn’t go away.

Other symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes, chills, night sweats, fever, weight loss, and itchy skin.

  • An estimated 9,000 Americans are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma each year.
  • Of this number, most are females and persons between the ages of 15 and 35.

The condition is often mistaken for the more heterogenous type of the disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Luckily, both respond well to treatment. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma vs. Non-Hodgkin’s: What’s The Difference?

A woman in a sweater feeling her swollen lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes may be a sign of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

These conditions share a few similar characteristics. Both develop in the lymphatic system and influence white blood cells.

Additionally, several viruses can make a person more vulnerable to either condition. These include the Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, and the human T-cell lymphotropic virus.

However, several key differences may help a healthcare provider diagnose and treat either condition correctly. Examples of these are: 

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically affects people between the ages of 15 to 35; non-Hodgkin’s is more common among people above 60 
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of Reed-Stenberg (abnormally large lymphocytes with more than one nucleus) cells; a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma biopsy may show the presence of cancerous cells 
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is rare; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common, accounting for about 4% of all cancers in the United States
  • Biopsy samples of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma are more likely to show inflammation than those of people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma  

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose either condition, a healthcare provider will ask a patient if they’ve developed unexplained symptoms. These include a fever that doesn’t subside, weight loss, and night sweats.

Chest pain and abdominal pain or swelling are also symptoms of Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A person with the former condition may develop itchy skin after a hot bath or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Be mindful that a healthcare provider can also choose to perform various tests during a consultation session. These include blood and imaging tests, a lymph node biopsy, or tests for hepatitis or HIV. 

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment Options

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) records Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with records of “Indurated Mass” (Shi Ju), “Obstinate Nodule” (E He), and “Phlegmatic Nodule” (Tan He). The onset of the conditions is related to factors such as: 

  • Psychological disarray 
  • Congenital deficiencies 
  • Irregular mealtimes and an unhealthy diet 
  • Problems involving the six Zang and five Fu organs 
  • Invasion of the Cold, Wind, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, and Fire factors  

Consequently, a person may develop Phlegm, toxins, Stasis, and Deficiencies, which can lead to the onset of either condition.

To address these imbalances, a licensed TCM practitioner may propose herbal formulas that support “health energy” and eliminate “evil” factors.

Here are some other treatments that can be used:


An older woman receiving chemotherapy while talking to her nurse
Chemotherapy treatment may be prescribed if you are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.

The treatment’s primary mode of action is to kill cancer cells or prevent them from multiplying. A single type of chemotherapy or multiple chemotherapy types may treat Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Chemotherapy can also be used alongside autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation to treat either condition. An autologous transplant describes a procedure to replace abnormal or damaged stem cells in the body. An allogeneic transplant uses donor stem cells to cure blood disorders

Radiation therapy 

Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy uses high-powered X-rays or other types of radiation to eliminate cancer cells or stop them from multiplying.


Also called biologic therapy, immunotherapy can boost a person’s immune system. It accomplishes the objective by using immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). These drugs help distinguish healthy cells and cancer cells, which then help T-cells identify, target, and destroy these cancer cells.

Targeted therapy 

In the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, antibody-drug conjugates can recognize and kill Reed-Sternberg cells.

Herbal formulas 

Wild growing Lingzhi mushrooms at the foot of a tree
Lingzhi mushrooms can help boost immune health after chemotherapy and target cancer cell death.

A traditional and holistic approach to treatment can strengthen the body and help suppress the growth of cancer cells.

“Natural formulas can minimize the damage done to healthy body cells. Thus, the body can recover faster from treatments like chemotherapy or targeted therapy.”

Chief TCM Physician Chu I Ta.

The main TCM treatment principles for Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are to support “health energy” and eliminate “evil” factors.

Supporting “health energy” involves: 

  • Tonifying qi (vital life force) and nourishing blood 
  • Tonifying the Kidneys and replenishing jing (essence) 
  • Strengthening the Spleen and reinforcing the Stomach 

Eliminating “Evil” factors comprises steps such as: 

  • Reducing phlegm and resolving mass 
  • Rectifying Stasis and subduing swelling 
  • Clearing Heat and removing toxins 

A physician may prescribe the following herbal formula based on the syndromes they have. These may include: 

  • Hua Ji Wan: For a syndrome of intermingled phlegm and Stasis 
  • Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang: To clear toxins and excessive Heat 
  • Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan: For Kidney and Liver Yin (passive energy) Deficiencies 
  • Ba Zhen Tang with Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang: For Qi and Blood Deficiencies 
  • Si Jun Zi Tang with Mai Wei Di Huang Tang: For Qi and Yin Deficiencies  

Many medicinal mushrooms have anti-cancer properties that are useful in the fight against lymphoma cancers. They can also help with recovery after chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

According to one study, Lingzhi contains compounds called ganoderic acids that boost the immune system after chemotherapy and induce cell death in various types of cancer.

Consult A TCM Physician For Personalized Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment

A treatment regimen centered on clinical and traditional remedies can help people overcome Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The formulas Physician Chu proposes are generally safe for consumption but derived from different ingredients.

Hence, it’s best not to self-medicate and to consult a TCM practitioner beforehand to avoid potential contraindications.  


  1. Yale Medicine. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
  3. National Library of Medicine. 2015. A Historical Tale of Two Lymphomas
  4. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. 2021. Hodgkin vs. non-Hodgkin lymphoma: What’s the difference? 
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Hodgkin Lymphoma.
  6. Cancer.org. Key Statistics for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  7. Journal of Clinical Cell Immunology. 2017. Anticancer Activity of Ganoderic Acid DM: Current Status and Future Perspective.
  8. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book. 2012. Targeting CD30 in hodgkin lymphoma: antibody-drug conjugates make a difference.

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