Papaya helps fight cancer16th March 2010
The papaya is valued in a number of Asian and Native American folk traditions, and scientists are now beginning to appreciate its unique properties.
Papaya leaf extract and papaya leaf tea are both excellent anti-cancer agents, according to joint US and Japanese research.
The fruit's leaves contain a range of compounds that can eliminate various tumours from the body.
The scientists found papaya leaves were particularly effective against tumours of the cervix, breast, lung, pancreas, and liver.
For the purposes of the study, the researchers exposed 10 different types of cancer to papaya leaf extract.
After 24 hours, the cancer in the 10 cell cultures had slowed its rate of growth.
Papaya leaf tea proved to be an excellent way of absorbing the fruit's medicinal properties, which had to do with a class of molecules known as cytokines.
The word 'cytokine' comes from the Greek words 'cytos' and 'kinos', which mean 'cell' and 'movement'.
Cells use cytokines to communicate with one another across the entire body, and the immune system uses them to coordinate its defences against disease.
Papaya leaf seemed to help the body produce Th1-type cytokines, which led to its cancer-fighting properties.
The finding could open up a whole new area of cancer research which boosts the immune system in order to fight cancer.
Lead researcher Nam Deng said that, in his native country of Vietnam, people have long revered the papaya.
While the plant is native to tropical Mexico, where it was first cultivated at least two thousand years ago, it spread to the world's tropics after the Spanish conquered the Americas.
The researchers said that using papaya extract to treat cancer had the unique benefit that the treatment was not in itself harmful to cells.
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Title: Papaya helps fight cancer
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 14341
Date Added: 16th Mar 2010