Research has confirmed that a common grass plant called the common rush plant inhibits the growth of stomach cancer.
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 and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.