Can Celery Be Useful to Treat Breast Cancer?

Can Celery Be Useful to Treat Breast Cancer?

Story at-a-glance -

  • Apigenin, a naturally occurring flavonoid found in celery, parsley and other fruits, vegetables and herbs, slowed cancer growth and shrank cancerous tumors in animal studies
  • The apigenin treatment worked even on deadly, fast-growing breast tumors, inhibiting cell proliferation (growth) and reducing expression of a gene associated with cancer malignancy
  • Apigenin appears so promising in the fight against cancer that researchers said injections of the substance could be a safe alternative to toxic chemotherapy, as it showed no signs of side effects, even at high doses
  • The researchers are having trouble finding funding to continue research in humans, as pharmaceutical companies have no interest in providing funds for this potential natural cancer cure
  • Food can have a powerful influence on serious diseases such as cancer, which is why it’s so important to consume a fresh, whole foods diet

By Dr. Mercola

The University of Missouri was abuzz with excitement recently when researchers announced they'd found a non-toxic treatment that can stop breast cancer in its tracks.

In the study, this treatment worked even on deadly, fast-growing breast tumors, inhibiting cell proliferation (growth) and reducing expression of a gene associated with cancer malignancy.

But the ingredient needed for the treatment―apigenin―is cheap and is as close as your garden or grocery store, as it's a natural, active ingredient in celery, parsley, thyme, and a number of other fruits, vegetables, and spices. The trouble is, the researchers are having a hard time finding anyone to fund further studies on humans …

Celery, Parsley Compound Shrinks Breast Cancer Tumors

When mice that were implanted with cells of a particularly deadly, fast-growing human breast cancer were treated with apigenin, the cancerous growth slowed and the tumors shrank.1 Blood vessels feeding the cancer tumors also shrunk and restricted nutrient flow to the tumor cells, starving them of the nutrients need to spread. A study conducted last year showed similarly promising results; when rats with breast cancer were treated with apigenin, they developed fewer tumors and had significant delays in tumor formation.

Though apigenin, a flavonoid, is most prevalent in celery and parsley, it's also found in many other natural foods, including:

Apples Chamomile Basil
Oregano Tarragon Cilantro
Endive Broccoli Cherries
Leeks Onions Tomatoes
Grapes Tea Beans and barley


Human exposure to apigenin occurs mostly through the consumption of apigenin-containing fruits and vegetables, although researchers are not sure how much is absorbed into the bloodstream. While the study used an injection of apigenin, you also obtain biologically significant quantities through a healthy diet. Researchers of the 2011 study noted:2

" … it appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer …  It's probably a good idea to eat a little parsley … every day to ensure the minimal amount. However, you can also find this compound in pill supplements …"

Funding Hard to Come by When the Active Ingredient Can be Grown in Your Garden …

Apigenin appears so promising in the fight against cancer that researchers said injections of the substance could be a safe alternative to toxic chemotherapy. While chemo is notorious for its sometimes-lethal side effects (which occur because the drugs are poisons that indiscriminately kill healthy cells right along with cancerous ones), apigenin caused no side effects, even at high doses. But imagine the frustration these researchers must feel, knowing they've found a potential safe, inexpensive and natural cancer fighter, but being unable to convince anyone to fund further research …

According to study co-author Salman Hyder:3

"Clinical trials of apigenin with humans could start tomorrow, but we have to wait for medical doctors to carry out that next step. One problem is, because apigenin doesn't have a known specific target in the cancer cell, funding agencies have been reticent to support the research. Also, since apigenin is easily extracted from plants, pharmaceutical companies don't stand to profit from the treatment; hence the industry won't put money into studying something you can grow in your garden."

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Some of the Best Cancer Cures Come From Nature

The healing, restorative power of natural substances like vegetables has been researched and known for some time, but remains largely obscured and overshadowed by the massive marketing of pharmaceutical drugs, which focus on toxic chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for cancer treatment.

This may be precisely why nearly everyone reading this is familiar with chemo, but a far smaller percentage will be aware of these safe, natural and potentially ground-breaking cancer treatments that receive precious little, if any, media attention:

  • Curcumin, the most active component in the curry spice turmeric. Among all nutrients, curcumin has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer. Researchers have found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways, once it gets into a cell
  • Cream containing eggplant extract, known as BEC and BEC5, which appears to cure and eliminate most non-melanoma skin cancers in several weeks time
  • vitamin D from safe sun exposure, optimizing your skin's natural production of vitamin D from safe sun exposure, is important for cancer prevention and treatment. Vitamin D increases the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer), reduces the spread and reproduction of cancer cells, causes cells to become differentiated (cancer cells usually lack differentiation), reduces the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous.

These are but a few examples, as the truth is, eating a diet based on whole foods is one of the best ways to fight cancer, as you will naturally be consuming anti-cancer substances found in veggies and fruits, like flavonoids, carotenoids, lycopene and sulforaphane. Part of the explanation for why food can have such a powerful influence on serious diseases such as cancer is due to its influence on a biological process called angiogenesis -- the process your body uses to build blood vessels. Cancerous cells, like all other cells in your body, cannot thrive without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by your capillaries.

Excessive angiogenesis (the production of new blood vessels) are associated with the progression of diseases such as cancer.

Most of us actually carry around microscopic cancer cell clusters in our bodies all the time. The reason why we all don't develop cancer is because as long as your body has the ability to balance angiogenesis properly, it will prevent blood vessels from forming to feed these microscopic tumors. Trouble will only arise if, and when, the cancer cells manage to get their own blood supply, at which point they can transform from harmless to deadly. As our ancestors intuitively understood, nature has laced a large number of foods and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis, rendering them natural "anti-cancer medicines."

Simply by consuming these anti-angiogenetic foods you can naturally boost your body's defense system and prevent blood vessels from forming and feeding the microscopic tumors that exist in your body at any given time.

GreenMedInfo has compiled research on over 600 natural substances, many of them in food, that have shown promise in treating and/or preventing cancer.4 This includes compounds in garlic, berries, coffee, sprouts, mushrooms, black pepper and much, much more – the list is incredibly diverse, which is why a varied diet is also one of the best ways to "cover your bases" for cancer protection.

When "Thinking Outside of the Box" Might Save Your Life

The conventional medical approach is to "search and destroy" cancer cells using surgery, extremely potent toxins and dangerous radiation. Most of the conventional treatments still considered 'standard care' were created during a time when knowledge of cancer was minimal. For example, chemotherapy was invented in 1960, when poison gas was found to kill cancerous tumors in one mouse. As it turns out, they were not quite able to replicate the success on other mice, but for some reason, for that initial one, it seemed to work quite well.

This 'fluke' of an experiment was the original foundation of chemotherapy. When it became clear that chemo wasn't all that effective on its own, radiation was added, and now chemotherapy in conjunction with radiation therapy is the norm for many types of cancer.

The trouble is, chemotherapy is not all that effective on many types of cancer … and even when it is, the patient often dies from chemo-induced side effects. But as stated in the documentary film Cut, Poison, Burn, as long as the cancer is killed before the patient dies, the treatment is largely heralded as a success …

If you think chemo is your only option, that's because the system is set up this way. The cancer industry has become a massive for-profit business that is doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo. It is, quite simply, not interested in truly reducing cancer rates; it's interested in treating cancer by suppressing its gross symptoms, e.g. tumor size, while often driving the surviving cancer cells into greater malignancy, ensuring it will recur with a vengeance years later.

From that perspective, the more cancer cases the better ... Even many oncologists, whom most regard as the go-to specialist upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, may be better described as chemotherapy specialists than cancer specialists.

But there are other options. I've already written two articles about Dr. Burzynski's gene-specific treatment using antineoplastons, peptides and derivatives of amino acids that act as molecular and genetic switches. They turn off oncogenes, the genes that cause cancer, and activate chemo suppressor genes; the genes that fight cancer. Furthermore, it's completely non-toxic, and patients suffer virtually no side effects at all. Best of all, once the cancer is gone, the rate of recurrence is slim to none.

As a testament to the safety and effectiveness of antineoplastons, Dr. Burzynski has patients who have survived with "incurable" cancers for over 20 years, and are still cancer free after going through his program. Some of these cases are highlighted in his film Burzynski: The Movie.

Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez was not interviewed in this film but he is another prominent alternative cancer physician who shared his run-ins with the conventional cancer model in my interview with him earlier this year. The bottom line is, if you're facing a health challenge, I recommend seeking out a qualified natural health consultant – and this might mean thinking outside of the box. A good place to look for recommendations is at your local health food store. Get to know the people who work there, the owners, and those who frequent the store, and obtain a consensus as to who the best clinician for you is in your area. Word travels fast in the natural medical community, so if there's a knowledgeable practitioner in your area that's getting awesome results, his or her reputation will be known. Of course, when it comes to cancer, you'll want to identify someone that is well known and respected for their work in treating cancer patients.

Top Steps for Breast Cancer Prevention

I recently interviewed Dr. Christine Horner, a board certified general and plastic surgeon, who shared her extensive knowledge about breast cancer—its causes and treatments, and the pro's and con's of various screening methods. I suggest you listen to that interview now, in addition to learning about the many all-natural cancer-prevention strategies below.

Download Interview Transcript

  • Eat healthy. This means avoid sugar, especially fructose, as all forms of sugar are detrimental to your health in general and promote cancer. Also, focus on eating whole foods and fresh vegetables while avoiding cancer-causing foods.
  • Exercise. Research suggests that one of the most powerful ways to lower breast cancer risk substantially is through the simple act of exercise.
  • Vitamin D. There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in the promotion of cancer. You can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with adequate sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 80-90 ng/ml—would be beneficial. The health benefits of optimizing your levels, either by safe sun exposure (ideally), a safe tanning bed, or oral supplementation with vitamin D3 as a last resort, simply cannot be overstated.
  • Get proper sleep, both in terms of getting enough sleep and sleeping between certain optimal hours. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the ideal hours for sleep are between 10 pm and 6 am. Modern research has confirmed the value of this recommendation as certain hormonal fluctuations occur throughout the day and night, and if you engage in the appropriate activities during those times, you're 'riding the wave' so to speak, and are able to get the optimal levels. Working against your biology by staying awake when you should ideally be sleeping or vice versa, interferes with these beneficial hormonal fluctuations.
  • Effectively address your stress. The research shows that if you experience a traumatic or highly stressful event, such as a death in the family, your risk of breast cancer is 12 times higher in the ensuing five years. So be sure you tend to your emotional health in addition to your physical health.