Cancer has become one of the major problems and diseases which have caused predominant deaths; it surpasses deaths from heart diseases. Cancer is considered to be a lifetime risk for patients. Cancer is a group of about 100 diseases. It is characterized by two things: no control for the growth of cancer cells, and the ability of the cancer cells to transfer from the original site to different parts of the body.
There are two types of tumors, they are malignant and benign. Cancer can attack anybody, and its incidence increases as the age of the individual increases too. There are many side effects associated with cancer diseases either solid or hematological cancer such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, hypercalcemia, pain, loss of appetite, anemia, fatigue, cachexia, leucopenia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia.
The major problems are nausea and vomiting, neutropenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and hypercalcemia. Due to these reasons, cancer is considered as one of the major diseases that affects the quality of life. Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to attack other tissues through the blood and lymph systems.
Plant Used For Cancer Treatment
There are various plant used for cancer treatment; I have selected the best and proven six that can be used for treatment and prevention of cancer. They are:
#1. Zingiber officinale
Zingiber officinale belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, commonly known as ginger. Ginger is widely used in anti-cancer traditional medicine preparations for gastrointestinal, liver, and oesophageal cancers. The rhizome of ginger is used in medicinal preparations and it is mostly used in polyherbal preparations. Lots of active ingredients are present in this plant, including gingerols, which are converted to shogaols, paradols, and zingerone. Zingiber officinale exerts its anti-cancer effects through multiple pathways.
#2. Achillea wilhelmsii
Achillea plant whose scientific name is Achillea wilhelmsii is from the order Asteraceae and Compositaea genus. Achillea has different species but Achillea wilhelmsii is more frequent and it grows in different areas. Achillea wilhelmsii is a gramineous, perennial, and short plant with a height ranging from 15 to 40 cm.
Methanol extracts and the essence of leaves of this plant have cytotoxic effects on colon cancer cells and this effect is very high. The methanol extract of the plant contains phenol compounds, especially flavonoids, which suppress the replication of cancer cells via inducing apoptosis.
#3. Allium sativum L
Allium sativum is a plant from the Aparagales order, Amaryllidaceae family, Allianceae subfamily and Allium genus. Allium sativum is a garmineous and an everlasting plant, with a stem size of 40 cm. Its underground part is puffed up and is composed of 5 to 12 parts enclosed in fine and slender membranes in gray to white color. The leaf is thin and dark green, its flowers are small and pink like an umbrella at end of the stem.
Research has shown that Allium sativum and organosulfuric compounds reduce the risk of cancer in the larynx, colon, breast skin, womb, gullet, bladder, and lung. The role of the most important Allium sativum compound “Allicin”, and the antitumor characteristics of this compound on breast and prostate cancer have been proven.
This compound induces the deliberate death of cells and has an anticancer role. It contains another compound called “Ajoene” which suppresses the proliferation of leukemia and causes the intended death of cancerous cells.
#4. Artemisia absinthium L
Artemisia is a plant which belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant has up to 200 to 400 species whose flowers are clustered and bitter. One of the species, Artemisia absinthium L, is native of Asian moderate areas, north of Africa, and vast areas of America, its size is between 80 to 120 cm. The flowers of this plant are yellow and are clustered. It contains an active ingredient called “Artemisinin”.
The effect of Artemisinin on breast cancer cells is that it inhibits cell growth, apoptosis, preventing angiogenesis, preventing cell migration, and decreasing responses of core receptors. Other active compounds present in this plant are Quercetin, isorhamnetin, kamfrolinalol, alphapinin, limonene, and myrecene.
#5. Curcuma longa
The common name of this plant is Turmeric. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It is a perennial plant that usually requires a humid and rainy environment. The major habitat of turmeric is hot areas of Asia such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and southern China, and it is a native of Africa and South America.
Turmeric has an underground stem known as the rhizome. The study of cytotoxic properties of turmeric is mediated by curcumin in a dose-dependent manner leading to apoptosis of cancer cells through the mitochondrial pathway.
Curcumin is an important ingredient of turmeric which plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of primary ovarian cancer. The anticancer potential of curcumin against cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, digestive, urinary, reproductive, breast, uterus, ovary, lung, melanoma, colon cancers, and brain tumors have been shown.
Curcumin has antioxidant effects that reduce or inhibit damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals and toxic products of oxidative stress play a significant role in the development of many diseases, including cancer. The mechanisms by which curcumin inhibits tumor formation are combination of properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-metastatic, inhibition of cell cycle, and proapoptotic, which induce inhibitory effects on cancer via regulating genes and molecules involved in these paths.
#6. Nigella sativa
The common name is “Black seed”, it is of the Ranunculale order and Ranunculaceae family. It is an annual flowering plant that is native to southwest Asia. It contains active compounds such as dinitro-quinone, thymoquinone. These compounds inhibit cancer cell growth and apoptosis. These compounds also induce the programmed death of cancerous cells. Black seed is used in the treatment of breast cancer
Cancer has devastating consequences for the patient’s life and it is indeed a leading cause of death worldwide. More than 100 different types of cancer are known and they are usually named by the organ or type of cell they start from; for example, a cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer.