Herbal Healing – Blackberries

Blackberries – The Natural Way to Fight CancerThe cyanidin-3-glucoside flavonoid in blackberries reduced the growth and inhibited the spreading of malignant tumors in skin and lung cancer

By Alexandra Lupu, Health News Editor

25th of September 2006, 12:56 GMT

A recent study conducted by researchers at the US Agricultural Research Service and the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that a certain compound in fresh blackberries is extremely potent against cancerous cells and malignant tumors. The particular compound is a flavonoid, the water-soluble flavonoid cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) more exactly.

Flavonoids are a class of naturally occurring plant compounds that function as antioxidants. They are plant pigments and, even if they are not labeled as essential nutrients, they enhance the processing of vitamin C, which is itself a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are also needed to maintain capillary walls and protect against infections. Deficiency of flavonoids may lead to easily bruising.

Flavonoid compounds are present in berries, apples, onions, wine, teas, red grapes, oranges, lemons, cherries, green vegetables, blue-green algae and many other foods. Flavonoids do not only protect against free radicals that oxidize the cells, but also block carcinogen agents in the environment, slows the development and spreading of cancer cells in our body etc.

Even if previous studies showed that almost all fruits and vegetables may contain efficient anti-cancer compounds, researchers failed to pinpoint what are the exact plant antioxidants which destroy tumor cells and how they really work: “Little is known about the active ingredients in these antioxidants and how these components exert their effects on the inhibition of cancer growth,” stated the team involved in the current study.

In lab studies conducted on mice, researchers found that the C3G flavonoid was very effective against skin cancer. The mice suffered from skin cancer before scientists started to give them C3G supplements. After a certain trial period, researchers found that the blackberry compound was active against malignant skin tumors and reduced the growth and spreading of tumors.

The same test was conducted on mice who suffered from lung cancer as this is one of the most likely forms of cancer to spread and “infect” other organs in the body. C3G flavonoid supplements proved to be very efficient in the case of lung cancer, too, as it inhibited the growth and spreading of tumors.

“These findings demonstrate for the first time that a purified compound from blackberry fruit could inhibit tumor promoter-induced cancer growth in mice and pave the way for additional investigations on the mechanisms of how fruits and vegetables promote health benefits in humans. This research is helpful to other scientists and useful to produce industry and consumers,” concluded the authors of the study, Cell Biologist Min Ding and Plant Physiologist Shiow Wang.