Fewer than 6% patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas live up to five years after diagnosis. Chemotherapy is currently the standard treatment, however, these tumors often develop drug resistance over time. Agents for increasing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy or reducing the cancer cells' chemo-resistance to the drugs are required to improve treatment outcome.
One of the recent studies produced really promising results for the alternative treatment. A hot-water extract of moringa oleifera leaves was shown to kill up to 97% of human pancreatic cancer cells (Panc-1) after 72 hours in the performed study. Moringa, also called the “miracle tree,” has a long history of use in traditional and Ayurvedic medicine due to its many beneficial properties as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antidepressant, anti-diabetes, pain and fever reducer and even relief from asthma. But it also contains numerous powerful anti-cancer compounds such as kaempferol, rhamnetin, isoquercetin and others.
Latest research is now proving out moringa’s anti-cancer potential with positive results so far against ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma. Moringa is now extensively cultivated throughout Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and Central America, but the largest crop in the world is produced by India – where it grows natively.
That may be one reason why the death rate from pancreatic cancer in India is a stunning 84% lower than in the United States.
Moringa leaf extract was also tested on human pancreatic cancer cells at the Laboratory of Herbal Medicine and Cancer Research in Israel, and the results showed that Moringa extract was able to inhibit the growth of every single cell used in the study. Moringa contains benzyl isothiocyanate, a compound that has been proven to cause apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Another study performed in India found that topical application of Moringa seedpod extract was able to reduce the amount of skin papillomas in mice.
Also Known As
Moringa pterygosperma, Ben Oil Tree, Horse Radish Tree, Tree of Life, Miracle Tree, Drumstick Tree, Jiksna gandha, Akshiva, Mochak, Sahijan, Zogale.
What is it?
Moringa oleifera is a tree that is sometimes called the Tree of Life or a Miracle Tree, but rather than this being in reference to its potential medicinal usage this is actually referring to how it is a very valuable food crop (it is drought resistant, grows very fast, and is highly nutritive) and even beyond food it serves many benefits in third world countries such as having an ability to be used for some crafts (due to being a tree) and cleaning water.
For usage as a supplement, moringa oleifera is recommended mostly as being a highly nutritious antioxidant. While it is indeed nutritious, supplemental dosages are too low to acquire adequate nutrition from and this claim is not relevant; it is a relatively potent antioxidant, and while it seems to be less potent than other herbs when tested outside of a living system it does appear to be quite potent when tested in living models. The reason for the increased potency in living models is not known (although it is possible that it can induce genetic transcription similar to Sulforaphane since the bioactives are similar in structure), but the antioxidant properties seem to underlie the vast majority of benefits associated with this supplement.
There are also anti-inflammatory effects that, while less studies, seem to be quite effective; one of the bioactives, RBITC, is effective in suppressing macrophage activation in the nanomolar range which is worth some future research into. Beyond that, there does appear to be a nice anti-diabetic effect that has gone some very preliminary human testing which suggests that this plant may benefit pancreatic function and reduce blood glucose secondary to that.
Why it can be helpful?
Moringa oleifera provides a rare combination of zeatin (a potent antioxidant), quercetin (a flavonoid known for its ability to neutralize free radicals and relieve inflammation), beta-sitosterol (a nutrient superstar that blocks cholesterol formation or build-up and is an anti-inflammatory agent for the body), caffeoylquinic acid (another powerful anti-inflammatory compound), and kaempferol (a key nutrient that promotes healthy body cellular function). All in all, enzymatically active and bioavailable Moringa oleifera provides 36 natural anti-inflammatory agents. Free radical damage caused by electron-seeking, highly reactive, oxidative molecules has been identified as the source of many maladies through mechanisms such as inhibition of telomerase, changes to cellular permeability and DNA damage. It has been established that Moringa oleifera contains 46 different antioxidants.
According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s website, “In vitro and animal studies indicate that the leaf, seed, and root extracts of Moringa Oleifera have anticancer hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-sickling effects. They may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease, stomach ulcers, help lower cholesterol levels, and promote wound healing.” All I can say is “WOW!” When mainstream cancer clinics start to tout the benefits of a natural botanical, then we know that there must be something to it! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg with Moringa oleifera!
This “miracle tree” is able to provide all of the amino acids required by the human body. Protein is needed not only for the structural components such as muscle and tissues, but neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes and immunoglobulins as well. There are various nutrients that can have a beneficial effect on enhancing immune system function and Moringa oleifera certainly qualifies in this category due to the ability to provide several of these phytonutrients.
Speaking of the immune system, one of the functions of the immune system is to keep pathogens from growing, proliferating and damaging tissues. Moringa oleifera has been shown to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibiotic, which will certainly lighten the load on the immune system. In addition, Moringa oleiferademonstrates the ability to be a potent detoxifying agent.
Amazingly, the leaves of this extraordinary tree contain 7 times the vitamin C found in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein of yogurt, 25 times the iron in spinach, and 3 times the potassium in bananas.
How to take?
There is not a lot of human evidence at this point in time, but the majority of animal evidence uses rats as the models and uses a water extract of the leaves. When those conditions are met, it appears that 150-200mg/kg oral intake is deemed as optimal (greater potency than higher and lower doses) and in this case a preliminary human dose can be estimated at:
- 1,600-2,200 mg for a 150lb person
- 2,100-2,900 mg for a 200lb person
- 2,700-3,600 mg for a 250lb person
Due to the above ranges being the most potent anti-oxidative doses (with higher doses being less anti-oxidative) and the human studies currently in existence either using 500mg of the leaf extract of 3 grams of the seeds, it may be prudent to treat the ranges mentioned above as a maximal level of intake since higher doses have been noted to be genotoxic.
Moringa Oleifera leaves, flowers, seeds and tree bark is generally considered safe for use and rare side effects include nausea, diarrhoea and heartburn. However, the root of the tree is not fit for human consumption as it contains toxic substances that could potentially be fatal.
Moringa oleifera appears to be traditionally used as an aborifacient to abort pregnancies in the early stages, and oral ingestion of 175mg/kg of the leaves to pregnant rats for 5-10 days was able to induce abortions in all drug-treated rats.
So, pregnant women should avoid using this supplement, especially at the early pregnancy stage. Nursing mother should also be careful with Moringa Oleifera as more research is needed in this area first.
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