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New herb for cancer treatment-Chinese study

(NaturalNews) Chinese scientists have found that an extract of a common flowering plant -- known to most of us as mums -- could be a potent cancer treatment. In a series of studies, a research team headed by Professor Zong-fang Li from the Second Affiliated Hospital at Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Medicine has previously demonstrated that Chrysanthemum indicum extract (CIE) possesses antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective effects. Now, in a paper published in the September issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, they report that it also kills human cancer cells through a process known as apoptosis.

In a statement to the media, the scientists explained that researchers have noted the possible anticancer activity of Chrysanthemum indicum before, especially against the most common type of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). But just how CIE works against this and possibly other malignancies has not been known. So, to address this important issue , the Xi'an Jiaotong University investigators studied the effects of CIE on cancer cells in the lab, using a line of human liver cancer cells known as HCC MHCC97H.

For the experiment, Professor Li and his colleagues used both rat hepatocytes (liver cells) and human endothelial cells (cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels) as controls. The results of the experiment showed that CIE dramatically inhibited the proliferation of the HCC MHCC97H cancer cells. And CIE induced apoptosis, too, a form of cell death in which a programmed sequence of events leads to the elimination of cells without releasing harmful substances into the surrounding area. This process involves a series of biochemical events that lead to changes in the cell membrane, shrinkage of cells, nuclear fragmentation and chromosomal DNA fragmentation.

However, the chrysanthemum extract did not cause any harm to the normal rat and human cells. Bottom line: the chrysanthemum derived extract showed such potency specifically against cancerous cells -- while not damaging normal, healthy cells -- that CIE could be a promising novel treatment for human cancer.

Using chrysanthemums for natural healing isn't a new idea. Traditional healers in numerous cultures have long used parts of the plant and its flowers to treat dizziness, headaches, fevers, inflammation and more (http://www.herbreference.com/chrysa...). When used as a houseplant, chrysanthemums can also help improve air quality.

Li ZF, Wang ZD, Ji YY, Zhang S, Huang C, Li J, Xia XM. Induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human HCC MHCC97H cells with Chrysanthemum indicum extract. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2009; 15(36): 4538-4546 .

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