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Polysaccharides from medicinal herbs demonstrate antioxidant and anti-tumor properties
A study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine examined the antioxidant and antitumor properties of polysaccharides from medicinal plants. This study was carried out by researchers from Jinan University and Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital in China.
Oxidative stress has been increasingly recognized as the main contributing factor in the development of diseases, from inflammation to cancer.
Emerging evidence suggests that antioxidant therapy can play a key role in treating those diseases.
Polysaccharides from plants are potential resources for therapy as they are natural antioxidant compounds important for human health; they are used in traditional medicine, widely available, and have few side effects upon consumption.
Laboratory and clinical studies have shown that plant polysaccharides possess antioxidant, anti-inflammation, cell viability promotion, immune-regulation, and antitumor effects in numerous disease models.
In this study, the researchers examined medicinal plants: Matrimony vine (Lycium barbarum), ginseng (Panax ginseng), jujube (Zizyphus Jujuba), freckled milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus), and Ginkgo biloba.
These plant polysaccharides have been found to have great potential to fight oxidative stress and cancer-related disorders in cell models, animal disease models, and clinical cases.
These polysaccharides treat oxidative stress and cancer through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-centered pathways and transcription factor-related pathways with or without the further involvement of inflammatory and death receptor pathways.
Some of the polysaccharides may also influence tumorigenic pathway to play their anti-tumor roles.
In sum, the researchers concluded that plant polysaccharides exhibit their anti-tumor and antioxidant effects through ROS-centered pathways, transcription factor-related pathways, and sometimes, tumorigenic pathway.