Could preventing colon cancer be as simple as developing a taste for yerba mate tea? In a recent University of Illinois study, scientists showed that human colon cancer cells die when they are exposed to the approximate number of bioactive compounds present in one cup of this brew, which has long been consumed in South America for its medicinal properties.
“The caffeine derivatives in mate tea not only induced death in human colon cancer cells, they also reduced important markers of inflammation,” said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I associate professor of food chemistry and food toxicology.
“Put simply, the cancer cell self-destructs because its DNA has been damaged,” she said. The ability to induce apoptosis, or cell death, is a promising tactic for therapeutic interventions in all types of cancer, she said.
The results of the study strongly suggest that the caffeine derivatives in mate tea have potential as anti-cancer agents and could also be helpful in other diseases associated with inflammation, she said.
Source: University of Illinois