Local plants may have anti-cancer properties-A A +A
To Your Health
Saturday, September 22, 2012
YES dear readers and friends, yours truly is happy to share with you the results of a research study conducted by Dr. Sonia Jacinto, a professor specializing on anti-cancer therapy from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. We are reproducing parts of the article published in Vital Signs magazine, which extracted salient items from the research endeavor, titled "Philippine Plants Showing Cytotoxic Activity to Selected Human Cancer Lines,” a study which aims to identify and isolate compounds responsible the cancer-killing action of some plant extracts.
Dr. Jacinto simplifies the procedure, "We grow a lot of cancer cells and place the plant extracts in it to observe if the cancer cells can grow. If it dies, it is a good sign that we can proceed to the next stage."
There are already promising findings from the plant Annona squamosa, commonly nown as the "atis.” The doctor added that atis is a close relative of Annona muricata or the guayabano – sour soup for you – which is known to be rich in murihexocin C, an anti-cancer agent.
Aside from atis, another plant that showed potential is the Akapulko or the cassia alata, a herbal medicine with anti-microbial properties, with potential anti-cancer capabilities. Dr. Jacinto explains, "We have isolated a mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acid esters, which showed potential anti-cancer effects." The local plant known as "kapal-kapal" or Calotropis gigantea have isolates that showed strong toxic effects to colon cancer cells, lung non-small cell adenocarcinoma and liver cancer cells. The plant is more commonly used for ornamental and medicinal purposes as a dry fomentation for abdominal pain. Moreover, other isolates of the kapal-kapal showed inhibitory effects versus chronic myologeous leukemia, and stomach or gastric cancer.
This encouraging research finding should challenge our bright and inquisitive Filipinos to look no farther than their backyard garden and maybe, who knows, by serendipity, may just stumble into a discovery that the leaves or young shoots of a weed or the leaves of herb provide cure for our common ailments and that much dreaded cancer. By then, the word "arbularyo" would have become more respectable. Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 22, 2012.