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Articles in Category: UNIVERSITY RESEARCH

Brucea javanica, the cancer crusader?

microscope

WHAT IS BRUCEA JAVANICA?

Brucea javanica, a 3-meter tall shrub original from South-east Asia and northern Australia [11] and known in Chinese medicinal remedies for its anti-cancer propertiesIn traditional folk medicine, the seed of this plant has been used for the treatment of diabetes [12] as well as to treat other disorders among indigenous peoples in Malaya peninsula [11].

In China this plant is known as ya tan tze, and has been the subject of hundreds of studies and clinical trials, all of them aimed to understand better two main key issues, first how effective this herb really is and secondly, if it is so effective which active constituent gives these properties to it.

 Image: See credits under ref. [9] below.


BRUCEA JAVANICA

Family: Simaroubaceae

Genus: Brucea

Common name: Brucea fruit


Can two cups of cocoa really boost your brain function?

HARVARD SCHOOL OF MEDICINE STUDY SHOWS HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCOA FOR OUR BRAINS

COCOA

Human brain is relatively small when compared to the overall body weight and in spite of that our brains require 20% of the overall human body oxygen consumption [1], oxygen that is used in combination with glucose to provide the required energy to neurons as the supply of blood to the active neurons must match their metabolic demand [5].

So far so good, but where does glucose come from? What are our sources of glucose? Glucose is a simple monosaccharide found in plants and is the primary source of energy for our brains [3]. Oxygen is needed to oxidize the nutrients inside our cells and as a way to create energy in our cell mitochondria, therefore a good oxygen supplementation is vital, also for our brains.

The way we provide oxygen to our body cells is by inhalation, after which it passes through our lungs and becomes part of our bloodstream, being carried by the red blood cells to all parts and cells of our bodies, including our brain. Image: Fèves de cacao by Rog01 under Creative Common license (CC BY-SA 2.0).


THEOBROMA CACAO

Family: Malvaceae

Genus: Theobroma

Common name: Cacao, cocoa


 

Milk thistle and hepatitis C study

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON MILK THISTLE

MILK THISTLE

Silibinin, a polyphenolic flavonoid also known as silybin [4], is the major active constituent of silymarin and the major biologically active compound of milk thistle [1], a plant that has traditionally been used to treat different ailments and illnesses, due to the properties it exerts and the ability of some of the active constituents found in it, as Silibinin.

Silibinin has been used as an effective chemopreventive agent in various types of cancer, suppressing cancer cell growth and inhibiting colon cancer stem-like cells [6], being also studied for its inhibitory effects on certain types of breast cancer cells [9,10], and many other anti-neoplastic effects in a variety of in-vitro and in vivo cancer models, including skin, breast, lung, colon, bladder, prostate and kidney carcinomas [15].

But this time, a study showed for the first time how Silymarin was ineffective for the treatment of Hepatitis C. The study was conducted was conducted using a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at 4 medical centers in the United States, and included 154 persons with chronic Hepatitis C virus infection who were previously and unsuccessfully treated with interferon-based therapy [24]. Image: Eran Finkle under CC license (CC by 2.0).


SYLIBUM MARIANUM

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Sylibum

Common name: Milk thistle