Carvacrol for Colorectal Cancer

Did You Know…that the essential oils of two common herbs can halt colon cancer?

In 2015, 93,000 new cases of colon cancer and almost 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed among Americans, according to the American Cancer Society.

FACT: Colon cancer affects the large intestine (colon).  Rectal cancer refers to cancer in the last few inches of the colon.  Combined, these cancers are referred to as “colorectal cancer”—which is the third most common cancer in both men and women.

Fortunately, recent research has provided exciting evidence for the potential of natural compounds in preventing and fighting colorectal cancer.

Carvacrol: A Natural Cancer-Killing Compound Found in Oregano & Thyme Oils 

One especially exciting 2015 study measured the effects of oregano and thyme essential oils on two human colon cancer cell lines:

  • HCT116
  • LoVo

Both oregano and thyme oil contain carvacrol.  Carvacrol is a compound well known for its antitumor properties.

In this breakthrough study, carvacrol inhibited both rapid reproduction and migration in both cell lines.  Specifically, carvacrol decreased the expression of two proteins involved in the spread of cancer cells: MMP-2 and MMP-9.  Carvacrol also stopped the cycle of cancer cell reproduction and induced apoptosis, or cancer cell death.

The researchers explained: “Results suggest that carvacrol may have therapeutic potential for the prevention and treatment of colon cancer.”

Other studies have also shown the benefits of carvacrol.  For example, one study demonstrated that carvacrol is…

  • Antitumor
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antimutagenic
  • Antigenotoxic
  • Analgesic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Angiogenic
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiplatelet

     Additional research from 2014 showed that carcocrol may also have benefits for norovirus, including an ability to quell the virus’s extreme effects of vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping.

Carvacrol is generally regarded as safe, and can be found at some health food stores as well as through online supplement retailers.  Experts say that oregano oil should list report a carvacrol content between 70% and 90%.  You should consult with your health care provider regarding the use of any herbal supplement, and of course follow dosage instructions listed on the product.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer occurs largely as a result of diet and lifestyle factors, and is therefore a highly preventable disease.  Known ways to reduce your risk include…

  • Eat a diet rich in fiber and nutrient-dense foods, especially fruits and vegetables
  • Take part in regular exercise that you enjoy and can stick to
  • Refrain from smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only lightly or not at all
  • Make sure to get an adequate supply of vitamin D, and have your levels tested if you are unsure

In addition to using carvacrol, consider supplementing with the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin, which comes from turmeric.  Research shows that curcumin may protect against many forms of cancer, including colorectal.

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