The US scientists have found a chemical in pepper plant, known as long pepper, contains anti-cancer properties that may significantly contribute in preventing the disease.
The researchers revealed that the secret lies in a chemical named Piperlongumine (PL) has shown action against different form of cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, leukemia, colon, lymphoma, gastric cancer and primary brain tumors.
They created molecular structures by using X-Ray crystallography, which showed the transformation of chemical after being ingested.
The PL changes to HPL, a drug that silences a gene known as GSTP1, which creates a detoxification enzyme that founds overly abundant in tumours.
Dr. Kenneth Westover from the University of Texas’s Southwestern Medical Centre said, “We are hopeful that our structure will enable additional drug development efforts to improve the potency of PL for use in a wide range of cancer therapies.”
“This research is a spectacular demonstration of the power of x-ray crystallography,” he added.
Long pepper, which is commonly originated in India and known to have anti-cancer properties, is used as a spice for cooking Indian, Malaysian, North American, and Indonesian foods.
“The study illustrates the importance of examining and re-examining our theories. In this case we learned something fundamentally new about a 3,000-year-old medical claim using modern science.”
“Pippali is an important drug in Ayurveda. It is one of the ingredients of Trikatu, the three pungents. It is used in digestive disorders, respiratory disorders and also for diseases of the liver,” said Dr. Ram Manohar from Amrita School of Ayurveda in Kerala.
“But the most important finding about Pippali in Ayurveda is said to be a powerful Rasayana. Substances that have Rasayana property can work as immunomodulators, help in regeneration of cells and organs and also can work at the level of the genes,” he further added.
Dr. Manohar described that Pippali as a Rasayana has been considered quite effective for treating “chronic and debilitating diseases of the lungs and liver including cancer in clinical practice.”
In order to gain such benefits, Pippali, which contain anti-cancer properties, needs to be administered as a Rasayana. Also, some precautions have to be taken to help the body to endure the strong action of the medicine. This process is called “Vardhamana Pippali Rasayana.”
“Pippali is administered in small dose, which is gradually increased to a specific dosage and then reduced and tapered,” Dr. Manohar added.