Can regular intake of a herbal preparation made predominately with scent leaf and bitter leaf stop the growth of breast, lung and prostate cancers? Researchers have found that using scent leaf or sweet basil and bitter leaf in combination or singly could stop the growth of breast, lung and prostate cancers. They have also found that aqueous
extract of bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) could be used as adjuvant in the management of people living with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); and for restoration of skin colour and form as well as calming and vitalizing the body. Botanically called Vernonia amygdalina, bitter leaf is of the plant family Compositae. It is called ewuro in Yoruba and onugbu in Ibo. It is a small shrub that grows predominantly in the tropical Africa. In Nigeria, the plant is locally called bitter leaf due to its bitter taste. Botanically called Ocimum gratissimum, scent leaf or Basil belongs to the mint family Lameacea.
It is called effirin in Yoruba and nchuanwu or arigbe in Ibo. Vernonia amygdalina and Ocimum gratissimum are among the traditionally used herbal plants to treat different ailments. Vernonia amygdalina has been found useful in the ethno therapy of asthma, schistosomiasis, malaria, measles, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, abdominal pain and fever. Ocimum gratissimum is commonly used in cooking due to its minty aromatic flavour. Traditionally, Ocimum gratissimum has been used for the treatment of headache, diarrhoea, wart worms and kidney infections. The leaves of the African varieties of Ocimum gratissimum are said to contain thymol oil, which has been found to be highly antiseptic and also used to prevent mosquito bite.
Vernonia amygdalina and Ocimum gratissimum have been found to have anti-diabetic properties and boost the immune system. As one of the plants that form a major portion of the naturalist’s pharmacopeia in Nigeria, bitter leaf has been shown to possess diverse therapeutic effects such as anti-malarial, anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-plasmodial, among others), anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects.
The anti-cancer effect of VA was first shown in human carcinoma of nasopharynx and later in leukemia cells P-388 and L-1210 using the chloroform extract of VA. Different extracts of VA have thus been used in scientific research to reveal the therapeutic properties of this plant. Meanwhile, a new study has found that scent leaf stops breast cancer. The study titled “Ocimum gratissimum retards breast cancer growth and progression and is a natural inhibitor of matrix metalloproteases” was published in Cancer Biology and Therapy journal. The researchers wrote: “Ocimum genus (a.k.a holy basil or tulsi) is a dietary herb used for its multiple beneficial pharmacologic properties including anti-cancer activity.
Here we show that crude extract of Ocimum gratissimum (OG) and its hydrophobic and hydrophilic fractions (HB and HL) differentially inhibit breast cancer cell chemotaxis and chemoinvasion in vitro and retard tumor growth and temporal progression of MCF10ADCIS.com xenografts, a model of human breast comedo-ductal carcinoma in situ (comedo-DCIS). Also, a Nigerian born Professor of Biology, Ernest Izevbigie has patented a formula made from bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina).
This bitter leaf-based formula is a proven anti-diabetic and anti-cancer formula in laboratory and clinical trials. This formula product can also benefit HIV/AIDS patients. It has been patented: U.S. Patent 6,713,098 in 2004 and the second 6,848,604 in 2005. Izevbigie said: “We found that in using the plant material (from Vernonia amygdalina), some compounds from the extracts were able to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Later through collaborative research, we found they were also effective in other tumor cells.”
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He explained that evidence from cell culture and animal studies research and reports from individuals reveal that bitter leaf formula supplement may abate or improve the health conditions or symptoms of HIV/AIDS patients including abrosia (wasting away), nausea and vomiting, compromised immune systems etc. Bitter leaf supplement-induced stimulation of the immune system offers hope to many suffering with AIDS . diseases.
The professor further explained that available data shows that bitter leaf extracts might be effective against herpes virus, and against Kaposi sarcomas (KS), a tumour caused by Human herpes virus 8 (HHV8). Some of the principal chemical compounds found in the bitter leaf herb are known as steroid glycosides – type vernonioside B1. These compounds possess potent anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial effects. Intercedd Health Products (IHP) is blazing the trail with the introduction of Vernonia Ocimum Tea into the Nigerian market.
Vernonia Ocimum Tea is made from Vernonia amaygdalina and Ocimum gratissimum. The indication on the product reads: “Vernonia amaygdalina is a shrub that grows in tropical Africa. It is commonly called bitter leaf because of its bitter taste. The bitterness is as a result of the presence of the sesquiterpenes lactones and steroid glycosides, which are responsible for the activity.
“Ocimum gratissimum, Scent Leaf, is rich in alkaloids, tannins; ﬂavonoid, phytates and oligosaccharides which are responsible for its medicinal properties. Vernonia Ocimum tea has immense health beneﬁts such as body weight management, easy bowel evacuation, cleansing of the body system and control of body sugar.” IHP has also developed another immune booster, Immunovit IHP.
According to the developer and professor of pharmacognosy, Maurice Iwu, Immunovit-IHP a disease-fighting supplement, designed to boost immunity against a wide variety of ailments, was crafted to combine the health restoring benefits of Ganoderma mushroom, the antioxidant properties of pomegranate fruits and the adaptogenic/immune enhancing effects of Korean ginseng root extract.