Studies have shown that the components of three endemic plants found only in Mauritius have proved to halt the growth of cancer cells in the oesophagus. This muscular tube carries food from your throat to your stomach and is responsible for the digestion.
The leaves of three herbs, bearing the scientific names; Acalypha Integrifolia, Eugenia Tinifolia and Labourdonnaisia Glauca, contain the compounds that stop cancer cells from growing. In a landmark study that focuses on nature’s ability to cure the planet’s worst afflictions, Mauritius is at the forefront of this research.
Acalypha integrifolia is a leafy green plant that has been used to treat intestinal worms and Eugenia tinifolia is a perennial tree that has been used to treat kidney stones and inflammation in the urinary tract.
Three of the five active substances found in the plant species were shown to slow down the spread of esophageal cancer.
Mauritius’ endemic plants and fauna have increasingly garnered the attention of researchers and a one-time President, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has published a book expounding on the various medicinal plants of Mauritius.
Oesophageal cancer is on the rise globally, as a direct result of our eating habits and the normalized consumption of alcohol. Smoking and obesity can also increase the risk of this type of cancer. In spite of widespread progress in the realm of cancer-curing medicine, oesophageal cancer cannot be treated.
Oesophageal cancer is one of the most painful types of cancer and treatment can only prolong a patient’s life by a few months. It’s the sixth most deadly cancer worldwide.
On average, people with this disease, that prevents eating and digestion, live less than a year. Only three patients in every 20 live five years after the initial cancer diagnosis. This type of cancer is treated with broad-spectrum chemotherapy, which is rarely successful.
The lead scientist of the research Dr Alexander Kagansky commented:
Mauritius is a treasure island of global biodiversity and the story of continuing tragedy of human greed, barbarian appetite and neglection of true wonders of the planet designed to save human lives.
About one-third of local plants are used in traditional medicine but there is still a lack of scientific evidence of their therapeutic potential.
Genocide of nature is most evident on such small pieces of lost paradise. To date, only 15 per cent of the island’s plant species have been examined for their medicinal properties, which is still better than in many countries.
Ethnobotany combined with modern organic chemistry and cell biology is an extremely fruitful interdisciplinary field for scientific research. We hope to proceed working in this direction, thanks to the growing globally Bio2bio movement supported by the Global Young Academy.
In particular, further study of the active compounds from the leaf extracts of A. integrifolia, E. tinifolia and L. Glauca promises to reveal prototypes of the future drugs to treat oesophageal cancer and other deadly diseases.
Our research should serve the benefit of humanity and show how we all depended on natural chemistries on the mechanistic level, which will reward us by reducing deaths and suffering of ourselves, our parents, and children.
Dr Kagansky of the Far Eastern Federal University in Russia warns that the total number of medicinal plants found in Mauritius is dwindling due to human activities such as deforestation and so forth.
The species could become extinct as more deforestation is allowed to occur for the construction of 5-star hotels and golf courses.
The research was published in the journal Acta Naturae.