Washington: Parsley carries a potent compound that can halt breast cancer cells from reproducing, according to researchers.
Salman Hyder, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, exposed rats with breast cancer to apigenin, a compound found in parsley and other plant products.
The exposed rats developed fewer tumors and experienced significant delays in tumour formation as compared to normal rats, the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports.
Apigenin is most prevalent in parsley and celery, but can also be found in apple, orange, nuts and other plant products, according to a Missouri statement.
"Six to 10 million women in the US receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT),"
Hyder said. "We know that certain synthetic hormones used in HRT accelerate breast tumor development.
"In our study, we exposed the rats to one of the chemicals used in the most common HRTs received in the US - a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) - which also happens to be the same synthetic hormone that accelerates breast tumour development."
When tumor cells develop in the breast in response to MPA, they encourage new blood vessels to form within tumors. The blood vessels then supply needed nutrients for the tumours to grow and multiply.
Hyder found that apigenin blocked new blood vessel formation, thereby delaying, and
sometimes stopping, the development of the tumours.
However, apigenin is not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream. So scientists are unsure of how much can or should be ingested.