In the field of cancer treatment, a number of researchers and clinicians have concluded that we need to start looking at safer forms of treatment, because chemotherapy and radiation are associated with serious side effects, and can even make cancers grow faster and make them more likely to invade surrounding tissues. And once a cancer has spread (metastasized), the chance of curing it with traditional treatments is only 5 percent to 10 percent.
A growing number of natural plant compounds are being discovered to have powerful anticancer benefits, while also being much safer than anticancer drugs. As an added bonus, these natural compounds have also been found to make traditional treatments more effective.
In addition to being rich in iron, ashwagandha contains a number of medically useful compounds, including:
• Alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine)
• Steroidal lactones (withanolide, withaferin, withanoside, withanamide, and withanone)
The parts of the plant with the most powerful effects against cancer are the leaves and the roots. Most commercial products contain only the root extract. Some contain both, but none contain just the leaf extract. This is unfortunate, because the leaf extract appears to be more powerful for fighting cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that both the root and leaf extracts inhibit cancers by a number of mechanisms, such as:
• Interfering with cancer cell replication
• Inhibiting angiogenesis
• Inducing cancer cell programmed death (apoptosis)
• Reducing free radical damage
• Inhibiting cancer cell signaling
• Boosting specific anticancer immunity
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