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Herbal Cascara Sagrada, the Potential Anti Cancer Functional Remedy

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By Kyle J. Norton

Cascara sagrada bioactive compound Emodin may process a potential effect as an adjunct therapy for treatment of various types of cancers, some studies found.

Cancer is the class of medical and chronic diseases associated with the alternation of cell DNA that causes cells to grow disorderly and uncontrollably.

At the early stage, most cancers start on the surface of the inner lining of the tissue or organs. However, after colonizing most part of the organ, the cancerous cells can travel a distance away from the original site to infect other healthy tissue and organs.

The exact causes of cancers are unknown, Certain risk factors epidemiologically are found to associate with the early onset of the disease, including aging, tobacco, sun exposure, radiation exposure, chemicals, and other substances, some viruses and bacteria, certain hormones, family history of cancer, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity, or being overweight.

However, most people who have some of the above risk factors do not develop cancers.

The symptoms of cancers are totally depending to the location, tissue, and organ, Cancers do not induce symptoms until they grow large enough to push on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves, that connect to the central nervous system.
Most common and general symptoms include fever, extreme tiredness (fatigue), or weight loss.


Cancers required a lot of energy for growth and survival. In order to steal more energy, some cancers secrete chemical substances that allow the growth of new blood vessels to supply them with more nutrients and fluid.

Cascara sagrada is a species of buckthorn, genus Rhamnus, belonging to the family Rhamnaceae, native to western North America,.

The herbal plant’s bark has been used in traditional medicine for gastrointestinal support.

Besides the main compound of anthraquinones, other compounds of Cascara sagrada include anthraquinone glycosides, (emodin, frangulin, iso-emodin, aloe-emodin, and chrysophanol), rhein, aloin, malic acid, tannic acid, cascarosides A, B, C, and D, and hydroxy anthracene derivatives (HAD), etc.

In the study of the anti-cancer activity of Emodin, a major compound isolated from Cascara sagrada, researchers at the Université François-Rabelais de Tours launched an investigation to examine the effect on the adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP)-gated Ca(2+)-permeable channel P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) which is strongly upregulated in many tumors and cancer cells, and has an important role in cancer cell invasion associated with metastases.

Injection of emodin at doses ≤10 µM in cell culture had no or very mild effect on the cell viability on P2X7R. However, at the concentration of 1 and 10 µM emodin inhibited the ATP elicited increases in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration by 35 and 60%.


Furthermore, ATP-induced increase in gelatinolytic activity, in cancer cell invasiveness in vitro and in cell morphology changes were prevented by 1 µM emodin.


Moreover, the in vivo invasiveness of the P2X7R-positive MDA-MB-435s breast cancer cells was also suppressed by 40 and 50% by 1 and 10 µM emodin.

Additionally, in the study to explore a new horizon in the anticancer property of agents with relevance to mitotic arrest, including antimitotic activity of a series of naturally occurring anthracene-derived anthraquinones including anthrone, alizarin (1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinone), quinizarin (1,4-dihydroxyanthraquinone), Rhein (4,5-dihydroxyanthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid), emodin (1,6,8-trihydroxy-3-methylanthraquinone), and aloe emodin (1,8-dihydroxy-3-hydroxymethyl anthraquinone), researchers found that all tested compound inhibited the mitosis after 3, 6, and 24 h, respectively in a dose-dependent manner.


Emodin at 500 ppm was proved to be the most active compound to arrest the mitosis after 24 h second to the alizarin.

Taken altogether, herbal Cascara Sagrada processes high amounts of Emodin may be considered a functional food for prevention and adjunct therapy for treatment of cancers, pending to further data collection large example size and multi-centers studies performed on human.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.
1. Anthraquinone emodin inhibits human cancer cell invasiveness by antagonizing P2X7 receptors.
Jelassi B, Anchelin M, Chamouton J, Cayuela ML, Clarysse L, Li J, Goré J, Jiang LH, Roger S.(PubMed)
2. Evaluation of natural anthracene-derived compounds as antimitotic agents by Badria FA, Ibrahim AS.(PubMed)

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