Chrysanthemum Extract May Treat Cancer

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Extracts from the flowers commonly called mums (chrysanthemum) have been shown to possess anticancer properties. Chinese researchers have now uncovered the mechanism of action for the chrysanthemum’s cancer treatment activities.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is increasing, mainly in relation to the spread of hepatitis C infection. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common cancer in some areas of the world, with more than 1 million new cases diagnosed annually. Estimated new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2009 is 22,620, with an anticipated 18,160 deaths.

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Previous studies have shown that chrysanthemum species, especially Chrysanthemum indicum, possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immune system modulating, and neuroprotective properties. The flower’s anticancer abilities, however, have been of special interest, and were explored in the current study in liver cancer.

In the current study, the authors examined the impact of Chrysanthemum indicum extract on both rat and human liver cancer cells (MHCC97H cell line). They found that the extract inhibited the proliferation of the cancer cells without harming normal cells. The chrysanthemum extract also induced apoptosis (cell death) of liver cancer cells and caused other actions indicative of anticancer effects. The researchers concluded that Chrysanthemum indicum extract has potential as a treatment for human cancer.

Other studies of Chrysanthemum indicum in combination with cancer-fighting agents or traditional Chinese medicine have been promising as well. One study showed that patients with metastatic breast cancer who took Chrysanthemum indicum extract after surgery along with either traditional Chinese medicines or chemotherapeutic agents had a five-year overall survival rate of 70 percent and 77 percent, respectively, without adverse effects. Another study (2008) found that the plant extract along with traditional Chinese medicine achieved a 67 percent response rate in patients with advanced esophageal cancer.

SOURCES:
Bi X et al. Zhongchengyao 2008; 30: 1266-68
Li ZF et al. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2009; 15(36): 4538-46
Xiang LP et al. Zhongquo Linchuang Yaoli Yu Zhilaoxue 2002; 7:63-64

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