Cumin for Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
Cumin is more than a common spice used in curry and other spice blends. Turns out that cumin also halts the growth of breast cancer.
Human breast cancer studied with cumin
Research from the University of Malaya’s Medical School Faculty has determined that a common spice used in Curry – not referring to Turmeric – stops the growth of breast cancer cells.
The researchers investigated the activity of the seeds often used to make curry spice often referred to as Cumin – with the botanical name Centratherum anthelminticum. While not the most common form of Cumin, this herb is also referred to in Ayurveda as Banjira and Jangali.
The researchers tested the cumin seeds against MCF-7 human breast cancer cells within the laboratory. They found that the cumin produced breast cancer cell death, along with a shrinking of cell size and deformed cellular structure among the cells.
Cumin fractions tested
The investigators then extracted the Centratherum compound, to produce six different fractions. These included dihydroxyoleic acid, vernodalin and others. The researchers then tested each fraction against the human breast cancer cells, and found that the vernodalin had the most ability to kill and halt the breast cancer growth.
The researchers concluded that:
“Overall, our data suggest a potential therapeutic value of vernodalin to be further developed as new anti-cancer drug.”
Part of the effect of Centratherum may be its ability to inhibit the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), as found in other research.
Other research has shown Centratherum to be a potent antifungal, an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant in addition to its cancer-fighting potential.
Indian researchers determined its antifungal qualities, while University of Malaya scientists determined the seeds may have a rejuvenating effect upon pancreatic cells.
Cumin is a traditional herbal medicine
Ayurvedic physicians have used Centratherum to treat diabetes and skin disorders for centuries.
Researchers have also found that Centratherum reduces oxidative stress upon cells and tissues due to its antioxidant potency. It also has been shown to stimulate healing for inflammatory conditions. Other research found the herb to be analgesic – having the ability to halt or lessen pain.
Besides the compounds mentioned above, Centratherum has been shown to contain steroidal biochemicals that inhibit pathogenic fungi and bacteria.
Cumin also contains carotenoids. Carotenoids have been found to inhibit cancer as well.
While Centratherum is often used to make the spice mix called Curry, another form of cumin, Cuminum cyminum, is also used to make Curry. Cuminum cyminum is a relative of parsley, with its own medicinal qualities. Curry’s yellow color is due to its Turmeric content.
One way or another, adding Curry to our dinners is not such a bad spice choice.
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