Served as an Indian remedy traditionally for centuries, bitter gourd is now popular as an alternative medicine for diabetes.
Even more interesting, bitter gourd extract can fight cancer from results of a new research.
China imported the fruit first in the 14th century, making it widespread, even reaching the regions of Africa and even to the Caribbean.
Though it is known to be healthy for consumption, popularity has been further increased when news of it being a solution to diabetes arose. This no doubt astounded many who had the ailment.
Prof. Ratna Ray from Saint Louis University in Missouri along with her colleagues found that bitter melon extract was effective in combatting cancer tumors, stopping the spread as wall as the growth from experiments with mice models.
The journal Cell Communication and Signaling has the study paper that consists of the findings from the researchers.
Having grown up in India, Prof. Ray was very familiar with bitter gourd’s alleged medicinal properties as well as its culinary qualities.
From this, her curiosity grew, contemplating on whether the plant harboured any property that was anticancer in nature.
To feed her curiosity, tests was done by her along with colleagues, using bitter gourd extract on numerous types of cancer cells like breast, prostate, head and neck cancer cells to satisfy her research.
The results revealed that the cancer cells had stopped replicating, greatly hinting that it could stop the spread of cancer and that its anti-cancer in nature.
Going further with the intent of understanding this better, Prof. Ray and her team experimented further using mouse models again.
Their focus this time is the interaction between bitter gourd and the cancer tumors of both mouth and tongue.
What they found was that glucose, which is sugar in simple form, along with fat was interacted with the extract of the bitter gourd, feeding the cancer cells.
Bitter gourd stopped cancer tumors from growing and developing by disrupting those pathways, causing the death of some cancer cells in some instances.
“All animal model studies that we’ve conducted are giving us similar results, an approximately 50% reduction in tumor growth,” says Prof. Ray.
Though it isn’t absolute or definite that humans would also get this benefit, it is the ultimate aim of Prof. Ray and her colleagues to find out along with the out other mysteries of bitter gourd.
“Our next step is to conduct a pilot study in [people with cancer] to see if bitter melon has clinical benefits and is a promising additional therapy to current treatments,” she notes.
Prof. Ray seems convinced that the plant is, if nothing else, at least a positive contributor to personal health.
“Some people take an apple a day, and I’d eat a bitter melon a day. I enjoy the taste,” she says.
11th April 2020 23:11
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