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We could fight cancer with cardamon

Words by Smiley Team

We may be able to fight aggressive, “triple-negative” breast cancer with the spice cardamon, new research suggests. 

Cardamon (also known as cardamom) originates from the Indian sub-continent and is made by mixing the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum. The plants are known for their pungency and aromatic nature. It’s also the third most expensive spice in the world behind saffron and vanilla.

This spice might also be key to fighting aggressive and deadly forms of breast cancer.

Scientists in Tallahassee, Florida have made the discovery that cardamom reacts distinctly with the expression of a gene dubbed PD-L1 found in tumor cells. That gene is responsible for aiding breast cancer cells to evade the immune system.

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The spice was tested on two groups of people, one African in ancestry, and the other European. In the African group, the cardamon treatment actually showed cell death in breast cancer cells, while the European group only showed a limited expression of said cells. 

“The fact that cardamon has been used for centuries as a spice and, more recently, as a supplement shows that its intake is safe and may bring health benefits,” said Patricia Mendonca, Ph.D., assistant professor, and research analyst at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

“Our research shows that cardamon holds potential for improving cancer therapy without as many side effects as other chemotherapeutic agents.”

Cardamon has already been used as a medicinal supplement for a very long time, first appearing in the Ayurvedic literature of India over 3,000 years ago. More recently the spice has been used in studies as an aid to reduce blood pressure in patients. It has also been shown to be viable as a preventative measure for skin cancer in mice in a 2012 study

The findings will be presented at the American Society for Investigative Pathology annual meeting.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: You can find out more about the American Cancer Society, which helps fund cancer research and spread awareness of the prevalence of the disease. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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