A plant that gave ancient Britons and Celts their blue war paint has been found to be a rich source of the anti-cancer compound, glucobrassicin.
|Braveheart knew a thing or two about cancer prevention|
The compound – found to be effective against breast cancer – was obtained from Woad, a member of the Brassicaceae family.
The research team found that the plant contains twenty times more glucobrassicin than its relative, broccoli, which they enhanced to nearly 65 times using various treatments. “When leaves are damaged, for example, by insects, glucobrassicin is released as a defence mechanism. Its derivatives can kill some plant pests, and also appear to have anti-tumoral properties, and are particularly effective against breast cancer.” Explained Dr Galletti, head of the research team from the University of Bologna, Italy.
Glucobrassicin has shown an active role in flushing out cancer-causing chemicals including derivatives of oestrogen. Women with higher levels of this hormone are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
There have been many reports on the health benefits of broccoli and other commonly consumed vegetables from the same family. However, it has been difficult to extract enough of the broccoli compound to carry out extensive tests. Galletti’s team hope that by using this cheap, rich source, in depth research can be carried out to study how this compound acts in the body.