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A Chinese Medicinal Herb Promising Better Cancer Treatment

There was the time, when cancer was incurable. However, now with the aid of apt medications, chemotherapy and early diagnosis, treatments and medications are very much possible. Yet again, if you are to hear the plight of cancer patients who have undergone chemo sessions, it is way terrible. The acumen associated with this, is that chemotherapy destroys 1 healthy cell for 5 cancer cells.

And, then there are the researchers which are trying to alter this number. This is exactly the work which is being done by the Researchers at the University of Washington. They have fabricated a compound based on the traditional Chinese medicine. Its effectiveness is 1200 times more in destroying the malignant cells than the chemotherapy drugs. This herb when amalgamated with iron, gives amazing results.

Chemotherapy destroys 1 healthy cell for 5 cancer cells.

Tomikazu Sasaki, the senior author of the study, Chemistry Professor, University of Washington, has described the compound as a special agent which basically plants a bomb inside the cancer cells. Interesting and promising.

cancer-retreat-1Top of an Artemisia annua flowering plant (Photo: Lin Yu-Lin)

The new compound has the ability to destroy 12,000 cancer cells for each healthy cell which is affected.

Which is the herb?

Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) is the magical herb which will be utilized for the medications.

  • It has been utilized for many years in traditional Chinese medicines for a plethora of disorders.
  • So, whether it was skin disorder, high blood pressure or malaria this herb made sure to be the ace medicine.
  • Its richness to portray apt treatment is attributed to beneficial compounds such as sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, coumarins, palmitic acid, essential oil, B-sitosterol, annuadiepoxide, B-gulcosidase III etc.
  • Wormwood oil contains camphor, iso-armetisia ketone, B-pinene, carveol, B-farnesene, fenchone, linalook, isoborneol, and limonene.
  • Limonene, B-pinene and Quercetin are of immense significance in the treatment of cancer.
dry-herbs-1Dried aerial parts with flowers: typical appearance as used in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Why the researches have included iron in the medicinal preparation to treat cancer?

  • Artemisinin has the ability to destroy almost 100 cells for every normal cell.
  • In order to improve the result, the researchers have added an iron chemical tag into the mixture.
  • The reason behind adding iron to the medicine is simple; the cancer cells need an enormous amount of iron to keep growing rapidly.
  • Hence, they will easily engulf the artemisinin-iron tag compound.
  • As soon as the iron reacts with artemisinin inside the cell, it releases poisonous molecules which are called free radicals.
  • The accumulation of these free radical results in the death of the cell.
  • Again, the cancer cells are not able to clean the free-floating iron like the healthy cells do; hence this attribute makes the former more sensitive to the herb.
  • It is due to this mechanism that the researchers are positive about the impact of the compound in the treatment of almost any type of cancer.

Has there been any testing pursued already?

The artemisinin-iron tag has already been tested on the human breast and prostate cancers in laboratory condition. It has been able to safely kill breast cancer in rats.

Innovation in the field and utilization of novel tools is bound to benefit the society at large.

A Chinese Medicinal Herb Promising Better Cancer Treatment
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