What are some cancer fighting plants?
A recent article, published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine in 2015, lists potential plant based anti-cancer sources. I found it a powerful read, summarizing human studies on plants with anti-cancer effects. In this blog, I have picked out some key pointers from the article and included some pertinent recipes. Or, here is a link to read the full article: Cancer therapy with phytochemicals: evidence from clinical studies(1).
The authors, Azar Hosseini and Ahmad Ghorbani represent the Phamacological Research Center of Medicinal Plants, at the School of Medicine, at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, in Iran.
First off, the authors cite the World Health Organization statistic: In 2012, there were 14 million cancer cases and 8.2 million people died from cancer.
This is a whopping statistic. Plus, current medical treatments for cancer come with severe health side effects. Furthermore, these treatments can be very expensive. Which begs the question, can plants offer a more gentle and effective complimentary or alternative treatment option? While there have been thousands of in vitro (in a test tube) and in vivo (with animal) studies, few human clinical trials have been completed. The authors of this report provided a review of several good human studies demonstrating plants with an anti-cancer effect. This is fabulous!
With a New Years resolution to eat healthy, I plan on ingesting these anti-cancer foods / herbs listed below!
Eating garlic may protect against gastro-intestinal cancers (2). Multiple human studies have demonstrated this effect. In addition, it has shown to help reduce colorectal tumors (3). Click here for a list of more research on garlic: Garlic Research.
Here’s my favorite garlic recipe: Sweet Brandy Soaked Garlic Cloves.
Turmeric, and its curcumin component, have been well studied for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer activities (4). This is a great spice to add in a curry dish. Or try this ginger and turmeric hot tea recipe: Golden Milk Recipe.
Turmeric is a heavy hitter on the list of cancer fighting plants. Click here for more turmeric research: Turmeric Scientific Studies.
This is my favorite on the list of cancer fighting plants. Green tea is enjoyed around the world for its energy boosting, antioxidant activities. In a review of research, green tea may also help against cancer, diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders, liver disease, and heart disease (5). Plus, the vivid green color is an absolute delight. Here is how to make a delicious and healthy matcha green tea latte: Matcha Green Tea Recipe.
Click here for more green tea research: Camellia sinensis Research.
There are multiple species of ginseng. American, Japanese, and Chinese varieties all have health benefits, but it is the Chinese variety: Panax ginseng, that has shown cancer fighting potential in research. In a cohort study of almost 1500 breast cancer survivors, those who consumed ginseng before diagnosis had an increased survival rate (6). Ginseng tea is also associated with improved concentration and might even be an aphrodisiac!
Here is some more research on ginseng: Ginseng Research.
Resveratrol is a phenol found in the skin of dark colored berries. It has shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer activity. So eat your colorful berries, such as: blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, mulberries, lingonberries, acai berries, and more. Even grapes, cocoa, and wine contain this anti-cancer constituent. Berries, colorful due to their polyphenol content, are delicious and nutritious cancer fighting plants (7).
The author also discusses a significant number of human studies on the anti-cancer effects of mistletoe. While this is a poisonous plant, experts can calculate a safe and effective dose. Don’t dry this at home. But do try: Giving your sweetheart a kiss under the mistletoe this holiday season!
Click here to read more research about other cancer fighting plants: List of Research: Anti-Cancer Activities in Herbs and Essential Oils.
Post By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), Professional NAHA and AIA Member, LMT
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.