Red Raspberry Leaves Kill Colon and Throat Cancer Cells

red raspberry leaves and cancer

Photo © Jackie Egginton

Researchers from Coatia’s University of Zagreb have determined that red raspberry leaves contain bioactive substances that kill colon cancer cells and produce significant antioxidant potential that helps prevent throat cancer.

The researchers tested raspberry leaves against human cancer cell lines for laryngeal carcinoma (throat cancer) and colon adenocarcinoma (colorectal cancer). They found that the raspberry leaves had a significant cytotoxic (cancer cell-killing) effect upon the colon cancer cells, and a “chemoprotective” antioxidant effect against throat cancer cells.

They analyzed the leaves and found them rich in a variety of polyphenols and antioxidants. To test their relative antioxidant effects, they treated the cells with hydrogen peroxide.

Red raspberry leaves – notably from the Meeker variety – are one of the few plants that contain an anti-carcinogenic substance called ellagitannins. As the ellagitannins are absorbed, the tannins are released, which releases highly absorbed ellagic acid. Other findings have confirmed anticancer research involving ellagic acid. Ellagic acid cleanses cells of oxidative radicals, and stimulates a cell death switch in cancer cells.

Red raspberries and their leaves also contain flavanols. Other research has confirmed that flavanols help prevent colon cancer. Flavanols include anthocyanins. These help give raspberries their red color. Anthocyanins have been shown to be incredibly antioxidant as well as heart healthy. Anthocyanins also help the eyes due to their antioxidant abilities.

Red raspberries are native to North America. They grow profusely in nature, especially in the northwestern U.S. During the winter months they will lay bare. But when spring comes, they will spout hairy leaves that can be harvested as herbs. The leaves can be dried and used as a dehydrated herb. Or they can be steeped in tea. Be sure to filter the tea well to prevent the stickers from getting in. The best form of the leaves is to extract them. raspberry leaf extract is available in some retail outlets.

Cloves inhibit the growth of cancer cells according to other research.

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Durgo K, Belščak-Cvitanović A, Stančić A, Franekić J, Komes D. The Bioactive Potential of Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) Leaves in Exhibiting Cytotoxic and Cytoprotective Activity on Human Laryngeal Carcinoma and Colon Adenocarcinoma. J Med Food. 2012 Mar;15(3):258-68.

Beekwilder J, Hall RD, de Vos CH. Identification and dietary relevance of antioxidants from raspberry. Biofactors. 2005;23(4):197-205.


  • Case Adams, Naturopath

    California Naturopath, Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: case(at)caseadams(dot)com. [email protected] Adams, Naturopath Case
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