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Haldi and Gobhi can keep prostate cancer at bay

Haldi not only enhances vegetables' taste, but is also effective at the prevention prostate cancer, say researchers.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 11:51 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

Adding haldi to your vegetables while cooking is not only good for enhancing its taste, but also very effective at the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, say researchers.

The scientists tested turmeric, also known as curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring substance particularly abundant in a group of vegetables that includes watercress, cabbage, winter cress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and turnips.

The team from the Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy noted that in contrast to the high incidence of prostate cancer in the United States, the incidence of the disease was very low in India, which has been attributed to the dietary consumption of large amounts of plant-based foods rich in phytochemicals, ie nonnutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease-preventive properties.

For the purposes of their study, researchers used mice bred so that their immune systems would not reject foreign biological material, and injected the mice with cells from human prostate cancer cell lines to grow tumors against which the compounds could be tested.

They injected the mice with curcumin or PEITC, alone or in combination, three times a week for four weeks, beginning a day before the introduction of the prostate cancer cells.

They found the injections significantly retarded the growth of cancerous tumors, and by using PEITC and curcumin in tandem, it produced even stronger effects.

The group went on to evaluate the therapeutic potential of curcumin and PEITC in mice with well-established tumors, and the results showed that PEITC or curcumin alone had little effect, whereas the combination of curcumin and PEITC significantly reduced tumor growth.

"The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers," said Ah-Ng Tony Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 11:51 IST