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The anticancer effect of lemon balm

Hundreds of years ago European traditional healers suspected that frequent use of lemon balm [Melissa officinalis] made people live longer and remain disease-free at the same time. This idea was not at all unlikely, we think after reading an animal study that Turkish researchers from Cumhuriyet University published in 2012. According to that research, lemon balm inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

The researchers injected rats with the carcinogenic substance 7,12-dimethylbenz-(a)-anthracene [DMBA] in their breast region. The researchers then waited for the rats to develop a tumor. If that tumor was 250 cubic millimeters, then the researchers used them for their experiment.

Half of the rats was given a dose of a water-based lemon balm extract daily via the oral route. If the rats had been 80-kilogram humans, they would have received 1120 milligrams of extract daily.

In the animals given lemon balm, the tumors grew less rapidly than in the animals in the control group.

The anticancer effect of lemon balm

In the tumors of the rats given lemon balm, the researchers found less of the Ki-67 protein than in the tumors of the animals in the control group. Ki-67 is a marker of the cell growth and cell division.

Lemon balm also increased the activity of the caspase-7 enzyme. Caspase-7 causes derailed cells to commit suicide. It is therefore not surprising that the researchers found more dead cells in the tumors of the rats in the experimental group than in the tumors of the control group.

The anticancer effect of lemon balm

The anticancer effect of lemon balm

In petri dishes, the researchers tested the extract on 3 different types of breast cancer cells: estradiol-sensitive MCF-7 cells and triple negative MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells. The extract was deadly for all cell types.

"These results showed that natural Melissa officinalis extract may constitute a potential antitumor compound against breast cancer", summarize the researchers.

"Experiments are necessary to identify which of the components are responsible for these activities."

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(6):2765-70.

Lemon balm kills cancer cells 29.05.2016

Cancer Prevention
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