Posted on May 09, 2019, 6 p.m.
Many people including experts are convinced that natural resources could hold the key to fighting cancer. Nearly 9 million people around the globe die from cancer, and almost twice as many are diagnosed making the need for a safe and effective treatment very strong.
Every time a natural resource shows some promise in fighting cancer such as ginger, vitamin C, and turmeric, it can’t help to inspire wonder about what else might be out there that may also be as effective, even more effective, or perhaps not discovered growing wild in a remote place, or just not tested against cancer yet.
52 herbs and plants native to Saudi Arabia were examined by researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to investigate whether any had potential to fight against cancer; of the 52 tested only 3 were identified to show anti-cancer properties that deserve further investigation.
Saudi Arabia widely uses traditional herbal medicine, tending to rely more on information handed down from generation to generation rather than scientific studies. As such this study was designed to explore inexpensive and simple remedies that could be scientifically proven to help fight cancer by creating cell based phenotypic profiles of the tested botanicals, using imaging based high content screening to determine anti-cancer activity.
Of the 52 tested only Anastatica hierochuntica, Citrullus colocynthis, and Juniperus phoenicea showed promise, all of these 3 had potent anti-cancer topoisomerase inhibitors that could potentially be used to develop anti-cancer inhibitors. Before that can happen these identified compounds will need to be properly tested in trials, so it could take some time before the active compounds can be used in clinical treatments.
Citrullus colocynthis known as the bitter cucumber or Hanzal is a desert vine which has been long used for its medicinal purposes against viruses, diabetes, malaria, swelling, and rheumatism.
Anastatica hierochuntica known as the rose of Jericho or kaff maryam is common to the Arabian and Sahara desert and it is often used in herbal tea. Folk medicine touts its use in pregnancy but there are concerns about it possibly inducing labor.
Juniperus phoenicea known as Phoenician juniper or Arar is a small conical shrub, it’s essential oils have been long used for beneficial antioxidants and tannis; juniper berries have been used to treat urinary and bladder problems as well as inflammation.
Many plants grow across the planet with potential unexplored benefits or have even yet to be discovered, Saudi Arabia is just one of many potential sources where many plants have been used in traditional medicine that have not been studied by scientists. The Amazon rainforest on the other hand is home to one of the world’s biggest and diverse ecosystems where every day on average 3 previously unknown organisms are discovered with many of their benefits yet to be uncovered. Unfortunately at the rate the resources in the Amazon are being rapidly destroyed by deforestation and other human activities powerful cures to problems facing human health may be being eliminated and lost forever.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement