We think of traditional herbal Asian medicine when we look for alternative solutions to “everyday” ailments like colds, the flu, headaches and the like, but when it comes to The Big C, we usually Go West. Because when it comes to a fight with cancer, radiation, chemo, and robotic surgery trump plants and essential oils every time, right?
A team of international researchers would like to draw your attention to the neem tree. Also known as nimtree, or Indian lilac, it is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Indian sub-continent. It has been a mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine and may just contain an effective weapon against prostate cancer.
Nimbolide is an organic chemical, a botanical in the same family of “terpenoids” that make sunflowers yellow, cinnamon tasty, and eucalyptus aromatic. Nimbolide is found in the neem tree, and this new research indicates that it can reduce the size of a prostate tumor by up to 70 percent and suppress its metastasis by half.
"Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies. In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability - a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide, or repair damaged cell components - and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells," said Associate Professor Gautam Sethi from the Department of Pharmacology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.
Here's the science: Tumor metastasis occurs when cancer cells migrate or invade neighboring cells. It is the activation of the STAT3 gene that has been reported to contribute to prostate cancer metastasis.
“This is possible because a direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body,” explained Sethi. “We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor,” he added.
The research was published in the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling.