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September 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 7)

The daffodil is a natural remedy to fight cancer
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

The daffodil is a natural remedy to fight cancer image

Spring is in the air (no, really). . .and the flower that is most closely associated with the season, the humble daffodil, could play a part in fighting cancer. It's been known in folk medicine for centuries and now researchers have established it as well.

It isn't the whole flower that is used; instead, a compound from the flower is extracted, and this activates cancer-fighting properties in our cells that starve the tumours and stop their growth.

Researchers from the Libre de Bruxelles University have discovered that the compound, an alkaloid known as haemanthamine, interferes with the production of proteins that cancer cells synthesise in order to grow and develop.

As the researchers say, their research is the first to provide a molecular explanation for the tumour-fighting qualities of the daffodil, a flower that folk medicine has been using for centuries to help people with cancer.


References

Haemanthamine is the latest molecule to be extracted from plants for their therapeutic use: morphine, quinine and ephedrine (to treat asthma) all have floral origins.

(Source: Structure, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.str.2018.01.009)

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