April 27, 2012

Oregano Kills Prostate Cancer?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- What if one of man's favorite foods could help protect against the second leading cause of cancer death in American men? A recent study suggests that a popular pizza and pasta seasoning herb may be used to treat prostate cancer.

Recent research shows that close to 1 in 36 men will die of prostate cancer. Estimated deaths from this disease in the U.S. in 2012 are 28,170. Common treatment options for patients include surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immune therapy.

The study is testing the ingredient carvacrol, found in oregano. The results demonstrate that the compound induces apoptosis in these cells. Apoptosis is "cell suicide." Study author Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, Ph.D., R.Ph., assistant professor of Pharmacology at LIU's Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is currently trying to understand the signaling pathways that the compound employs to bring about cancer cell suicide.

"We know that oregano possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice like turmeric.

A significant advantage is that oregano is commonly used in food and has a 'Generally Recognized as Safe' status in the US. Some researchers have previously shown that eating pizza may cut down cancer risk. This effect has been mostly attributed to lycopene, a substance found in tomato sauce, but researchers now feel that even the oregano seasoning may play a role.

"If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may represent a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer," Dr. Bavadekar was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, April 2012