Only about 2 percent of cancer cases are liver cancer. But only about one-fifth of patients diagnosed with liver cancer live one year past diagnosis—making it one of the most deadly forms. Promising new research from the College of Pharmacy of Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University, however, suggests the key to stopping at least one kind of liver cancer could be found within the leaves and branches of the Red Spurge tree.
This red-leaved tress is grown in hot tropical regions and is even cultivated in the Southern United States. It flourishes in full sun or partial shade and grow to around 10 feet tall.
In their analysis, scientists found several things worth noting. First, the plant contains 17 different polyphenols including two not found before. Also, when the plant’s compounds were extracted they found them to be “significant antioxidants”, according to Naturopath Case Adams. Finally, and most notably, the extracts from the plant were found to inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells, those from hepatocellular carcinoma to be specific.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the leading type of liver cancer. It is common when the liver has been damaged through hepatitis, alcohol use, the overuse of prescription drugs, and compounds like herbicides and vinyl chloride. In addition, people with Type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of this type of cancer.
According to the National Institutes of Health, liver cancer occurs more in men than in women and is usually seen in people over the age of 50.
Could this research prove useful in the fight against liver cancer? Most definitely—but it would be helpful if money was spent on holistic uses of the extracts rather than spent on turning it into a Big Pharma money-maker. And as the healing power of natural plants such as the Reg Spurge Tree or Sterculia foetida, which has been shown to help combat belly fat and diabetes, becomes discovered, the chance these plants are handled by the pharmaceutical industry goes up.
Frequently, that’s exactly what happens. Initial studies indicate a plant’s potential ability to fight disease and the pharmaceutical companies swoop in to research, patent, and develop an often-habit-forming, toxin including, pharmaceutical that mimics the extracts without actually using the plant directly.
So, rather than a natural remedy, we end up with another pill. And if they do their work “correctly”, the giant companies patent the useful compounds they find—preventing other, more compassionate healers from using or producing any sort of natural health remedy.
But regardless of what the pharmaceutical company could do with such a solution, it’s good to know that the use of this tree could help to prevent, slow the growth of, or potentially treat cases of live cancer.