Red Raspberry Leaves Kill Colon and Throat Cancer Cells

red raspberry leaves and cancer

Photo © Jackie Egginton

Researchers from Coatia’s University of Zagreb have determined that red raspberry leaves contain bioactive substances that kill colon cancer cells and produce significant antioxidant potential that helps prevent throat cancer.

The researchers tested raspberry leaves against human cancer cell lines for laryngeal carcinoma (throat cancer) and colon adenocarcinoma (colorectal cancer). They found that the raspberry leaves had a significant cytotoxic (cancer cell-killing) effect upon the colon cancer cells, and a “chemoprotective” antioxidant effect against throat cancer cells.

They analyzed the leaves and found them rich in a variety of polyphenols and antioxidants. To test their relative antioxidant effects, they treated the cells with hydrogen peroxide.

Red raspberry leaves – notably from the Meeker variety – are one of the few plants that contain an anti-carcinogenic substance called ellagitannins. As the ellagitannins are absorbed, the tannins are released, which releases highly absorbed ellagic acid. Other findings have confirmed anticancer research involving ellagic acid. Ellagic acid cleanses cells of oxidative radicals, and stimulates a cell death switch in cancer cells.

Red raspberries and their leaves also contain flavanols. Other research has confirmed that flavanols help prevent colon cancer. Flavanols include anthocyanins. These help give raspberries their red color. Anthocyanins have been shown to be incredibly antioxidant as well as heart healthy. Anthocyanins also help the eyes due to their antioxidant abilities.

Red raspberries are native to North America. They grow profusely in nature, especially in the northwestern U.S. During the winter months they will lay bare. But when spring comes, they will spout hairy leaves that can be harvested as herbs. The leaves can be dried and used as a dehydrated herb. Or they can be steeped in tea. Be sure to filter the tea well to prevent the stickers from getting in. The best form of the leaves is to extract them. raspberry leaf extract is available in some retail outlets.

Cloves inhibit the growth of cancer cells according to other research.

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Durgo K, Belščak-Cvitanović A, Stančić A, Franekić J, Komes D. The Bioactive Potential of Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) Leaves in Exhibiting Cytotoxic and Cytoprotective Activity on Human Laryngeal Carcinoma and Colon Adenocarcinoma. J Med Food. 2012 Mar;15(3):258-68.

Beekwilder J, Hall RD, de Vos CH. Identification and dietary relevance of antioxidants from raspberry. Biofactors. 2005;23(4):197-205.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences. 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 our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available 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.”