Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chinese Herb May Help Treat Cancer

From Cancer Monthly:

Herbal Remedy May Help Combat Endometriosis and Cancer
The Chinese herb Prunella vulgaris (PV) may prove an effective treatment for women with endometriosis and certain types of cancer because of its anti-estrogen properties, according to research published in the November 5 issue of the journal, Biology of Reproduction.
Although the female hormone, estrogen is crucial to reproduction, it can have some negative side effects, fueling the abnormal cell growth that occurs in diseases such as endometriosis and cancer. To treat these diseases, doctors have turned to tamoxifen and other anti-estrogen medications, but these drugs can have significant side effects.

In their search for an alternative to anti-estrogen medications, researchers in Greenville, South Carolina focused their attention on several possible herbal remedies.They had 20 herbs in the lab that included Prunella vulgaris, says Bruce Lessey, MD, PhD, vice chair of Research, and director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Greenville Hospital System. PV is found in Europe and Asia and is often used to treat painful periods. "There had been one study previously suggesting that a related herb, Prunella stica, had anti-estrogen properties. So we screened the herbs, and this one really jumped out."

When Dr. Lessey and his colleagues tested the herb on endometrial cancer cells, they discovered that it significantly reduced the cancer cells growth. In mice implanted with human endometriosis, PV also reduced the number of abnormal endometrial tissue growths. The herb was just as potent as a synthetic anti-estrogen drug used in the study. The only side effect researchers have noted in ongoing human studies of PV has been an increase in headaches in some women....

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Here's a source of Prunella (Chinese: Xia Ku Cao):

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