Ginseng Against Colorectal Cancer

Researchers have identified over 30 major components in ginseng, Studies have shown that ginseng possibly enhances the immune systems, acts as an anti-oxidant, reduces blood glucose level, and has anti-cancer activities.

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    Chun-Su Yuan, MD, PhD, began his presentation recounting how about 30-50% of cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including herbs. The Director of the University of Chicago’s Tang Center for Herbal Medicine, Dr. Yuan gave an interesting talk on his research involving colorectal cancer and ginseng – one of the most studied herbs when it comes to health benefits.

    Researchers have identified over 30 major components in ginseng, Studies have shown that ginseng possibly enhances the immune systems, acts as an anti-oxidant, reduces blood glucose level, and has anti-cancer activities.

    Laboratory studies by Dr. Yuan and his colleagues have shown ginseng reduces tumor development in mice. Heating ginseng led to even more effective anti-cancer activities. The studies suggest the ginseng herb has potential anti-cancer activities but it needs verification. They will continue laboratory research and hopefully start clinical trials (studies conducted on cancer patients) in the next several years.

    But as noted in an AICR column, people with high blood pressure or hypoglycemia are usually warned to be wary of consuming ginseng.

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      Spices for Cancer Prevention

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      curry20091028How a wide variety of familiar spices may help with cancer prevention and someday help with cancer treatment was the focus of Bharat B. Aggarwal’s talk at AICR research conference. Dr. Aggarwal, PhD, a researcher at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, spoke about how studies have shown many spices decrease the activity of a compound called NF-kappa B (NF-kB).

      All the different types of cancer cells have NF-kB. It seems to lead to chronic inflammation, eventually leading to cancer development, said Dr. Aggarwal. Turmeric, fennel, red chili, cloves, and ginger are just a few of the spices Dr. Aggarwal and his colleagues have found reduce the development of cancer in animal studies. The natural compounds in spices turn down the function of the many genes related to chronic inflammation, as opposed to targeting a single gene.

      Some promising research Dr. Aggarwal and others are studying come from curcumin, which you can read about here. There are currently tens of ongoing clinical trials – studies conducted on cancer patients – that will help researchers understand the effects of different spices.

      Dr. Aggarwal also has a new book on the subject: Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices: Modern Uses for Ancient Medicine.

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