Cork Tree Extract May Fight Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is:

(A)  Almost always fatal

(B)  The #4 leading cause of cancer death

(C)  Curable only when caught in the early stages

A new study published in Clinical Cancer Research, however, suggests a promising natural aid in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Cork treeAn Ancient Chinese Healing Herb

The bark of the Amur cork tree, also known as Phellodendron, has been a go-to herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. It imparts an anti-inflammatory effect that has been shown to treat everything from osteoarthritis to cirrhosis of the liver. It’s the most medicinally potent when extracted from a 10-year old Phellodendron tree. Once the tree is peeled of bark, it dies, rendering Phellodendron bark especially valuable. Its inherent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it an effective weapon against bacteria, viruses, and skin fungi. Cork tree extract has also been shown to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Heal ulcers
  • Subdue, relax, and sedate
  • Lower blood sugar and treat diabetes
  • Promote weight loss
  • Alleviate diarrhea
  • Treat meningitis, tuberculosis, and pneumonia
  • Soothe eye infections
  • Remedy psoriasis
  • Reduce skin redness and swelling

Phellodendron for Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers at UT Health Science Center stumbled upon the possibility of phellodendron as a pancreatic cancer treatment while researching the bark’s effect on prostate tumors. Researchers discovered that prostate and pancreatic tumors share similar pathways, and cork tree extract seems to block these pathways and suppress the scarring that keeps anti-cancer drugs from working.

Excessive scarring around the tumor gland (known as fibrotic tissue) prevents cancer drugs from actually reaching the cancer, rendering treatment ineffective. There are no drugs that currently suppress these pathways, which not only cause scarring but also promote the release of Cox-2 that rages systemic inflammation throughout the body. Cork tree extract, not only blocks the pathways and prevents scarring, but it also suppresses this inflammation. Research, though preliminary, is promising. Liver and kidney tumors also succumb to scarring and the subsequent resistance to drugs, and researchers are hopeful that cork tree extract may show a similar effect on a variety of these cancer tumors.

Cork tree extract is available as a supplement in capsule form and has already been established as safe for consumption. The 24 participants in the UT Health Science Center trial likewise experienced no adverse side effects.