Book says arecanut is found to arrest growth of cancer cells

The book titled Arecanut, edited by the former Director of CPCRI P. Chowdappa, being released by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai recently.  

A book titled Arecanut, edited by the former Director of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) P. Chowdappa, has said that arecoline hydrobromide, a major active principle of arecanut, is found to arrest the growth of cancer cells. The book has quoted this from a recent study at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, the U.S.

“In a recent study at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, USA, arecoline hydrobromide is found to arrest the growth of cancer cells. It was reported that arecoline hydrobromide inhibited the activity of the enzyme ACAT1 (acetyl-C0A acetyltransferase) which leads to attenuation of cancer cell proliferation and tumour growth in mice (Fan et al., 2016). 9.5.,” a chapter on “biochemical constituents of arecanut and their effects on human health” in the book, said. The chapter has been written by farm scientists M. Arivalagan, Senthil Amudhan M. and K.B. Hebbar.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai released the book on early this month.

The chapter said: “The antioxidant activity of arecanut might play an active role in repairing DNA damage in cancer cells. While investigating the effect of aqueous and various organic extracts from different parts of Areca catechu on oxidative DNA damage in human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cells, it was noticed that the methanol extract of eight-month-old arecanut husk showed a dose dependent inhibition of comet formation while other solvent extracts did not (Phaechamud et al., 2009).”

The same chapter concluded: “Arecanut in its pure form is not dangerous but has got a plethora of medicinal properties, including curing ulcers, wounds and even cancer. Most of its folklore medicinal properties are now validated by scientific evidences. Detailed studies on the nature of active principle(s) responsible for all these properties and clinical trials on them are warranted to utilise such plant products effectively and profitably as these palms are available in plenty in most of the South and Southeast Asian countries.”

Mr. Chowdappa, who is now the Vice-Chancellor, BEST Innovation University, Anantapur, told The Hindu that the book has come out at the right time when arecanut has been allegedly associated with ill-effects of human health. The book highlights the rich history of medicinal properties and scientific evidences supporting the health benefits.

He said that apart from ancient Indian systems of medicine, arecanut has been widely used in clinical practices in China and other Southeast Asian countries. Hence, there is a need to conduct proper scientific research before labelling arecanut as carcinogenic.

Mr. Chowdappa, who is heading the technical committee of the Arecanut Taskforce, said that rather than unnecessarily blaming arecanut as carcinogenic, let researches be done in different institutes in the country. “Let them (who are blaming it as carcinogenic) prove it with studies,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 6:10:14 PM |

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