In the fight against aggressive prostrate cancer, researchers are discovering that what’s old is new again.
Cork tree bark, a herbal remedy that’s been around for centuries, is being studied as a way to shrink prostrate tumors.
Cork tree bark has long been used in Asia to fight inflammation.
“People in China, they take this bark, they actually make a concoction out of this bark and that concoction they drink, it’s been going for ages,” said Dr. Pratap Kumar, PHD at UT Health San Antonio.
Kumar and his colleagues decided to test cork tree bark extract, also called nexrutine, to fight dangerous body inflammation that often contributes to cancer development.
“When we think about inflammation, we think about systemic inflammation. In that we see an increase in those pro-inflammatory cytokines which is known to trigger downstream effects which can be detrimental to the healthy body,” said Darpan Patel, PHD at UT Health San Antonio.
Researchers used three animal groups and discovered that cork tree bark decreased tumors by 62% while exercise worked about 60%. What surprised them is that the cork extract was expected to attack inflammation in the body, but it also went after the tumor growth itself.
“Whereas on the flip side, exercise did more of it’s impactful work through inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines, or tumor genic cytokines,” said Dr. Patel.
These two powerful cancer fighters: the cork extract and exercise, could hold the combined key to fighting aggressive tumors through exercise and cork bark.
“If you combine those two, scientifically and logically thinking, you get double the benefit,” said Dr. Kumar.
Although both exercise and cork bark are equally good, researchers believe that the extract alone could be a natural replacement for those who can’t tolerate exercise.