According to a new study by the researchers of Sheffield Hallam University and the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), eating baked British garden rhubarb, a South Yorkshire variety, can bring about a dramatic increase in the levels of anti-cancerous chemicals called ‘polyphenols.’
The study, funded by the Centre for Food Innovation at the university and published in the Journal Food Chemistry, hints at the potential development of new cancer treatments.
While earlier studies have already mentioned the health benefits of Oriental medicinal rhubarb, which has been in use in traditional Chinese medicine for eons, the new study is the first of its kind to highlight the benefits of British garden rhubarb.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Gordon McDougall from Plant Products and Food Quality programme at SCRI, said: “Our research has shown that British rhubarb is a potential source of pharmacological agents that may be used to develop new anti-cancer drugs.”
As per the findings, baking rhubarb for 20 minutes increases polyphenols’ levels high enough to kill or prevent the growth of cancer cells, and contribute to the development of new, less toxic, cancer treatments – even in those cancer cases that may have proved resistant to other treatments.
As such, scientists would now aim at discovering an ideal combination of polyphenols and chemotherapy agents for killing leukaemia cells, even the ones that have defied medical treatment thus far.
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