Pomegranates studied as a nutritious way to prevent cancer

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) have many possible medicinal applications and one these is as a preventive measure against cancer. The potential anticancer properties of extracts derived from the fruit were observed in an in vivo study by scientists from various research institutes in Brazil.

  • Recently, more researchers are shifting their attention to natural products as potential anticancer remedies. This is because some cancer cells have become resistant to conventional treatments.
  • Pomegranate contains large amounts of tannins such as punicalagin, punicalin, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and ellagic acid derivatives. These compounds are attributed for the healing, antimicrobial, chemopreventive, and antitumor effects of the fruit.
  • Previous studies have shown that pomegranates can induce cancer cell death. However, this was only observed in an in vitro setup so potential systemic effects could not be evaluated.
  • In this study, which was published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, the researchers evaluated the antitumor activity of aqueous extracts of pomegranates. This was determined through an in vivo experiment involving Swiss mice transplanted with sarcoma tumor cells.
  • Potential toxicity of the extracts against healthy cells was determined through hematological, biochemical, histopathological, and morphological analyses of the tumor and organs. Moreover, the researchers also identified the phytochemicals present in the extract, which include gallic acid, punicalagin alpha, punicalagin beta, and ellagic acid.

The results of the study showed that the aqueous extracts of pomegranates can specifically target cancer cells and induce their death without harming healthy cells. This proves that pomegranates have potential use in treating and preventing cancer.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

For more articles about natural products with anticancer properties, visit Anticancer.news.

Journal Reference:

Bastos TB, da Costa DBN, Valois RBV, Thomazzi SM, do Nascimento MF, Doria GAA, Amaral RG, Gomes SVF, Lima-Verde IB, Cardoso CAL, Padilha FF, Gomes MZ, Cardoso JC, Carvalho AA, de Albuquerque-Junior RLC. IN VIVO ANTITUMOR EFFECT OF THE AQUEOUS EXTRACT OF PUNICA GRANATUM IN THE SARCOMA 180 MURINE MODEL. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 25 October 2018;12(26). DOI: 10.5897/jmpr2018.6654

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