Although the Western world doesn’t always embrace holistic healing as a general rule, one Texas researcher is doing just that. Michael Wargovich, a molecular medicine professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and his staff are currently doing research on plants, fruits and vegetables and their effects on the body in relation to cancer. Not only is his team researching the cancer-preventing properties of a variety of naturally growing plants, but he is also investigating their ability to potentially treat cancer or the side effects caused by traditional cancer therapies.
Since undetectable inflammation within the body sets up the perfect recipe for infections, cancers, and other illnesses to harvest, one of Wargovich and his team’s projects is investigating plants with known anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is one such plant, featuring anti-inflammatory compounds that Wargovich believes could not only aid in the prevention of cancer, but also help inhibit the growth of existing cancer cells.
Dr. Wargovich was quoted on MySanAntonio.com comparing cancer cells to a car without brakes, saying that a cancerous cell not only will “break the brakes, it breaks the cables. It breaks the steering wheel. Anything that can put a regulation on a tumor cell is broken by a tumor cell. Some of these natural products put the brakes back on.”
He believes green tea will likely prove to be one such natural product.
Another naturally-growing plant that Wargovich and his researchers are investigating is the neem tree, a plant native to India that not only has preventative antioxidant properties similar to green tea, but also shows promise in being used as a treatment for ailments, such as the side effects of traditional chemotherapy cancer treatments. The team is planning a study that will take place in South Carolina on whether a neem-based mouthwash can help to soothe the painful inflammation of the mouth that occurs when patients begin therapy to treat for head and neck cancers. Currently, the only options available for patients suffering from this side effect are narcotics or ice chips to help reduce pain and swelling.
The use of natural products for the treatment and prevention of ailments is nothing new, but our ever-changing diets and lifestyles are steadily eliminating these healthy properties. While this has been an ongoing issue in the Western world for decades, other parts of the world are beginning to live similar lifestyles. As Wargovich said,
“They’re giving up their traditional diets. The things that we’ve found are protecting us against cancer are disappearing as everybody tries to be homogenized and Western and going to fast-food places.”
Not only is the Texas team of researchers investigating the use of plants in treatments and prevention, but they will also do research on fruits and vegetables and the potential effect on the body of their healthy properties. If the results are as Wargovich hopes, it is possible that the Western view on healthy eating and holistic healing may forever be changed.