Herb oregano contains a compound that can kill prostate cancer cells, according to US researchers.
Oregano, commonly used in pizza and other Italian food, has an important chemical called carvacrol. Scientists from Long Island University, New York, tested this chemical on lines of prostate cancer cells and left it for four days.
Oregano to kill prostate cancer cells?
They found that carvacrol induced apoptosis, or ‘cell suicide’. Apoptosis is one of the ways the body rids itself of malfunctioning or malignant cells like those found in tumours.
Their findings will be presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego, California.
Whilst the study is at a very preliminary stage, researchers hope that a medicine inspired by carvacrol could have fewer side effects than traditional prostate cancer treatment, which can cause incontinence and impotence.
Dr Supriya Bavadekar, from Long Island University, New York state, said: "A significant advantage is that oregano is commonly used in food and has a 'generally recognised as safe' status. We expect this to translate into a decreased risk of severe toxic effects.
"Some researchers have previously shown that eating pizza may cut down cancer risk. This effect has been mostly attributed to lycopene, a substance found in tomato sauce, but we now feel that even the oregano seasoning may play a role.
"If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer."
Until their results are further proven, it might be wise to cover yourself for more traditional prostate cancer treatment on your private medical insurance. Compare health insurance quotes with full cancer cover for access to the best treatment the UK has to offer.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012