The use of complementary and alternative medicines-including a variety of herbal therapies-by patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy has been well documented. Despite such widespread use, however, the benefits and potential mechanisms of such herbal medicines remain largely anecdotal. In this study we examined the effects of a Chinese herbal formula, Bing De Ling, when administered as an adjunct to chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the CT26 mouse colon cancer model. 5-FU and Bing De Ling were administered to both nave and CT26 mouse colon cancer-bearing BALB/c mice. Our results indicate that although the herbal formula alone did not result in antitumor effects under experimental conditions, it significantly enhanced 5-FU-induced tumor growth inhibition. Oral administration of Bing De Ling also increased survival rates of both tumor-bearing and tumor-free mice treated with 5-FU. Furthermore, oral administration of Bing De Ling reduced weight loss in tumor-free mice receiving 5-FU when compared to tumor-free mice that received 5-FU alone. Our data further show that 5-FU upregulates serum levels of IL-6, known to contribute to weight loss, in tumor-free mice, and that this increase in IL-6 is significantly less in mice that received Bing De Ling in addition to 5-FU. These data show Bing De Ling both enhances the antitumor responses of 5-FU and ameliorates side effects.