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Originally published July 17 2010

Plant extract heals ulcerative colitis, may prevent colon cancer

by S. L. Baker, features writer

(NaturalNews) Ulcerative colitis is a serious disease that affects about a million people in the U.S., causing inflammation and sores in the lining of the rectum and colon that bleed, produce pus and cause frequent diarrhea. Although drugs, especially steroids, can sometimes soothe symptoms, Big Pharma has been unable to come up with a cure. Fortunately, however, scientists are finding natural substances may be able to prevent and treat ulcerative colitis.

For example, as NaturalNews previously reported, University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers have discovered olive oil may stop ulcerative colitis from developing in the first place ( Now ongoing research by South Dakota State University (SDSU) scientist Moul Dey is providing evidence an extract made from a food plant in the Brassica genus can heal ulcerative colitis symptoms.

While a researcher at Rutgers starting in 2004, Dr. Dey screened about 3,000 extracts of this plant family (which includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, watercress and broccoli), looking for anti-inflammation activity. She found that Phenethylisothiocyanate, PEITC for short, in cruciferous veggies has particularly strong anti-inflammatory properties. Early winter cress (also called upland cress) -- an herb in the Brassica genus that's used in salads, soups and garnishes -- is an especially rich source of PEITC.

"I tested this substance in a mouse model that is already established and widely used. What we found is that it not only alleviates several clinical signs of ulcerative colitis -- for example, it attenuates the damage that occurs in the colon tissues and colon epithelium, as well as the clinical signs like diarrhea and blood in stool. The weight loss is a major sign in colitis and that was alleviated, too," Dr. Dey said in a statement to the media.

Now her work, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expanding to study whether the plant extract can treat colon cancer, too. "There is an established link between ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. People who have ulcerative colitis are at significantly higher risk to have colon cancer," Dr. Dey said in the press statement. "Whether this plant extract might help with colon cancer symptoms directly or perhaps delay the onset of colon cancer in ulcerative colitis patients, we don't know the answers to those questions, but it is something we would like to look into."

Editor's note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.

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