(NaturalNews) If you need another reason to add more celery into your diet, researchers have now identified a compound in the vegetable that demonstrates anti-tumor activity. Effective against several types of cancer — including those of the pancreas, ovaries, liver, small intestine, stomach, lung and breast — apigenin has been shown in vitro to significantly inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Although this flavonoid is present in a variety of fruits and vegetables, celery is a particularly rich source of the compound.
Research funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and America’s National Cancer Institute isolated apigenin and studied its effect on tumor growth. To begin, the team injected ovarian epithelial cancer cells (OVCAR-3) into the ovaries of test mice. OVCAR-3 cells feature strong tumorigenicity and resistance to chemotherapy. Within four weeks of implantation, all the mice had abdominal tumors.
An oral extract of apigenin was then administered at 75 mg/kg and 150 mg/kg, which respectively represented 0.025 percent and 0.05 percent of the total daily food intake by the mice. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that oral administration of apigenin “inhibited ovarian tumor micrometastasis in liver, lung, small intestine and stomach in different degrees” and offered a “new rationale for apigenin in ovarian cancer prevention and treatment in the future.”
A study in Molecular Cancer had similar findings with pancreatic cancer. The results demonstrated that the compound arrests human pancreatic cancer cell growth in vitro and also “appears to exert its inhibitory effects on cell cycle progression in other cell lines as well.”
A non-toxic treatment for breast cancer
Apigenin inhibits aggressive breast cancer as well. Scientists at the University of Missouri discovered that the compound shrank tumors of the breast which are stimulated by the steroid hormone progestin.
“This is the first study to show that apigenin, which can be extracted from celery, parsley and many other natural sources, is effective against human breast cancer cells that had been influenced by a certain chemical used in hormone replacement therapy,” said co-author Salman Hyder, a professor of tumor angiogenesis and biomedical sciences, in a University of Missouri press release.
Hyder believes that human clinical trials will be difficult, however. “One problem is, because apigenin doesn’t have a known specific target in the cancer cell, funding agencies have been reticent to support the research. Also, since apigenin is easily extracted from plants, pharmaceutical companies don’t stand to profit from the treatment; hence the industry won’t put money into studying something you can grow in your garden.”
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for pharmaceutical companies to move forward — we can turn to Mother Nature instead and simply enjoy the vegetable more often. Even better, savor freshly juiced celery for ultimate bioavailability, disease prevention and benefit. Just make sure that it’s organic, as conventional celery has one of the highest pesticide rates of any vegetable.