New study: Substance in rhubarb cuts cancer cell growth in half

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kill cancer cells(NaturalHealth365) Parietin is an orange pigment found in many forms of lichen and also in the tart vegetable rhubarb.  Parietin helps these plants absorb blue light from the sun and protects them from UV light. But, here’s the exciting news. (below)

A comprehensive study last fall also found that parietin in rhubarb may be a potent cancer fighter by prohibiting the expression of an enzyme vital to cancer cell growth.

Another great reason to eat your vegetables

In in vitro investigations, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia discovered that parietin killed half of the leukemia cells in a study culture within 48 hours.

In their October, 2015 report published in the journal Nature, Emory researchers also discovered that, in mouse models, a more potent derivative of this powerful pigment (called S3) cut the growth of lung cancer cells by a factor of three over the course of 11 days.

While obviously lethal to cancer cells, parietin in both dose amounts left healthy cells alone. The same results were seen in cultures of head and neck tumors.

Parietin works by stopping the production of the 6PGD (6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase) enzyme, one of the drivers for cancer growth. According to Professor Jing Chen of the Winship Cancer Institute- Emory School of Medicine and one of the authors of the report, cancer cells require a certain amount of 6PDGD to grow. Once that amount falls below a certain level, cancer growth will decrease as well.

“This is part of the Warburg effect, the distortion of cancer cells’ metabolism,” Chen said in a recent press release about the study.

The power of nutrition: Starving cancer cells with an extract from rhubarb

The “Warburg Effect,” named after Nobel laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg, explains how cancer cells get their energy. Warburg was the first scientist to observe that cancer cells obtain fuel anaerobically by glycolysis (followed by fermentation) rather than aerobically, using oxygen like healthy cells do.

In fact, Warburg hypothesized that it is this very change in the metabolism of cells that is the fundamental cause of cancer mutation. Parietin very effectively stops a key enzymatic process within the cancer metabolic chain, leading to cell starvation and death.

The researchers at Emory discovered the cancer-fighting power of parietin in rhubarb after testing close to 2,000 other compounds that were known to inhibit this enzyme to one extent or another. Their goal – since this research is being funded by big pharma – is to create a drug.

Wait a minute: Could there be a more natural way to access the healing properties of rhubarb?

Conventional drugs to treat cancer often have a link in some way to natural substances. By the time these drugs go to market, however, they have been so synthetically altered that they barely resemble their original source. Of course, the short-term as well as long-term side effects of these drugs are often worse than the effects of the cancer itself.

Natural medicine, on the other hand, relies on the delicate yet synergetic relationship between plant compounds and the human body.

“Even if it’s proven that parietin can treat cancer in people, it’s unlikely anyone could eat enough rhubarb to get the benefits,” Dr. Hayley Frend of Cancer Research UK stated in a recent article about the discovery.

This kind of thinking discounts the benefits of whole plant medicine and the many other ways that rhubarb in particular is a powerhouse for immune support and cancer prevention:

● Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, manganese, magnesium and dietary fiber

●Rhubarb contains ferulic acid, a potent antioxidant which aids in the synthesizing vitamin C and E and has been shown to have an especially protective effect against skin cancer

● Rhubarb contains the polyphenolic compound resveratrol, which has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Like melatonin, resveratrol is also an aromatase inhibitor, making it a powerful preventer for estrogen-dominant breast cancers

● In particular, rhubarb also contains (Z)-3,5,4-Trimethoxystilbene, a component of resveratrol that can arrest the growth of human colon cancer cells

● Rhubarb contains anthraquinones, organic aromatic compounds which researchers have found to have a protective effect against mercury-induced kidney failure

● Two anthraquinones in found in rhubarb, rhein and emodin, have particular anticancer effects. In a 2012 study, researchers discovered that rhein induced cancer cell death in chemo-resistant HER2/neu breast cancer cells. Emodin is most commonly used as a laxative but has also been found to suppress breast and cervical cancer proliferation

● Turkish Rhubarb root is one of the main ingredients in the anticancer Essiac tea formula.

It is commendable when traditional research facilities investigate and embrace the cancer-fighting properties of natural herbs, foods and substances. It is saddening though when these facilities do so for the sole aim of creating a new drug to add to the health-damaging cadre of cancer pharmaceuticals that already saturate the halls of conventional medicine.

There is a way to get the benefits of rhubarb and its many healing components NOW in a natural way, however. Making a tea with dried roots, adding rhubarb stems (not the leave as they are toxic) for juicing and supplementing with capsules or extract are all natural yet effective ways of receiving all the wonderful health benefits rhubarb has to offer.

About the author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and specialist in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe. To get your F.R.E.E. 7-day mini e-course and to receive her weekly inspiring articles on the power of natural medicine – visit:



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  • Melanie Gimbel

    There are certain breeds of rhubarb that are grown primarily as medicinals, such as Chinese rhubarb (aka da-huang). Richo Cech’s seed company Strictly Medicinal Herbs sells these as seeds or potted plants. They also sell regular garden rhubarb. I’m sure you can find other seed companies selling these as well.

  • GunzRloaded

    The Turkey/Indian rhubarb,or Chinese rhubarb is in the “ESSIAC” TONIC or TEA …!!!

  • Dale Joy

    One has to remember it is the bitter turkey rhubarb that causes apoptoses to cancer cells. The rhubarb garden variety is full of calcium and not very useful in cancer.

  • Dale Joy

    This is not the correct species of rhubarb. The one that is grown in the Himalayas. It has the biochemicals in that plant called Turkey Rhubarb or Chinese Rhubarb. It looks nothing like the kind we use in strawberry-rhubarb pie.

  • Dale Joy

    Ask for Turkey Rhubarb root and you can get it from most reputable herbal supply houses. Frontier is an organic supply house and many items are grown in the United States.

  • Dale Joy

    Wrong rhubarb. Turkey Rhubarb is the kind you are looking for. You can get it through Frontier Herb in Iowa. They are organic and most herbs are grown here in the United States.