Folks in rural Pakistan might be on to something. They have long used extracts from a common herbal tea ingredient, the plant Fagonia cretica, known as virgin's mantle, to treat breast cancer. Now researchers at Aston University, Birmingham, England, and Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, England, have evidence that this is more than folklore—an extract of the plant might actually work to repair cell damage in cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. So far, their studies have been confined to laboratory analysis, but they hope to now determine what elements in the plant are the active cancer-fighters, with the hope of eventually beginning clinical trials.
In previous laboratory research, virgin's mantle repaired damage caused by p53 expression, which is associated with triple-negative breast cancer.
In a news release, Professor Helen Griffith of Aston said, "More research is needed to establish the role of the extract in cancer management and It now needs to be demonstrated that this extract is as effective in killing cancer cells inside the body as it is within laboratory."
Virgin's mantle is found in arid regions of Pakistan, India, Africa and parts of Europe.