... and other natural remedies

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The Independent Online
Plants and herbs being examined for their anti-cancer properties.

Starflower: Also known as borage used for breast and skin cancer. Studies have shown extract of starflower prolongs survival in colonic cancer.

Bryozoan: Sponge-like creature found in the sea from which the drug bryostatin is derived. Interferes with the way cancer cells communicate, stopping their growth. Safety studies beginning in lymphoma, ovarian and kidney cancer.

Madagascar periwinkle: Source of vinca alkaloids which are a key ingredient in modern chemotherapy . Effective against childhood cancers, especially leuk-aemias and Hodgkin's disease.

Coix seeds: Also known as Chinese pearl barley used as herbal remedy. Researchers at the Paterson Institute, Manchester, are isolating the active ingredients to investigate their potential against cancer.

Mayapple: Used as a cancer treatment according to native American folklore. Semi-synthetic derivatives, such as etoposide, used in treatment of cancer.

Seaweed: Researchers noticed sharks and other sea creatures do not get cancer. Marine algae are very ancient with a unique biochemistry, yielding substances which can in some cases stop tumours growing.

Pacific Yew Tree: Source of the proprietary drug Taxol, licensed in the last year for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer.