Rush Plant Extract Halts Stomach Cancer

Common rush plant halts gastric cancer

Photo by Peggy Lopipero-Langmo

As regular readers of this publication have come to realize, research is increasingly finding that many medicinal plants can halt the growth of cancer cells within the body.

Unfortunately much of this research is underfunded and thus typically doesn’t rise to the attention of many health professionals. But that isn’t a good reason to ignore such research. It also isn’t a good reason to reject nature’s medicines.

Common grass extract inhibits gastric cancer

Research from scientists at China’s Jiangsu Institute of Hematology and Soochow University has determined that an ingredient extracted from a common flowering grass called the rush plant can suppress growth of gastric cancer.

The plant has the botanical name of Juncus effuses and the common name Soft Rush or Common Rush. It grows throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Clumps of Soft or Common Rush can be found growing on roadsides, prairies and other natural settings.

From the Rush plant, the researchers extracted a natural compound known as dehydroeffusol. This has a chemical formula of 2,7-dyhydroxyl-1-methyl-5-vinyl-phenanthrene.

The researchers purified the extract and then proceeded to test dehydroeffusol in the laboratory. They treated gastric cancer cells and tumors with dehydroeffusol and found that it significantly halted the growth of the cancer and prevented the cancer cells from adhering and expanding – thus halting tumor growth.

More specifically the researchers found that dehydroeffusol prevented the cancer cells from forming vessels that are not unlike blood vessels in order to grow and gain nutrients. The formation of these vessels are more scientifically known as vasculogenic mimicry.

The extract prevented this formation of vessels by blocking the expression of a cancer cell gene called VE-cadherin. It also inhibited gene promotion and inhibited the pro-cancer gene matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2).

The researchers also found the extract prevented the gastric cells from migrating and invading nearby tissues.

The researchers also found the dehydroeffusol extract to have “very low toxicity.”

Dehydroeffusol and Juncus effuses have other medicinal effects

Researchers from China’s School of Chinese Materia Medica also extracted dehydroeffusol and found that dehydroeffusol inhibited gastric cell contractions normally associated with intestinal spasms.

Other research has found that Juncus effuses and its various extracts have a calming effect upon the body and its tissues. This confirms the ancient use of the herb as a sedative.

Other traditional uses of the young shoots and soft plant tissue inside the stem include throat infections, jaundice and urinary tract infections.

The later effects of the herb were confirmed by researchers from Japan’s Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, which found its extracts antimicrobial against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.

The plant also contains other medicinal compounds including effusol, juncusin and juncusol.

Consult with your health professional before utilizing medicinal herbs.


Liu W, Meng M, Zhang B, Du L, Pan Y, Gu Z, Zhou Q, Cao Z. Dehydroeffusol effectively inhibits human gastric cancer cell-mediated vasculogenic mimicry with low toxicity. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 May 13. pii: S0041-008X(15)00167-2.

Wang Y, Li GY, Fu Q, Hao TS, Huang JM, Zhai HF. Two new anxiolytic phenanthrenes found in the medullae of Juncus effusus. Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Aug;9(8):1177-8.

Di F, Zhai H, Li P, Huang J. Effects of dehydroeffusol on spasmogen-induced contractile responses of rat intestinal smooth muscles. Planta Med. 2014 Aug;80(12):978-83. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1382901.

Hanawa F, Okamoto M, Towers GH. Antimicrobial DNA-binding photosensitizers from the common rush, Juncus effusus. Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Jul;76(1):51-6.

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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