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Myra
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Common garden weed 'cures skin cancer', say scientists

By Jenny Hope
Last updated at 4:41 AM on 26th January 2011

A common weed could help cure skin cancers, claim researchers.

The sap from a plant known as petty spurge or milkweed - found by roadsides
and in woodland - can 'kill' certain types of cancer cells when applied to
the skin.

It works on non-melanoma skin cancers, which affect hundreds of thousands of
Britons each year.

Milkweed miracle: You can find this weed invading gardens beds across the UK (and the USA)
FACTFILE: PETTY SPURGE, OR MILKWOOD

Latin name: Euphorbia peplus
Occurrence: Petty spurge is a small, branched annual, plentiful in gardens
and arable fields.

It is native and common throughout the UK, in any kind of soil. The plant
exudes a milky sap when damaged, which is a severe irritant if applied to
the skin.
Biology: Petty spurge flowers from April to November. The seed number per
plant ranges from 260 to 1,200.

Petty spurge may be found in fruit for eight months of the year. Seedlings
emerge throughout the year except for in winter but the main flush is from
April to May. Most seed germinates within a year of shedding.

Just a few seedlings emerge in the following 5 years. Germination occurs at
5 to 10 mm depth in soil.
Persistence and Spread: Seed recovered from house demolitions and
archaeological digs and dated at 20, 25, 30 and 100 years old has been
reported to germinate.
Source: www.gardenorganic.org.uk
In all cases of successful treatment the skin was left with a good cosmetic
appearance.

The researchers, from a number of medical institutions in Brisbane,
attribute the benefit to the active ingredient ingenol mebutate which has
been shown to destroy tumour cells.

British experts said further studies were needed and people should not try
this at home as the weed sap can be harmful to the eyes and should not be
eaten.

More than 76,500 people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in the
UK each year, with 90 per cent caused by ultraviolet light exposure.

Lesions usually appear on the areas most exposed to the sun, such as the
head, neck, ears, and back of the hands.

Kimberley Carter of the British Association of Dermatologists said: 'This is
a very small test group so it will be interesting to see what larger studies
and the development of the active ingredient in E. peplus sap will reveal.

'Whilst it would not provide an alternative to surgery for the more invasive
skin cancers or melanoma, in the future it might become a useful addition to
the treatments available to patients for superficial, non-melanoma skin
cancers.

'Any advances that could lead to new therapies for patients where surgery is
not an option are definitely worth investigating.

'It is also very important to note that this is definitely not a treatment
people should be trying out at home.

'Exposure of the sap to mucous producing surfaces, such as the eyes, results
in extreme inflammation and can lead to hospitalisation.

'The concentration of the active ingredients in the sap also varies between
different plants, with high doses able to cause very severe and excessive
inflammatory responses.'


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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1350454/Milkweed-miracle-Applying-sap-common-garden-weed-cure-skin-cancer.html#ixzz1CB54oZFY

 

January 31, 2011 at 1:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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