Posted on Nov 25, 2018, 9 p.m.
Saffron is an often overlooked spice that may just be used more often as research shows that it can attack cancer cells on multiple fronts, at every stage of the disease.
Saffron has potent anti-inflammatory effects which are a big reason as to why it has performed so well in cell and animal studies as a cancer treatment; inflammation play key roles in cancer development.
Saffron contains safranal, crocin, and crocetin carotenoids that help to stop cancer from forming. These antioxidant plant pigments have been shown in animal and cells studies to inhibit triggers for the carcinogenic process, including free radical oxidative damage, viruses, environmental toxins, radiation, and inflammation. This is done by actively protecting cell DNA from damage and mutation stopping cancer from growing. Saffron extract when taken orally has been shown in animal studies to prevent tumors from forming prior to exposure to carcinogens.
Tumors are not able to survive without nutrients, blood, and oxygen, safranal, crocin, and crocetin carotenoids suppress the process used by tumors to create new blood vessels. Saffron is believed to be able to reverse cancer growth by a studies showing the crocetin content can cause pancreatic tumors to regress.
Matrix metalloproteinase is used by cancer cells to destroy the protein matrix found between cells in healthy tissue. Crocetin can stop breast cancer cells from producing MMP minimizing their invasiveness and stopping them from progressing to surrounding healthy tissues; and reduces levels of gelatinase enzymes that are important to tumor progression and invasiveness.
Cancer cells can grow unchecked as they are invulnerable to programmed cell death that would normally regulate the growth of cells, antioxidants within saffron can reverse this process by prompting harmful cancer cells to commit suicide. This effect has been observed in some of the more aggressive cancers such as liver, lung, and stomach cancers such as the study published in Hepatology demonstrating saffron caused cell death and blocked inflammation in liver cancer.
Replacing profitable mainstream treatments such as chemotherapy with natural ingredients will be an uphill battle, in the meantime saffron can be used alongside of such treatments to help minimize its damage and negative side effects. A study published in Human and Experimental Toxicology showed mice given saffron for 5 days before receiving 3 anti-tumor drugs had significantly less DNA damage due to the saffron preventing fragile DNA strands from breaking.
It does give pause to wonder how many lives might be bettered or even saved if findings such as these are used to develop safer alternatives to chemotherapy.
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