Although science has made great strides in the field of cancer treatment, there are still many discoveries to be made. While cancerous tumors are still the leading cause of death before age 65 in our country, some researchers suggest that plants can be effective. A group of scientists actually tested the virtues of different medicinal herbs in Mauritius, especially in the treatment of cancer.
Antitumor properties that may aid in research
Mauritius is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. Partly because of their isolation, the islands house a collection of plants and animals that do not exist anywhere else. Acalypha integrifolia, Eugenia tinifolia and Labourdonnaisia glauca are the names of these miraculous plants. In Mauritius, they are better known as Crève-Cœur Wood, Nèfle Wood and Bois de Natte. According to the research, the plants prevent the cancer cells from dividing, giving them valuable anti-tumor properties. In particular, they would have an effect on esophageal cancer, one of the most devastating, whose origin and risk factors are poorly understood. The paper was published in the journal Acta Naturae.
Helps fight against esophageal cancer
To carry out the study, the researchers tested extracts of different species of Mauritian plants on cells of two types of malignant tumors isolated from individuals. Three of the five biologically active plant compounds inhibited the growth of oesophageal cancer cells.
"About a third of local plants are used in traditional medicine, but scientific evidence of its therapeutic potential is still lacking," says one of the study authors Alexander Kagansky, an oncologist. "To date, only 15% of the island's plant species have been examined for their medicinal properties."
Esophageal cancer cases are expected to increase in coming years due to modern diets and lifestyles. Chemotherapy can prolong patients' lives for a limited time, but these extra months of "gain" can be very painful, as the drugs cause side effects that degrade the quality of life. But if the laboratory tests are conclusive, the researcher specifies that it will take a long time for a drug to be created from these plants: "Now we need to isolate the appropriate molecule."
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