There has been a large amount of evidence showing that inflammation and cancer are strongly related. As a result, anti-inflammatory agents have been investigated for cancer prevention and treatment, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine contains a wide range of biologically active substances, such as alkaloid, polysaccharides, quinones, and more. Several active ingredients in this medicine have been reported to inhibit inflammation, activate inflammatory immune response, and/or inhibit cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth.
Researchers from the College of Pharmacy in Ji Nan University examined the main components of traditional Chinese medicine. Multiple mechanisms of pathways of active ingredients in Chinese medicine were studied. The researchers reported thirteen active ingredients that showed anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects, and identified seven classes of ingredients that possibly have anti-inflammatory and anticancer mechanisms. Many ingredients have exhibited effects in suppressing inflammation, preventing tumorigenesis, and controlling tumor growth. However, the target inflammatory factors and the appropriate dosing for control inflammation and strengthen immune surveillance are still unclear.
The research on anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor functions of traditional Chinese medicine compounds is limited to only individual chemical constituents. However, traditional medicine has a combination of many active ingredients that can have synergistic effects. Therefore, researchers believe that future studies should examine whether and how synergistic, additive, and antagonistic effects of multiple ingredients of traditional medicine contribute to the anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor functions.
Since I have limited knowledge about traditional Chinese medicine, I find it fascinating that there are multiple active ingredients that can have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor functions. I have personally used traditional Chinese medication when I was experiencing a common cold, and it helped relieve my symptoms. Thus, I think it is a great idea to study how these traditional medications work, because there are many benefits associated with these medicines. Many Chinese people rely on these traditional medicines, but in the United States it is uncommon to see traditional Chinese medicine sold.
Do you think it is important to research natural medications? Why or why not? Also, if the use of traditional Chinese medicines became more well-known, do you think this treatment will have a large impact in the United States?