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Can herbal substances help against breast cancer?
Apart from cardiovascular disease, cancer is the leading cause of death in western civilization. For women, breast cancer is the cancer that causes the most deaths worldwide.
Since conventional treatment often has strong side effects, scientists strive to find gentler herbal alternatives or supplements. Researchers have now evaluated existing studies on this topic.
What was examined?
A team of scientists from Pakistan viewed 135 works that looked at the effects of plant extracts on breast cancer. In doing so, they investigated the following two questions: Which herbal substances are effective against breast cancer and how do they work? They published the results in the current issue of the magazine "Phytomedicine".
What did the researchers find out?
Natural substances such as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), an antioxidant that is mainly found in green tea, genistein from fava beans, curcumin from turmeric, DIM (diindolylmethane) from cruciferous vegetables, polyphenol resveratrol, which is found in red grapes, and were examined the flavonoid quercetin, which is found in various plants. The analysis of the data showed that all tested plant substances can make an important contribution to combating breast cancer.
It is particularly interesting that each substance intervenes differently in the formation and proliferation of cancer cells. However, all change processes on the genetic level of cell production.
"Natural substances act as selective inhibitors of cancer cells," the article says. Since cancer usually means a large increase in the number of degenerated cells, substances that help stop this overgrowth in one way or another can be helpful. All the substances examined were able to do this.
Conclusion of the research team
Although all investigated plant substances can inhibit cancer growth in their own way, the researchers initially recommend them only for the accompanying therapy: "Natural plant extracts can be used efficiently to accompany the conventional form of therapy in order to increase their effectiveness against the progression of cancer", is the conclusion of the scientists.
Her work, at least, gives hope that one day it will be possible to cure breast cancer with gentle, herbal medicines. (kh)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig
- Ahmed, Fayyaz, Bushra, Ijaz, Ahmad, Zarnab et al .: Modification of miRNA Expression through plant extracts and compounds against Breast cancer: Mechanism and Translational Significance; in: Phytomedicine, Vol. 68, 2020, ScienceDirect