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Cuachalalate, a medicinal plant with anti-cancer properties

Cuachalalate, a medicinal plant with anti-cancer properties

Cuachalalate, one of the most common trees in Mexico, is one of the oldest medicinal plants in this country. Over the last few years, the National Autonomous University of Mexico –UNAM– has been dedicated to conducting studies on its multiple health benefits; for example:

- It is ideal to reduce fever, fever and gangrene;

- reduces the symptoms of circulatory problems, as it helps to heal varicose veins and varicose ulcers;

- the bark of the tree hardens your gums, relieving fires and mouth ulcers;

- decrease urinary discomfort and kidney problems;

- Helps heal wounds, especially for skin conditions, pimples or deep wounds;

- Relieves inflammation of the stomach, chronic gastritis and gastric ulcer.

Now, a recent study by the UNAM confirms that the presence of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds in the cuachalalate plant. According to the group of scientists from the Department of Natural Products of the Institute of Chemistry of the house of studies, cuachalalate is capable of inoculating human cancer cells in rodents in a less toxic and more effective way than conventional anticancer drugs.

For Mario Martínez Vázquez, leader of the research, he stated that they already have the necessary preclinical tests to begin working with people. In the words of the researcher, "we saw that our compounds make tumor growth slow, with the additional advantage of having low toxicity." These plants contain high levels of triterpenes, anti-inflammatory substances and with an enormous capacity to inhibit the proliferation of human cancer cells.

The researchers began to study pure substances obtained from cuachalalate, and thus obtained "a series of derivatives in which we look for the fundamental parts of the molecule and choose the most active compound." Then they applied to animals with transplants of human cancers or other tissues –xenographic models– and compared the plant compounds with drugs, such as cisplatin, and that is how they found the effectiveness of both substances. Cuachalalate was found to have the same potency to reduce tumor growth: We know that our compounds preferentially attack two enzymes: AKT and NF-kappa, both of which are over-expressed in different cancers. We work mainly with AKT because it manifests itself clearly in two common types of cancer: prostate and breast.

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