Anticancer Action by Gastrointestinal Tract

Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng): in case control studies, cancers of lip, oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, ovary, and colorectum were significantly reduced through Panax consumption. As to the type of ginseng, cancer was reduced in users of fresh ginseng extract, white ginseng extract, white ginseng powder, and red ginseng. Panax ginseng has non-organ specific cancer preventive effects against various cancers primarily because of its ginsenosides.

Oral Tumors

Black Tea (Camellia sinensis): An open study in people with oral leukoplakia treated with black tea showed a treatment benefit. Several in vitro and animal studies have suggested the efficacy of tea in the chemo-prevention of cancer.

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis): in induced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in vivo in hamsters, 0.6% green tea powder as drinking fluid or 10|imol curcumin or combination or nothing (control) was applied topically 3 times weekly for 18 weeks. The combination decreased the incidence, number, and size of SCC and precursor tumors. This activity may be related to suppression of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of angiogenesis.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa): This herb and its active principle, curcumin, have been extensively investigated for their antimutagenic and antioxidant effects in bacterial and animal systems. Turmeric or curcumin or a combination of the two was administered to hamsters in the diet or applied locally for 14 weeks, along with a carcinogen. Tumor number and tumor burden were significantly lower in the animals that received turmeric in the diet and had it applied locally. Histopathologic neoplastic grading was least in the animals fed or painted with curcumin. Turmeric or curcumin in the diet or applied as paint may have a chemopreventive effect on oral pre-cancerous lesions.

Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentals): Black raspberries were shown to inhibit oral cavity tumors in hamsters fed 5% and 10% lyophilized black raspberries (LBRs) in the diet for 2 weeks before treatment with a known carcinogen and for 10 weeks thereafter. A significant difference was observed in the number of tumors between the 5% lyophilized black raspberrie and control groups (27 tumors/14 animals and 48 tumors/15 animals, respectively); an intermediate number of tumors in the 10% berry-treated animals (39 tumors/15 animals) showed that dietary black raspberries inhibit tumor formation in the oral cavity.

Garlic (Allium Sativum): Administration of garlic (250mg/kg orally, three times a week) effectively suppressed induced tongue carcinogenesis in rats, as revealed by the absence of carcinomas in the initiation phase and their reduced incidence in the postinitiation phase. Garlic may exert its chemopreventive effects by modulating lipid peroxidation and enhancing the levels of glutathione (GSH), GSH peroxidase, and GSH S-transferase.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba): This extract induces apoptosis in oral cavity cancer cells.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca Americana): A pilot study of pokeweed mitogen immunotherapy in pets was conducted. One case reports 3-year remission and apparent cure of gum melanoma metastatic to regional and hilar lymph nodes and to the lungs in an aged dog following pokeweed mitogen therapy. A small total dose of 300 μg induced the remission. However, melanoma may be a uniquely responsive tumor.

Neem (Azadirachta Indica): This aqueous extract of neem leaf extract effectively suppressed induced oral carcinogenesis (squamous cell carcinomas in hamsters), as revealed by a reduced incidence of neoplasms. Neem may exert its chemopreventive effects in the oral mucosa through modulation of lipid peroxidation, antioxidants, and detoxification systems.

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum): Tomato paste containing lycopene at concentrations of 2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg body weight was given to hamsters three times per week on days alternate to carcinogen application. Tomato paste containing 5 mg lycopene per kg of body weight exhibited chemopreventive effects that were caused by modulation of lipid peroxidation and enhancement of antioxidants in the target organ, as well as in the liver and erythrocytes. Combined administration of tomato and garlic during induced SCC in hamsters significantly inhibited the development of carcinomas and induced apoptosis.

Gastric Cancer

Ginger (Zingiber Officinalis): This herb inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori, which is a causative agent associated with the development of gastric and colon cancers and may contribute chemopreventive effects.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): Root specifically inhibits gastric cancer cells growth in vitro and the mechanism is mainly cytostatic but not cytotoxic or inducing apoptosis.

Colon Cancer

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): These seeds in the diet inhibit colon carcinogenesis in rats by modulating the activities of beta-glucuronidase and mucinase. Beneficial effects may be attributed to the presence of fiber, flavonoids, or saponins.

Ginseng: The powder was investigated in an induced rat colon cancer model. Diets containing quercetin, curcumin, silymarin, ginseng, and rutin decreased the number of aberrant cells by 4-, 2-, 1.8-, 1.5-, and 1.2-fold, respectively, compared with controls. All herbal supplements, except silymarin, induced apoptosis, with quercetin being the most potent (3x increase compared with control). Furthermore, ginseng and curcumin were region specific in inducing apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that these herbs may exert beneficial effects on decreasing the number of precancerous lesions and inducing apoptosis in the large intestine.

Liver Cancer

White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora): This herb induced apoptosis in vitro in hepatoma cell lines.

Curcumin (Extract of Curcuma longa): Curcumin has been studied for its ability to suppress hepatic tumor growth and metastasis in laboratory animals. In a mouse model of hepatocellular carcinoma, daily oral curcumin administration (3000mg/kg) significantly attenuated tumor capillary growth. Rats bearing an ascites hepatoma were given curcumin (20mcg/kg) and tumor growth appeared inhibited. In animals implanted with hepatocellular carcinoma cells and administered curcumin, metastasis was suppressed dose dependently.

Green Tea and Black Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Panax (Panax Ginseng)