Kencur is a root of the ginger family, which contains a special compound that appears to be able to suppress the growth of cancer cells. This could open up new therapeutic options against cancer.
A new study involving experts from Osaka Metropolitan University (OMU) in Japan examined how the main active ingredient (ethyl p-methoxycinnamate) in Kencur (Kaempferia galanga L.) extract inhibits the proliferation of so-called Ehrlich ascites tumor cells (EATC) inhibits. The results have been published in the journal Heliyon.
What is kencur?
The fresh root of the kencur is used as an aromatic spice in various dishes, especially in Indonesia. The tuber is also considered a soothing herbal remedy for an upset stomach. In this country, Kencur is also known as the spice lily.
However, according to the new research, Kencur can do much more than just improve the taste of food or reduce stomach upset.
How can Kencur inhibit cancer?
The main component of Kencur extract is something called ethyl p-methoxycinnamate, and previous research has suggested its anti-cancer potential. However, the exact mechanism has so far remained unclear.
The new study has now found that ethyl p-methoxycinnamate not only inhibits the proliferation of Ehrlich ascites tumor cells, but also down-regulates cyclin D1 and up-regulates the p21 protein.
The team also reported that mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) expression was reduced, but mitochondrial DNA copy number and membrane potential did not change significantly.
Inhibits cancer cell growth
Both in studies on cell cultures and in studies on mice, kencur extract and its main active component, ethyl p-methoxycinnamate, significantly suppressed the growth of cancer cells.
The study thus confirms the anti-cancer effect of kencur extract and its main active ingredient, emphasizes study author Professor Akiko Kojima in a press release. There is also hope that the mitochondrial transcription factor A can be used as a new marker for anti-cancer effects in the future. (as)