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Review explores the potential of fatty oils from TCM in cancer therapy


In this article, researchers at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine reviewed the anti-cancer effects of fatty oils from traditional Chinese medicines based on the theories of fu zheng and qu xie. Their findings were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • Cancer management is global challenge that relies mostly on chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
  • However, treatments based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or involving a combination of TCM and western medicine have gained attention recently in Oriental countries.
  • One potential TCM approach is the use of extracted fatty oils, which contain fatty acids that serve as active ingredients. These fatty acids exhibit a variety of pharmacological activities that are useful for cancer treatment.
  • In TCM, cancer treatment strategies are classified into either fu zheng (improving immunity) or qu xie (inducing apoptosis). Examples of each are coix seed oil and Brucea javanica oil, respectively.
  • Anti-cancer fatty oils are not as extensively studied as other active plant compounds. Studies that exist about them focus mainly on their composition or other biological activities.
  • The researchers discussed the chemical composition, anti-cancer mechanism, studying dosage form and clinical applications of fatty oils from TCM, as well as how they can be used for cancer treatment.

The researchers hope that their review can reveal the anti-cancer potential of fatty oils and serve as a reference for future studies.

Journal Reference:

Huang Y, Zhu J, Lin X, Hong Y, Feng Y, Shen L. POTENTIAL OF FATTY OILS FROM TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE IN CANCER THERAPY: A REVIEW FOR PHYTOCHEMICAL, PHARMACOLOGICAL AND CLINICAL STUDIES. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2019;47(04):727–750. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x19500381



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