A study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine has revealed that medicinal plants including ginkgo biloba, jujube, ginseng, and astragalus have antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.
The mentioned medicinal plants have a history of use in traditional medicine, are commonly available, and are said to not have any adverse effects when consumed. Clinical studies have shown polysaccharides from plants to have antioxidant, anti-inflammation, cell viability promotion, immune regulation, and anti-tumor effects in disease models.
Researchers from Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital and Jinan University investigated the antioxidant and antitumor properties of the polysaccharides from these medicinal plants, and identified the signaling pathways involved in the initiation and progress of diseases that are associated with cancer and oxidative stress.
These plant polysaccharides were found to have potential to fight oxidative stress and cancer related disorders in both animal and cell models as well as in clinical cases. The polysaccharides treat oxidative stress and cancer through ROS centered pathways and transcription factor related pathways with or without further involvement of inflammatory and death receptor pathways; some may also affect tumorigenic pathways to have their antitumor roles.
A review suggesting using polysaccharides as anti-cancer agents published in Carbohydrate Polymers focusing on research within the last 5 years, proposed mechanisms of action, and anti-cancer activity compared to conventional anti-cancer drugs found them to have exhibited good anti-cancer activity across a variety of cancer cell lines that could be used as alternatives to existing chemotherapeutic cancer agents which had selective activity against tumor cells with minimal toxic side effects.
The polysaccharides in the review were isolated from plants, microorganisms, fungi, and marine sources that have been shown to act on cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death, and kills cancer cells via preventing their spread by acting on DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, disruption of mitochondrial membrane, and production of nitric oxide.
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