9 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs for Prostate Health

This is the combination of herbs that inhibits invasion of cancer cells and reduces the ability of cancer to spread to bone cells.

October 20, 2016
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Adapted from The Definitive Guide to Prostate Cancer

Considering the potential of herbs as both as a chemopreventive agent that can be used in men who have chosen active holistic surveillance and as part of an overall plan to prevent recurrence in men who have undergone treatment is one of the best natural forms of prostate cancer prevention and treatment. 

More: The Do's and Don'ts of the Prostate Cancer Diet

Researchers at the University of Texas found that the following combination of herbs (in the form of Zyflamend) inhibits invasion of cancer cells, reduces the ability of cancer to spread to bone cells, and boost apoptosis through anti-inflammatory effects on cells' genetic blueprints. 

Here is the combination to get you started: 

Rosemary leaf extract
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Rosemary leaf extract

150 mg rosemary leaf extract, standardized to 34.5 mg total phenolic antioxidants.

Rosemary, an important flavoring herb in the Mediterranean diet, contains two compounds with special promise for chemoprevention: carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. These compounds are antibacterial and have very strong antioxidant activity. Consuming this herb not only raises antioxidant intake, it also potentiates the body's production of its own antioxidant substances.

Turmeric
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Turmeric extract

110 mg turmeric extract, standardized to 4.5 mg turmerones and 7 mg curcuminoids.

This Asian spice belongs to the same family as the gingerroot. Owing to its anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and digestion-soothing properties, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic (Asian Indian) and Chinese medicine for over 4,000 years to treat a broad variety of health problems, including arthritis, wounds, liver disease, digestive disorders, diabetes, and cancer.  

More: The Best Home Remedies for a Healthy Mouth

Turmeric helps reduce excessive blood clotting and aids in balancing cholesterol counts, which promotes better heart health; it reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics; and some studies even find that it protects the brain against age-related degeneration.

Ginger
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Ginger extract

100 mg ginger extract, standardized to 16.2 mg pungent com- pounds and 4.3 mg zingiberene.

Gingerroot, with its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-infective properties, has been used as a remedy in traditional medicine for thousands of years (try any of these 6 new uses for ginger to incorporate it into your diet). It helps soothe coughs and is one of the best palliatives for motion sickness. Ginger's active compounds—gingerols and shogaols—work as natural COX-2 inhibitors and antioxidants.

Holy basil
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Holy basil extract

100 mg holy basil extract.

Also known as tulsi, tulasi, and Ocimum tenuiflorum, holy basil is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal plant that, like turmeric, has been avidly researched for its chemopreventive potential. Its active components, including eugenol, carvacrol, oleanolic acid, and ursolic acid, inhibit COX-2, act as strong antioxidants, and help reduce blood sugar levels.

Studies demonstrate that holy basil down-regulates growth-promoting processes that otherwise facilitate cancer cell growth. It is antimetastatic, inhibiting cancer cell invasion and adhesion, and it increases cancer cells' susceptibility to death by chemotherapy.

Green tea leaf
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Green tea leaf extract

100 mg green tea leaf extract, standardized to 45 mg polyphenols.

Tea is a rich source of catechins, which belong to a class of medicinal plant compounds called polyphenols. Green tea is the best-known source of the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. Catechins protect against cellular damage caused by oxidative stress and modify several metabolic and cell-signaling pathways that regulate cancer cell growth, spread, and survival. Tea polyphenols have beneficial effects along the whole spectrum of cancer formation, growth, and spread, affecting apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis in ways that aid in chemoprevention.

More: How Oolong Tea Can Reboot Your Health

Green tea polyphenols also appear to directly affect the body's processing of cancer-causing substances, reducing the expression of enzymes that would otherwise interact with carcinogens in ways that make them more carcinogenic. Specific to the prostate, research has shown that green tea administration inhibited the development of cancerous cells from precancerous lesions (such as PIN).

Japanese knotweed
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Hu zhang

80 mg Hu zhang (Polygonum cuspidatum), standardized to 6.4 mg resveratrol.

Hu zhang, also known as Japanese knotweed, is a traditional Chinese herb that happens to be naturally rich in the phytochemical resveratrol—the antioxidant present in red grapes and in red wine.

More: 8 Weeds You Can Eat

Studies demonstrate that resveratrol-rich hu zhang reduces inflammation and oxidative stress through several different mechanisms; in fact, it seems to affect every step of cancer formation and spread—initiation, promotion, and progression—as well as suppressing angiogenesis and metastasis. Resveratrol also blocks the transformation of less harmful catechol estrogens into more carcinogenic quinone estrogens and triggers apoptosis. 

barberry
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Chinese goldthread and barberry

40 mg each Chinese goldthread and barberry, each standardized to contain 2.4 mg berberine.

These two traditional Chinese herbs, both of which have been used medicinally for at least two and a half millennia, are rich sources of a plant chemical called berberine. Berberine inhibits activities in cells' metabolic "engines" (mitochondria) that can promote carcinogenic transformation. It also reduces the expression of the COX-2 enzyme, which means less inflammation.

In test-tube studies of prostate cancer cells, berberine inhibited cell growth by inducing apoptosis. Several other survival schemes mounted by cancer cells are thwarted by berberine, which is a hot subject of research in chemoprevention circles.

Oregano
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Oregano extract

40 mg oregano extract, standardized to 1.6 mg total phenolic antioxidants.

This Mediterranean herb has high antioxidant activity thanks to its dense content of plant chemicals known as phenolic acids and flavonoids. Studies suggest that oregano is selectively toxic to tumor cells. It is a rich source of quercetin, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoid. 

More: 9 Spices That Boost Your Immune System

Baikal skullcap
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Baikal skullcap

20 mg Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) extract, standardized to 3.4 mg baicalein complex, including baicalein and baicalin, and 0.08 mg wogonin.

Yet another Chinese herb that packs a big antioxidant, anti- inflammatory punch. Test-tube studies show that it inhibits the action of the COX-2 enzyme, which then decreases production of the inflammatory eicosanoid prostaglandin E2.

More: 6 Problems You Can Cure with Medicinal Herbs

Animal studies have shown dramatic effects of Baikal skullcap on cancer growth: one study showed a 50 percent reduction in prostate tumor volume in animals given skullcap for 7 weeks, while another showed a 66 percent reduction! Wogonin, an active constituent of skullcap, was found in one study to block the production of an enzyme in cancer cells that is needed for survival. As a result of this blockade, the cancer cells committed suicide (apoptosis).

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