According to Indian origin doctors based in US, kitchen spices such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, saffron, and capsicum known for their culinary versatility could be a powerful weapon to fight certain pathogens that can cause cancer.
Dr Shrikant Anant of the University of Kansas Medical Centre, US stated, Over the last 10 years, almost every academic institution and industrial group in the United States has started researching on the cancer-fighting properties of natural substances. Primarily, Indian-American doctors are involved in this, followed by Chinese and Koreans.”
Anti-cancer properties of curcumin and saffron
Laboratory research on animals suggests that curcumin (a derivative of the spice turmeric) has potent anticancer properties.
Now, researchers have launched the first phase of human trials to find out just how powerful it may be.
The researchers are also conducting experiments to determine whether the natural spices are effective in inhibiting cancerous tumors in isolation or when combined with existing therapy.
Lead researcher Dr Shrikanth Anant, professor of cancer research, University of Kansas stated, “Cancer is a complex disease. No therapy is a silver bullet. It has to be a combination. So, we’re looking at options that can make treatment more effective.
Meanwhile, Dr Animesh Dhar, associate professor in gastroenterology at the University of Kansas Medical Centre, is testing saffron for pancreatic cancer.
The studies on rodents revealed that orally administered crocetin, a natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid found in saffron, appeared not only to slow the progression of the disease but also decreased the size of the tumor by half.
Dr Animesh Dhar stated, Crocetin a compound found in saffron, which has cancer-fighting properties was extensively used in ancient Chinese and Egyptian medicine.
Explaining further, he added, Our experiments on small animals have shown that Crocetin prevents proliferation of cancer cells. We are waiting for permission from the government to carry out clinical trials.
A herbal potion BIRM for prostate cancer
In addition, Addanki P Kumar of University of Texas Health Science Centre and Dr Bal Lokeshwar from the University of Miami have claimed success in reducing prostate cancer tumors by using a herbal potion extracted from the roots of Bryophyllum, known as BIRM.
Lokeshwar stated, We conducted an experiment by injecting mice with cancerous cells and treated a few of them with BIRM for 28 days, while others were left untreated. In mice treated with BIRM, the size of the tumour reduced from 100 units to 50, while in the untreated, the tumour grew from 100 to 250 units.