Medicine News

Chinese sweet plum found to have anti-cancer effects, may be developed into an anti-cancer treatment

Cancer is a significant public health concern around the world. Although drugs are available for treating the disease, they cause many serious side effects. For this reason, researchers continue to explore the potential of medicinal plants in treating cancer.

In a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, extracts from the leaves and branches of the Chinese sweet plum (Sageretia thea) plant were found to have anti-cancer effects. The study’s researchers, who were from Andong National University and the National Institute of Forest Science in South Korea, suggested that they may be developed into an anti-cancer treatment.

In Korea and China, the whole plant is used for treating hepatitis and fevers, and recently, the leaves and branches of the plant were shown to induce programmed cell death – also known as apoptosis – in human breast cancer cells. However, research on the mechanisms of Chinese sweet plum for anti-cancer activity is still lacking. Therefore, the Korean research team examined whether extracts from the leaves and branches of the Chinese sweet plum have anti-cancer activity against colorectal cancer.

In the study, they investigated the potential mechanisms of branches and leaves of the Chinese sweet plum using SW480 colorectal cancer cells, which are widely used to examine the potency of treatment in preventing and curing cancer. They treated SW480 colorectal cancer cells with either Chinese sweet plum leaf or branch extract for 24 hours.

The research team observed that the Chinese sweet plum leaf and branch extracts induced programmed cell death in SW480 colorectal cancer cells. In addition, both extracts also decreased the viability of colorectal cancer cells. Based on these results, the research team concluded that Chinese sweet plum leaf and branch extracts have great potential for the development of anti-cancer treatments, particularly for human colorectal cancer.

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Other ways to protect yourself from colorectal cancer

Just as colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., it is also one of the most preventable. Almost half of the colorectal cancer cases every year could be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes, according to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Listed below are five steps you can take to lower your colorectal cancer risk:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and lose that belly fat – Colorectal cancer is linked to overweight and obesity. Moreover, AICR research shows that too much belly fat can also increase the risk of this cancer, regardless of weight. If you’re beyond the healthy weight range, losing as little as 10 pounds or so – and keeping it off – can benefit your health.
  2. Be physically active – Research shows that moderate physical activity can lower colon cancer risk, so try to fit any activity into your day, be it house cleaning or running.
  3. Eat lots of fiber – Increasing your fiber intake can lower your risk of colorectal cancer. The AICR suggests that for every 10 grams (g) of fiber intake daily, colorectal cancer risk is reduced by 10 percent.
  4. Reduce your red meat intake and avoid processed meat – Regularly eating high amounts of red meat and even small amounts of processed meat can increase your risk of colorectal cancer. The AICR suggests limiting your red meat consumption to 18 ounces (oz.) per week and avoiding processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, deli meats, and sausage.
  5. Limit your alcohol consumption – Drinking too much alcohol is linked to various health problems, and colorectal cancer is one of them. The AICR advises limiting alcohol intake to a maximum of two glasses daily for men, and one for women.
  6. Eat plenty of garlic – Evidence suggests that regular intake of garlic can lower colorectal cancer risk. You can add garlic to your diet by adding it to stews, stir-fries, and other dishes. (Related: Eating garlic daily reduces risk of lung, bowel cancer by 40 percent.)

Read more articles on how to protect yourself from colorectal cancer at

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