Australian Rainforest Herbs Stop Cancer Cell Growth

cancer and Australian rainforest herbsResearchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales have confirmed that three Australian rainforest herbs protect human cells against cancer and inhibit cancer growth among human cells.

The research investigated three native Australian herbs: the Tasmannia pepper leaf (Tasmannia lanceolata), Anise myrtle (Syzygium anisatum), and the Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora). The researchers also tested these against a reference herb, the Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis).

The researchers applied whole extracts of the four herbs to cancerous human liver cells, cancerous human colon cells, cancerous human bladder cells, stomach cancer cells and human leukemia cells. The researchers then measured the proliferation of these cancer cells compared to the proliferation of similar cancer cells without the herbal extracts.

The researchers found that all three rainforest herbs significantly induced death among the liver cancer cells, the colon cancer cells, the stomach cancer cells and the bladder cancer cells.

In addition to their cancer cell-killing abilities, all three rainforest herbs were found to have superior antioxidant abilities. This allows them to help protect cells against the kind of oxidative radical damage that can produce the initial genetic damage that produces cancerous cells in the first place.

The mechanisms used by the three medicinal herbs to inhibit cancer growth includes genetic changes – changes that promote the death of cancer cells. Flow cytometry testing – measuring cell characteristics – found that the herbs altered the DNA of the leukemia and colon cancer cells, stimulating the increase of caspase-3 enzyme activity. The caspase-3 enzyme activity prompts the cell’s kill switch, killing off the cancer cells before they continue to proliferate. Decreased activity of the gene-regulator caspase proteins has been identified as one of the reasons cancerous cells proliferate into tumors.

The Tasmanian pepper tree grows among the rainforests of Australia. It contains a significant amount of chlorogenic acid – also a component of green coffee beans. Recent research has shown chlorogenic acid can reduce glucose absorption and thus may have application for diabetes and even possibly weight loss. The leaves and berries of the plant are popular as spices, and it is used to flavor Japanese wasabi. The spice has been shown to prevent spoilage due to its antimicrobial content.

The Syzygium anisatum or Australian aniseed tree is differentiated from the true anise shrub. The tree can grow to over 100 feet tall, and bear white fragrant flowers. The myrtle aniseed tree contains antimicrobial anethole and methyl chavicol biochemicals, which also smell like licorice.

The Backhousia citriodora bush also grows in the rainforests of Australia. The crushed leaves have a strong lemon fragrance, and they contain a biochemical called citral – also known as the mosquito repellent citronella. Backhousia citriodora can contain up to 98% citral – the most of any other plant. The plant also contains geraniol and other constituents.

All three rainforest herbs have been used traditionally by Australians for a variety of infective and inflammatory disorders.

REFERENCES:

Sakulnarmrat K, Fenech M, Thomas P, Konczak I. Cytoprotective and pro-apoptotic activities of native Australian herbs polyphenolic-rich extracts. Food Chem. 2013 Jan 1;136(1):9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.07.089.

Jensen MB, López-de-Dicastillo Bergamo CA, Payet RM, Liu X, Konczak I. Influence of copigment derived from Tasmannia pepper leaf on Davidson’s plum anthocyanins. J Food Sci. 2011 Apr;76(3):C447-53.

Saito Y, Ito S, Koltunow AM, Sakai H. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of geraniol dehydrogenase from Backhousia citriodora (lemon myrtle). Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun. 2011 Jun 1;67(Pt 6):665-7.

Nhu-Trang TT, Casabianca H, Grenier-Loustalot MF. Authenticity control of essential oils containing citronellal and citral by chiral and stable-isotope gas-chromatographic analysis. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2006 Dec;386(7-8):2141-52.

Asakawa Y, Ludwiczuk A, Harinantenaina L, Toyota M, Nishiki M, Bardon A, Nii K. Distribution of drimane sesquiterpenoids and tocopherols in liverworts, ferns and higher plants: Polygonaceae, Canellaceae and Winteraceae species. Nat Prod Commun. 2012 Jun;7(6):685-92.

Ong KW, Hsu A, Tan BK. Chlorogenic acid stimulates glucose transport in skeletal muscle via AMPK activation: a contributor to the beneficial effects of coffee on diabetes. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32718.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.

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