Plants against cancer: Eighteen 100% natural phytochemicals that prevent and treat cancers


    by Olivia Cook, Natural News:

    (Natural News) Cancer chemoprevention with natural phytochemical compounds is an emerging strategy to prevent, impede, delay or cure cancer. Below are 18 phytochemicals, or compounds, produced by plants that scientists believe can protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer, as studied in the research article published in Anti-cancer Agents in Medical Chemistry.

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    Apigenin is a flavone present in vegetables, such as parsley, celery, chamomile and the Egyptian plant Moringa peregrina.

    In a study published in Cell and Bioscience, apigenin was reported to suppress various human cancers in vitro and in vivo by multiple biological effects, such as triggering cell apoptosis and autophagy, inducing cell cycle arrest, suppressing cell migration and invasion and stimulating an immune response.


    Crocetin is a kind of diterpenoid natural carotenoid found in plants, such as saffron.

    A study published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology found that crocetin affects the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting nucleic acid synthesis, enhancing the anti-oxidative system, inducing apoptosis and hindering growth signaling pathways. (Related: 9 Anti-cancer foods you cannot ignore.)


    Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the major component of the popular Indian spice turmeric. Its anti-cancer effects have been studied for brain tumors, breast cancer, colon cancer and lung metastases.

    A study published in BMC Cancer found that curcumin inhibits angiogenesis in some tumors by suppressing angiogenic cytokines. Due to the strong relationship between inflammation and cancer, the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin would well result in its anti-tumor effects.


    Cyanidin is an extract of pigment from red berries, such as apples, blackberries, cranberries, grapes, plums, raspberries, red cabbage and red onion.

    A study published in Chemical Biology & Drug Design found that cyanidin produces its effects against cancer by inhibiting [RAS (reticular activating system) and MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)] and activating (caspases-3 and P-38) innovative molecular pathways. It may cause cell cycle arrest, cell differentiation processes and changes in redox status, which trigger the cytotoxic chemotherapeutic effects.

    Diindolylmethane (DIM)/Indole-3-carbinol (I3C)

    I3C is found in Brassica vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens. DIM is a digestion derivative of I3C via condensation formed in the acidic environment of the stomach.

    In a study published in F1000 Research, researchers implicated I3C and DIM in the induction of phase 1 detoxification enzymes, which can result in the breakdown of other dietary carcinogens. Both in situ and in vivo studies point to a role for I3C as a chemoprotective agent in breast and prostate cancer.

    Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

    EGCG is the most abundant catechin compound in green tea. A study published in Scientific Reports suggested that EGCG can strongly engender apoptosis and inhibit growth in several types of cancers, including brain, breast, colon and kidney cancers, as well as leukemia, as demonstrated by in vivo and in vitro research.


    Fisetin is a flavone found in various plants, such as apple, Acacia berlandieriAcacia greggii, cucumber, Eurasian smoke tree, grape, onion, parrot tree, persimmon and strawberries.

    In a study published in Food Science & Nutrition, fisetin as a polyphenol with pleiotropic pharmacological properties was found to prevent progression in cell cycle and cell growth and induce apoptosis.


    Genistein is an isoflavone that originates from a number of plants, such as coffee, fava beans, Flamingo vestita, kudzu, lupine, psoralea, soybeans.

    A study published in Advances in Nutrition indicated that genistein acts as a chemotherapeutic agent against different types of cancer, mainly by altering apoptosis, the cell cycle and angiogenesis and inhibiting metastasis.


    Gingerol is the active component of fresh ginger with a distinctive spiciness. The anti-cancer activities of ginger against colorectal cancer have been well documented with its active component gingerol inhibiting the growth and proliferation of colorectal cancer cells.

    In a study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice, 6-gingerol inhibited the growth of colon cancer HCT116 cells.


    Kaempferol is a natural flavonol isolated from apples, broccoli, Brussels sprout, grapefruit, tea, Witchhazel and others.

    A study published in Molecules indicated that kaempferol exerts its anti-cancer activity by preventing cell migration and invasion, inhibiting MMP-3 protein, downregulating AKT phosphorylation and increasing the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activity.


    Lycopene is a bright red pigment and phytochemical from red carrots, red papayas, tomatoes and watermelons.

    A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences indicated that lycopene quenches singlet oxygen, scavenges free radicals and prevents the oxidative damage of DNA – preventing the potential transformation of normal cells to cancer cells.

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