Bitter Melon Can Kill Breast Cancer Cells

A study conducted at Saint Louis University suggests that a vegetable used in Oriental and Indian medicine to treat ailments such as diabetes can also be quite effective in killing breast cancer cells. A vegetable known as bitter melon, which is common both as food and as an herbal remedy in many parts of Asia as well as India, appears to also have the ability to destroy breast cancer cells.

Bitter melon, also known as African cucumber, bitter gourd and balsam pear, is a widely used vegetable in many parts of Asia, India as well as Africa and the Caribbean. It resembles a shriveled cucumber or gourd and is known to be quite bitter in taste, hence its name. This vegetable is also known to be rich in vitamin C, B complex vitamins, as well as high in fiber and rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc.

According to Ratna Ray, Ph.D., and professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University, an extract from the vegetable also appears to kill breast cancer cells and even prevent them from multiplying.

In a statement issued by Prof. Ray, she said, To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter melon extract on cancer cells. Our result was encouraging. We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.

The study involved using extracts derived directly from the bitter gourd and used human breast cancer cells in a controlled laboratory setting. The mechanism of the bitter melon extract significantly reduced the cell growth and division of the cancer cells and even induced death of the said cells. The next step in the study would involve testing the extract on animals which should be conducted within several months. The results of the study would be published on the March issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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