Food Condiment Turmeric

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A potential cure for a form of leukaemia has been discovered in the common betal leaf by scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB) in Kolkata (India). Known as 'paan' the leaf is widely chewed as an aid to digestion. The compound, known as chlorogenic acid, found in the leaves of the betel plant (piper betel) kills cancerous cells in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), but leaves non-cancerous cells unharmed. CML attacks white blood cells.

Experiments are reported to have been conducted using the compound on cancer cells obtained from Europe, Japan, and the United States. Later, blood cells from patients with chronic leukaemia were treated with chlorogenic acid. It is found that in all these studies, cancerous cells were totally destroyed. Studies on live mice also showed the same results. IICB has further taken up the matter with Indian Council for Medical Research about clinical trials on humans. If proved effective, the discovery will have good potential for treatment of disease specially in poorer countries, as betel plants grow abundantly in South Asia.


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