Aster, a common garden flower in America that blooms in autumn, found to be effective at preventing malignant lip and mouth cancers
01/20/2018 // David Williams // Views

Because of the prevalence of the many different types of cancer, it's always a good idea to consider what kind of alternative treatments are available to you, since it is known that they can also be quite effective. This applies to oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is said to be the sixth most malignant cancer in the world. Based on available data, it results in around 600,000 recorded cases and around 350,000 deaths each year.

Simply put, SCC is a major problem. And although there are conventional treatment methods available for it such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, all of these can have adverse effects on the post-treatment life of patients. Another downside to all of these various treatment options is the fact that cancer cells can turn out to be resistant to therapy, making such efforts futile.

For these reasons, a group of researchers has determined that the development of an alternative therapy for the management of SCC is necessary. Looking at all their possible choices, they ended up focusing on a flowering plant called Aster tataricus, which is said to have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes in China over the last 2,000 years. There is literature to support the idea that phytomedicines like it can possess strong anti-cancer properties, so the use of Aster in their research and experiments just made sense in the search for alternatives.

According to previous studies, the roots of Aster contain a number of different chemical constituents, such as triterpenes, saponins, epifriedelinol, astersaponins, shionone, aster peptides, and caffeoylquinic acids. Its root extract has also been shown in previous research to possess anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and anti-tussive properties. For this new study, the researchers tried to measure the efficacy of its anti-cancer properties specifically on human oral SCC.


To begin conducting their research experiment, the researchers first procured root of Aster through a local supplier and authenticated it through the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development in Beijing, China. Next, they acquired Aster root extract through a process called maceration and kept the dried root in powdered form with ethanol for 72 hours. After that, the ethanol was evaporated from the extract at a low temperature via a Rotavapor apparatus.

After measuring the effect of Aster root extract on cell morphology of SCC cells, they found that it was able to cause the cells to shrink in size. The effect was also found to be dose-dependent, meaning that the more Aster extract administered, the greater the effect on the SCC cells.

Roughly, this means that Aster root extract is clearly effective in the treatment of malignant lip and mouth cancers, and could be used in alternative forms of treatment or therapy in patients. As the paper on the study specifies, treatment with Aster root extract can "significantly decreases cloning ability" of the SCC cells in a dose-dependent manner.

The results of this new study should go a long way to show support for the idea that phytomedicines can be just as effective as other forms of conventional cancer treatment in patients. And the best part is that it's not the only phytomedicine or alternative cancer treatment that has been found to work; it's only one option in a growing list that shows the traditional medicinal approach isn't the only viable option.

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