Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

lemongrass and cancer

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on August 12, 2008

The Big Book: Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide

The Small Book: Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Alternative and Complementary Strategies for Restoring Health  –  For more information go to

“This book tells me everything. Why didn’t my doctor tell me this?” – Rev Bill Newbern


Fresh Lemon Grass Drink Causes Apoptosis
> http://tinyurl. com/59whzy <http://tinyurl. com/59whzy>
> Fresh Lemon Grass Drink Causes Apoptosis to Cancer Cells
> (apoptosis) noun: a type of cell death in which the cell uses
> specialized
> cellular machinery to kill itself; a cell suicide mechanism that
> enables
> metazoans to control cell number and eliminate cells that threaten the
> animal’s survival.
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic16827.jpg)
> Fresh lemon grass fields in Israel become Mecca for cancer patients
> By Allison Kaplan Sommer April 02, 2006
> ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ******
> A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough
> citral
> to prompt cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube.
> Israeli researchers find way to make cancer cells self-destruct -Ben
> Gurion University
> At first, Benny Zabidov, an Israeli agriculturalist who grows
> greenhouses
> full of lush spices on a pastoral farm in Kfar Yedidya in the Sharon
> region, couldn’t understand why so many cancer patients from around
> the
> country were showing up on his doorstep asking for fresh lemon grass.
> It
> turned out that their doctors had sent them. ‘They had been told to
> drink
> eight glasses of hot water with fresh lemon grass steeped in it on the
> days that they went for their radiation and chemotherapy treatments,’
> Zabidov told ISRAEL21c. ‘And this is the place you go to in Israel for
> fresh lemon grass.’
> It all began when researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev
> discovered last year that the lemon aroma in herbs like lemon grass
> kills
> cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. The
> research
> team was led by Dr. Rivka Ofir and Prof. Yakov Weinstein, incumbent
> of the
> Albert Katz Chair in Cell-Differentiatio n and Malignant Diseases,
> from the
> Department of Microbiology and Immunology at BGU.
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic09961.jpg)
> Citral is the key component that gives the lemony aroma and taste in
> several herbal plants such as lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus),
> melissa
> (Melissa officinalis) and verbena (Verbena officinalis. )
> According to Ofir, the study found that citral causes cancer cells to
> ‘commit suicide: using apoptosis, a mechanism called programmed cell
> death.’ A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains
> enough
> citral to prompt the cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube.
> The BGU investigators checked the influence of the citral on cancerous
> cells by adding them to both cancerous cells and normal cells that
> were
> grown in a petri dish. The quantity added in the concentrate was
> equivalent to the amount contained in a cup of regular tea using one
> gram
> of lemon herbs in hot water. While the citral killed the cancerous
> cells,
> the normal cells remained unharmed.
> The findings were published in the scientific journal Planta Medica,
> which
> highlights research on alternative and herbal remedies. Shortly
> afterwards, the discovery was featured in the popular Israeli press.
> Why does it work? Nobody knows for certain, but the BGU scientists
> have a
> theory. ‘In each cell in our body, there is a genetic program which
> causes
> programmed cell death. When something goes wrong, the cells divide
> with no
> control and become cancer cells. In normal cells, when the cell
> discovers
> that the control system is not operating correctly – for example,
> when it
> recognizes that a cell contains faulty genetic material following cell
> division – it triggers cell death,’ explains Weinstein. ‘This
> research may
> explain the medical benefit of these herbs.’
> The success of their research led them to the conclusion that herbs
> containing citral may be consumed as a preventative measure against
> certain cancerous cells. As they learned of the BGU findings in the
> press,
> many physicians in Israel began to believe that while the research
> certainly needed to be explored further, in the meantime it would be
> advisable for their patients, who were looking for any possible tool
> to
> fight their condition, to try to harness the cancer-destroying
> properties
> of citral.
> That’s why Zabidov’s farm – the only major grower of fresh lemon
> grass in
> Israel – has become a pilgrimage destination for these patients.
> Luckily,
> they found themselves in sympathetic hands. Zabidov greets visitors
> with a
> large kettle of aromatic lemon grass tea, a plate of cookies, and a
> supportive attitude. ‘My father died of cancer, and my wife’s sister
> died
> young because of cancer,’ said Zabidov. ‘So I understand what they are
> dealing with. And I may not know anything about medicine, but I’m a
> good
> listener. And so they tell me about their expensive painful
> treatments and
> what they’ve been through. I would never tell them to stop being
> treated,
> but it’s great that they are exploring alternatives and drinking the
> lemon
> grass tea as well.’
> Zabidov knew from a young age that agriculture was his calling. At
> age 14,
> he enrolled in the Kfar Hayarok Agricultural high school. After his
> army
> service, he joined an idealistic group which headed south, in the
> Arava
> desert region, to found a new moshav (agricultural settlement) called
> Tsofar. ‘We were very successful; we raised fruits and vegetables,
> and,’
> he notes with a smile, ‘We raised some very nice children.’
> On a trip to Europe in the mid-80s, he began to become interested in
> herbs. Israel, at the time, was nothing like the trend-conscious
> cuisine-oriented country it is today, and the only spices being grown
> commercially were basics like parsley, dill, and coriander. Wandering
> in
> the Paris market, looking at the variety of herbs and spices, Zabidov
> realized that there was a great export potential in this niche. He
> brought
> samples back home with him, ‘which was technically illegal,’ he says
> with
> a guilty smile, to see how they would grow in his desert greenhouses.
> Soon, he was growing basil, oregano, tarragon, chives, sage, marjoram
> and
> melissa, and mint just to name a few.
> His business began to outgrow his desert facilities, and so he
> decided to
> move north, settling in the moshav of Kfar Yedidya, an hour and a half
> north of Tel Aviv. He is now selling ‘several hundred kilos’ of lemon
> grass per week, and has signed with a distributor to package and put
> it in
> health food stores. Zabidov has taken it upon himself to learn more
> about
> the properties of citral, and help his customers learn more, and has
> invited medical experts to his farm to give lectures about how the
> citral
> works and why.
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic00491.jpg)
> He also felt a responsibility to know what to tell his customers
> about its
> use. ‘When I realized what was happening, I picked up the phone and
> called
> Dr. Weinstein at Ben-Gurion University, because these people were
> asking
> me exactly the best way to consume the citral. He said to put the
> loose
> grass in hot water, and drink about eight glasses each day.’
> Zabidov is pleased by the findings, not simply because it means
> business
> for his farm, but because it might influence his own health. Even
> before
> the news of its benefits were demonstrated, he and his family had been
> drinking lemon grass in hot water for years, ‘just because it tastes
> good.’


2 Responses to “lemongrass and cancer”

  1. thankful anonymous said

    Thank you very much for posting. My mom has breast cancer and has spread………. After praying to God that He will use me as an instrument to extend my moms life, in whatever way, I found this site. Again, Thanks for postting.

  2. Dave said

    See also

    Research Paper

    Citral is a new inducer of caspase-3 in tumor cell lines. [Journal Article]

    Dudai N, Weinstein Y, Krup M, Rabinski T, Ofir R
    Planta Med 2005 May; 71(5):484-8.

    Citral, 3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadien-1-al, a key component of the lemon-scented essential oils extracted from several herbal plants such as lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), melissa (Melissa officinalis), verbena (Verbena officinalis) is used as a food additive and as a fragrance in cosmetics. In this study, we investigated the anti-cancer potential of citral and its mode of action. Concentrations of 44.5 muM, comparable to the concentration of citral in a cup of tea prepared from 1 g of lemon grass, induced apoptosis in several hematopoietic cancer cell lines. Apoptosis was accompanied by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 catalytic activity induction. Citral activity (22.25 microM) was compared to a reference compound like staurosporine (0.7 microM), in respect to DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 enzymatic activity. The apoptotic effect of citral depended on the alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehyde group.

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