Curry Spice Ingredient (not Turmeric) Shuts Down Breast Cancer Growth

cumin breast cancerResearch from the University of Malaya’s Medical School Faculty has determined that a common spice used in Curry – not referring to Turmeric – stops the growth of breast cancer cells.

The researchers investigated the activity of the seeds often used to make curry spice often referred to as Cumin – with the botanical name Centratherum anthelminticum. While not the most common form of Cumin, this herb is also referred to in Ayurveda as Banjira and Jangali.

The researchers tested the Centratherum seeds against MCF-7 human breast cancer cells within the laboratory. They found that the Centratherum produced breast cancer cell death, along with a shrinking of cell size and deformed cellular structure among the cells.

The investigators then fractionated the Centratherum compound, to produce six different fractions. These included dihydroxyoleic acid, vernodalin and others. The researchers then tested each fraction against the human breast cancer cells, and found that the vernodalin had the most ability to kill and halt the breast cancer growth.

The researchers concluded that:

“Overall, our data suggest a potential therapeutic value of vernodalin to be further developed as new anti-cancer drug.”

Part of the effect of Centratherum may be its ability to inhibit the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), as found in other research.

Other research has shown Centratherum to be a potent antifungal, an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant in addition to its cancer-fighting potential.

Indian researchers determined its antifungal qualities, while University of Malaya scientists determined the seeds may have a rejuvenating effect upon pancreatic cells.

Ayurvedic physicians have used Centratherum to treat diabetes and skin disorders for centuries.

Researchers have also found that Centratherum reduces oxidative stress upon cells and tissues due to its antioxidant potency. It also has been shown to stimulate healing for inflammatory conditions. Other research found the herb to be analgesic – having the ability to halt or lessen pain.

Besides the compounds mentioned above, Centratherum has been shown to contain steroidal biochemicals that inhibit pathogenic fungi and bacteria.

While Centratherum is often used to make the spice mix called Curry, another form of cumin, Cuminum cyminum, is also used to make Curry. Cuminum cyminum is a relative of parsley, with its own medicinal qualities. Curry’s yellow color is due to its Turmeric content.

One way or another, adding Curry to our dinners is not such a bad spice choice.

Written by Case Adams, Naturopath

REFERENCES:

Looi CY, Arya A, Cheah FK, Muharram B, Leong KH, Mohamad K, Wong WF, Rai N, Mustafa MR. Induction of Apoptosis in Human Breast Cancer Cells via Caspase Pathway by Vernodalin Isolated from Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Seeds. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56643. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056643. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Singh O, Ali M, Husain SS. Phytochemical investigation and antifungal activity of the seeds of Centratherum anthelminticum Kuntze. Acta Pol Pharm. 2012 Nov-Dec;69(6):1183-7.

Arya A, Looi CY, Cheah SC, Mustafa MR, Mohd MA. Anti-diabetic effects of Centratherum anthelminticum seeds methanolic fraction on pancreatic cells, β-TC6 and its alleviating role in type 2 diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Oct 31;144(1):22-32.

Arya A, Cheah SC, Looi CY, Taha H, Mustafa MR, Mohd MA. The methanolic fraction of Centratherum anthelminticum seed downregulates pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, and hyperglycemia in STZ-nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):4209-20.

Arya A, Achoui M, Cheah SC, Abdelwahab SI, Narrima P, Mohan S, Mustafa MR, Mohd MA. Chloroform Fraction of Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Seed Inhibits Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha and Exhibits Pleotropic Bioactivities: Inhibitory Role in Human Tumor Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:627256.

Ashok P, Koti BC, Thippeswamy AH, Tikare VP, Dabadi P, Viswanathaswamy AH. Evaluation of Antiinflammatory Activity of Centratherum anthelminticum (L) Kuntze Seed. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Nov;72(6):697-703.

Purnima A, Koti BC, Tikare VP, Viswanathaswamy AH, Thippeswamy AH, Dabadi P. Evaluation of Analgesic and Antipyretic Activities of Centratherum anthelminticum (L) Kuntze Seed. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2009 Jul;71(4):461-4.

Mehta BK, Mehta D, Verma M. Novel steroids from the seeds of Centratherum anthelminticum. Nat Prod Res. 2005 Jul;19(5):435-42.

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.”

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