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The Secret Cancer-Fighting Power of Cardamom, A Common Spice

| Super User | Contour

The spice is a natural anti-estrogen and may prove to be more effective than the popular drug.

A popular spice used by cooks in cultures around the world, Cardamom is becoming known as a powerful agent in a whole different area -- medicine. We now know this fragrant fighter contains substances that may help defeat an extremely deadly form of breast cancer.

Florida A&M University researcher Patricia Mendonca says cardamonin that — one compound found in cardamom spice and other plants - is being examined as a potential cancer treatment. In lab experiments, it has been seen to destroy triple-negative breast cancer cells and target a specific gene that helps cancers avoid the immune system.

Why Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Can Be Difficult To Treat

Between 10-15% of breast cancers are triple-negative, meaning that patients do not have receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2. These patients also produce little to none of these substances, which makes it very difficult to treat their tumors. With no receptors, they don't respond to medications that target them.

On top of that, triple-negative breast cancer is much more aggressive. Since those patients are difficult to treat, many more of them die.

What role does cardamonin play?

Researchers tested how the spice constituent influenced the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) gene in triple-negative tumor cells using cells from both Caucasian and African American women. PD-L1 is overactive in breast cancer patients, allowing the illness to circumvent the human immune system.

Cardamonin therapies reduced the capacity of cancer cells to survive in both Caucasian and African American cell lines, according to the findings. The effect of cardamonin was also affected by the dose utilized by the researchers.

Cardamonin therapies were also shown to suppress the expression of the PD-L1 gene in cancer cells from Caucasian women, according to Mendonca's study. Sadly, the same did not happen with African American cell samples.

However, these findings have opened the door to further research into natural therapies that may supplement, enhance or even replace traditional therapies that are not producing the level of results patients need against triple-negative breast cancer. Cardamom may not, in itself, be the complete answer, but it may be the gateway to discovering nature's cure for this devastating disease.