Watercress for Cancer Treatment
Watercress can assist in a holistic cancer treatment. Watercress will not cure cancer alone but in combination with other herbs, juices and therapies, watercress will boost cancer treatment effectiveness. Watercress is not just a vegetable containing vitamins and nutrients but it can also be a prevention to other cancers. Watercress contains unique natural compound that can be a treatment to cancers.
Watercress Historic Usage
Watercress considered as one of the super foods. Watercress can be traced more than 3000 years to the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Watercress was fed to their children to improve bodily growth. Watercress was also fed to the soldiers observing that they were in better condition. Watercress became as a part of their diet to keep them healthy during long marches and prevention against scurvy. Watercress has been used as a diuretic and expectorant.
Watercress Health Benefits
Watercress belongs to the family Crucifera along with other vegetables such as cabbage, brocoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale. Watercress contains beta-carotene, host of vitamins (A, C, B1, K and E), iron (contains more than the spinach), magnesium, manganese, zinc, lutein and zeaxathin, a type of carrotenoids that acts as antioxidants.
The high consumption of watercress reduces the utilization of calcium and promotes it’s excretion. Due to its high iodine content, watercress has a strengthening effect on the thyroid gland, thus beneficial for sufferers of hypothyroidism.
Watercress is used for swollen breathing passages in the lung, coughs, bronchitis, flu, and swine flu. Other uses include treating baldness, constipation, parasitic worms, cancer, goiter, polyps, scurvy, and tuberculosis. Watercress is also used to improve appetite and digestion, to enhance sexual arousal,and to kill germs.
Watercress And Breast Cancer
A team was organized by Professor Packham, a molecular oncologist at Winchester and Andover Breast Unit to do a research in understanding the potential health benefits of this crop since it can interfere with the treatment of cancer. He said that the risk factors are important to the key goal on the studies on diet are important part of the research. The study involving a group of breastcancer survivors who underwent a period of fasting. Then the research subjects ate 80g of watercress (about the equivalent of cereal bowl full of the herb). Then blood samples were taken.
Watercress also contains PEITC (phenylethy isothiocynate), a natural plant compound in the vegetable. There was a discovery that PEITC can interfere and “turns off” the ability of HIF (Hypoxia Inducible Factor). HIF is released and sends out signals causing the surrounding normal tissues to grow new blood vessels in to the tumor. PEITC provides oxygen and nutrients. This is a critical role in the development and spread of breast cancer and other cancers. The ITCs (isothiocynates) are precursors to cancer fighting molecules.
The blood tests revealed significant levels of the plant compound PEITC in the blood of the participants following the watercress meal. But, most importantly, the tests showed that the function of the protein HIF was also measurably affected and “turned off”. Watercress is not a cure for cancer but it may well help to prevent the disease,” said Professor Packham. “We carried out this study with a handful of breast cancer survivors but it has the potential to have the same effect with other cancers too.”
Watercress extract is to assess its effects on chemically induced cancer cell invasion in human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-23). Matrix metalloproteinase are enzymes that break down proteins such as collagen found in the extracellular matrix, which acts as a primary barrier to tumor growth and metastasis. Cancer cells can stimulate abnormally high activity of
matrix metalloproteinase (including metalloproteinase-9), which is associated with invasive and metastic potential.
Several herbal writers say that watercress should be eaten in moderation, warning that too much over too long a period of time may cause cystitis or other bladder problems due to its strong diuretic properties.
The appropriate dose of watercress depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for watercress. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
The juice extracted from watercress is one of the best body-cleansers and toxin-neutralizers. Watercress is extremely high in sulphur, which represents more than one third of all its mineral elements and salts.
Watercress Buying, Storing And Preparation
Watercress can be found in pond and marshes. Watercress are abundant so they can be bought at markets or just pick it up at your backyard. Watercress is therefore advisable to only buy small quantities at a time. Trim the stems of the watercress if required then rinse in cold water and dry very well in a salad spinner or on paper towels. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Keeps for up to 4 days. To refresh, discard any bruised or yellow leaves and submerge in iced-water until revitalised. Watercress can be eaten raw or add it up as a soup.
Watercress can mixed with other vegetables as salad but it can be juiced, made as tea and as a supplement. Search for watercress products in Google.
Watercress Research Links
This is groundbreaking research on two fronts, it suggests the anticancer properties of watercress go beyond those attributable to PEITC and, more importantly, the study is the first to demonstrate a direct correlation between eating watercress and reducing one’s susceptibility to cancer.
The key findings of the watercress diet are as follows reduction in DNA damage to lymphocytes (white blood cells) when a sample was challenged with the free radical generating chemical hydrogen peroxide, by 9.4%. Read the other findings here.