Properties and Medical Research
There is an increasing amount of research being done on the anticarcinogenic activity of organic isothiocyanates (ITC’s), which are found in wasabi.
Tests have been done with stomach tumors in rats. It was found that some ITC’s have a protective role against breast, stomach and colon cancers.
(L.W.Wattenberg, 1977 & 1981)
It was also found that human stomach cancer cells underwent morphological alterations and many died when cultured in media containing a concentration of an aqueous extract from wasabi.
( J.A.Depree, T.M.Howard and G.P.Savage 2000)
Y Zhang and P Talalay, (Dept. of Pharmacology, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore) report that organic ITC’s block the production of tumors induced in rodents by diverse carcinogens. Protection is afforded against tumor development in liver, lung, mammary gland, fore-stomach and oesophagus. Since ITC’s block carcinogenesis (cancer) by dual mechanisms and are already present in varying quantities these agents are ideal candidates for the development of effective chemoprotection of humans against cancer.
In a joint study between the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centre, Vanderbilt University Texas, The American Health Foundation Cancer Center New York and the Shanghai Cancer Center (Jay.H.Fowke, Fung Lung Chung, Fan Jin, Cliff Conaway) on the effects of brassica vegetable consummation on breast cancer, it was shown that Asian populations consuming larger amounts of brassica (providing organic ITC’s) have a lower breast cancer incidence compared with western populations. They concluded that greater brassica consumption, as measured by the urinary ITC biomarker, was associated with significantly reduced breast cancer among Chinese woman.
In a study titled “Comparison of Inhibitory Effect of Sawa-Wasabi (water/hydroponic grown wasabi) on the Growth of Helicobacter Pylori”, by Nashide Kinae and others at the Graduate School of Nutritional and Environmental Sciences University of Shizuoka, Japan, showed a strong killing effect on food poisoning bacteria such as salmonella enteritidis and streptococcus aureus. They also found the sawa-wasabi root (Rhizome) inhibits the growth of H.pylori which causes gastrointestinal diseases including gastric ulcer and cancer.
Depree, Howard and Savage (1999) also report on the testing done on the ITC’s found in wasabi on the inhibition of platelet aggregation and for de-aggregation. It was found that in the case of a heart attack, where aspirin is commonly prescribed, the ITC’s had an immediate effect as opposed to the thirty minutes for aspirin. This anti-inflammatory effect could potentially be used to counter conditions such as asthma or even anaphylaxis.
In 2000 Hideki Masuda, Ph.D, reported that chemical compounds (ITC’s) found in wasabi inhibited the bacteria that cause dental cavities during test tube studies.
Research continues with an increasing awareness of the medicinal uses of Wasabi.
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