Best Plant Extracts to Fight and Prevent Skin Cancers
Nothing feels better than the sun on your skin! It just feels so natural to bask in it as long as possible.
But too much of a good thing can have harmful effects. That feel-good sunshine is composed of infrared (heat) energy and different frequencies of light energy. The high frequency UV (ultraviolet light) rays penetrate the skin to cause premature aging and cancer.
Overexposure to the sun greatly increases the risk of skin cancer. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States than all other cancers combined. Not only that, but the incidence of skin cancer has more than tripled since 1975 according to data from the National Cancer Institute.
Clearly, we need to be doing more to safeguard our skin! A number of studies (cited below) have found that there are plant extracts we can call into action to help protect against skin cancers.
Best Plant Extracts to Fight and Prevent Skin Cancers
Turmeric is getting a lot of buzz in a number of health contexts these days. While some of the claims being made have not yet bet been studied enough to feel confident about, Curcumin, an extract of Turmeric, has been proven to inhibit the formation of skin cancer cells, and delay the onset of tumors with both topical and oral administrations. (Sonavane, et al., 2012) This gives us all an excellent excuse to increase our Indian food intake, which can’t possibly be a drawback, in our view. It’s basically a medical expense, right?
Black cumin seed oil is derived from the plant Nigella sativa, or black cumin. Studies show that Thymoquinone, a molecular component of black cumin, inhibits cancer cell proliferation, and even targets cancer cells for apoptosis (cell death), leaving healthy cells alone.
Studies are ongoing in how to bring black cumin into the clinical context, but its longtime role in the traditional medicine of numerous cultures mark it as being a strong potential ally in protecting our skin. (Khan, et al., 2011). Ancient Greek, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Indian Cultures all share a tradition of using black seed oil for medicinal purposes. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine prescribed black seed oil for a number of ailments. Goodness Soaps has developed our Platinum Face Lotion that includes black seed oil as a primary ingredient, along with horsetail extract and rosehip oil. It nourishes your skin with high linoleic black seed oil and smells naturally exotic. Try it out!
Sandalwood Essential Oil If you’ve used incense or essential oils much, you’re probably familiar with the earthy sensuality of sandalwood’s aroma. As it happens, sandalwood essential oil is more than just a pleasing scent.
Ayurvedic medicine has long used sandalwood in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions. More recently, research studies have found that the application of sandalwood oil as a protective measure against chemical carcinogens reduced skin papilloma occurrences by as much as 60-90%. (Dwivedi & Abu-Ghazaleh, 1997)
Beets contain several antioxidant components, and their betalain pigments protect cells from oxidative injury (Kanner, et al., 2001).
Beet root extract has also been shown to inhibit other types of cancer growth. Beets may not be on everyone’s list of favorites, but for those of us who love them, this can only come as good news. Any lover of Borsch, or a nice goat cheese and beet salad, is going to be pleased to know that beet root extract can be a useful tool in preventing skin cancers.
This is Suzanna smiling while on a trip to Siberia. She co-wrote this article and wants everyone to know that she loves and will defend Borsch! That part about Goat Cheese and Beet salad is all Suzanna too.
Aegle marmelos L. has many names. It is most commonly known as Bael, but can also be found sporting the monikers Bengal Quince, Golden Apple, Japanese Bitter Orange, Stone Apple, or Wood Apple.
Native to Southeast Asia, it has long enjoyed an active role in traditional medicine in that region. Modern studies suggest that A. marmelos extract (AME) can significantly reduce tumor incidence and multiplicity when administered orally. AME has also been shown to protect against gamma radiation and reduce the effects of harmful metals (Bhatti, Singh, Nepali, & Ishar, 2013) (Prathapan, et al., 2012) (Kaur, et al., 2009) (Poulose, et al., 2014) (Sarma, et al., 2016) (Carey, et al., 2017) (Laddha, et al., 2015).
Eggplant peel extract, generally known as eggplant extract, is the extract from the peel of Solanum melongena, commonly known as the eggplant or aubergine, and has been shown to be effective when applied topically to melanomas.
Eggplant peels are rich in steroidal alkaloids, which have been found to be effective antioxidants in the prevention of cancer. (Calderón-Montaño, et al., 2013)
Green tea extract is one of the original stars of the antioxidant discussion. Green tea extract contains polyphenols from green tea (GTPs), which have been shown to reduce UV-induced skin cancer.
Researchers are not yet sure why this works, but one theory is that the GTPs reduce the inflammation caused by UV exposure to make a less friendly environment for carcinogenic cells. (Bouzari, et al., 2009) A green tea drinking habit is the most common way to harness green tea’s antioxidant powers, but there are also oral supplements, and countless skincare products that contain some amount of green tea extract. Goodness Soaps produces “Vivify ” daily facial hydrating and lifting serum as well as an antioxidant face mask, both containing green tea extract.
For a final bit of advice, we wanted to know what a working expert in the field had to say! So we caught up with skincare expert and master injector Grace Anglin, DNP of CapizziMD Cosmetic Surgery and Skincare in Charlotte, NC. Grace leads the women’s health and wellness program at CapizziMD. She holds a list of cosmetic certifications so long it would sound a bit like we were announcing Daenerys Targaryn from Game of Thrones if we listed them all here. When asked about some of the factors that contribute to damaged skin and what people can do to help fight it she was happy to help, stating the following:
“I find that sun exposure is one of the main contributors to aging skin. It leads to hyperpigmentation (sunspots on the skin) and wrinkles. Wearing sunscreen with sun exposure is one of the best things you can do to help prevent sun damage. Also, using skincare products regularly that fight aging will help reduce the signs of aging.”
These plant extracts are useful tools in our skin-protecting arsenal but should not replace regular usage of daily sunscreen application as a means of warding off skin cancers. Research shows that daily application of SPF 15+ sunscreen can reduce risk of skin cancer by 50%. Donning a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing will help too! You can also download the free EPA UV index app for your cell phone to see what the total UV exposure risk is in your area each day. With skin cancer on the rise, we need to take advantage of every tool we can!
If you found this article informative and helpful you can subscribe to our latest at www.buygoodsoap.com. Link is at the bottom of the website.
We will love you forever-I promise...if you SHARE this article to Facebook(share button is on the bottom right),Twitter, etc... and leave a comment!
By Jennifer Dimitriu & Suzanna Vasquez
Disclaimer: These statements have not been verified by the FDA. Please review the research (links below) for yourself. Goodness Soaps does not claim our products will treat or control any medical condition.
Agrawal, Annapurna, Swafiya Jahan, Dhanraj Soyal, Ekank Goyal, and Pradeep Kumar Goyal. (2012). Amelioration of Chemical-Induced Skin Carcinogenesis by Aegle marmelos, an Indian Medicinal Plant, Fruit Extract. Integrative Cancer Therapies 11.3, 257-266.
Bhatti, R., Singh, J., Nepali, K., & Ishar, M. P. (2013). Possible Involvement of PPAR-γ in the Anticonvulsant Effect of Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa. Neurochemical Research, 38(8), 1624-1631. Retrieved 3/ 18/2019, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11064-013-1064-6.
Bouzari, N., Romagosa, Y., & Kirsner, R. S. (2009). Green Tea Prevents Skin Cancer by Two Mechanisms. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 129(5), 1054. Retrieved 4/12/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19369929.
Calderón-Montaño, J. M., Burgos-Morón, E., Martínez-Sánchez, S. M., & López-Lázaro, M. (2013). Dichloroacetate, 2-Deoxyglucose And A Hydroalcoholic Extract From The Skin Of The Fruit Of Solanum Melongena (Aubergine) Induce Selective Anticancer Activity Against Melanoma Cells. Retrieved 4/12/2019, from http://webmedcentral.com/wmcpdf/article_wmc004326.pdf.
Carey, A. N., Miller, M. G., Fisher, D. R., Bielinski, D. F., Gilman, C. K., Poulose, S. M., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (2017). Dietary supplementation with the polyphenol-rich açaí pulps (Euterpe oleracea Mart. and Euterpe precatoria Mart.) improves cognition in aged rats and attenuates inflammatory signaling in BV-2 microglial cells. Nutritional Neuroscience, 20(4), 238-245. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26618555.
Dwivedi, C., & Abu-Ghazaleh, A.(1997). Chemopreventive effects of sandalwood oil on skin papillomas in mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 6(4), 399-401. Retrieved 3/17/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9370104.
Dwivedi, C., & Zhang, Y. (1999). Sandalwood oil prevents skin tumour development in CD1 mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 8(5), 449-456. Retrieved 3/17/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10548401.
Kanner, J., Harel, S., & Granit, R. (2001). Betalains – a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 49(11), 5178-85.
Kapadia, Govind J., Harukuni Tokuda, Takao Konoshima, and Hoyoku Nishino. (1996). Chemoprevention of lung and skin cancer by Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract. Cancer Letters, 100.1, 211-214.
Kaur, P., Walia, A., Kumar, S., & Kaur, S. (2009). Antigenotoxic Activity of Polyphenolic Rich Extracts from Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa in Human Blood Lymphocytes and E.coli PQ 37. Records of Natural Products, 3(1), 68-75. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20093212898.
Khan, M. A., Chen, H.-C., Tania, M., & Zhang, D. (2011). Anticancer activities of Nigella sativa (black cumin). African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8, 226-232. Retrieved 4/12/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3252704.
Laddha, C. S., Kunjalwar, S. G., Itankar, P. R., & Tauqeer, M. (2015). Nutritional and Phytochemical Assessment of Wild Edible Fruit of Aegle marmelos (Linn.) used by the Tribes of Bhiwapur Tahsil Nagpur District, India. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 8(1), 76-78. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://innovareacademics.in/journals/index.php/ajpcr/article/view/2944.
Pavithra, P.S., Alka Mehta, and Rama S. Verma. (2019). Essential oils: from prevention to treatment of skin cancer. Drug Discovery Today 24.2, 361-664.
Poulose, S. M., Fisher, D. R., Bielinski, D. F., Gomes, S. M., Rimando, A. M., Schauss, A. G., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (2014). Restoration of stressor-induced calcium dysregulation and autophagy inhibition by polyphenol-rich açaí (Euterpe spp.) fruit pulp extracts in rodent brain cells in vitro. Nutrition, 30(7), 853-862. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24985004.
Prathapan, A., Krishna, M. S., Nisha, V., Sundaresan, A., & Raghu, K. (2012). Polyphenol rich fruit pulp of Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa exhibits nutraceutical properties to down regulate diabetic complications — An in vitro study. Food Research International, 48(2), 690-695. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0963996912002001.
Rahman, Shahedur and Rashida Parvin. (2014). Therapeutic potential of Aegle marmelos (L.)- An Overview. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 4(1), 71-77.
Sarma, R., Das, M., Mudoi, T., Sharma, K. K., Kotoky, J., & Devi, R. (2016). Evaluation of Antioxidant and Antifungal Activities of Polyphenol-rich Extracts of Dried Pulp of Garcinia pedunculata Roxb. and Garcinia morella Gaertn. (Clusiaceae). Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 15(1), 133-140. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://ajol.info/index.php/tjpr/article/view/135423.
Sarma, R., Kumari, S., Elancheran, R., Deori, M., & Devi, R. (2016). Polyphenol Rich Extract of Garcinia pedunculata Fruit Attenuates the Hyperlipidemia Induced by High Fat Diet. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 7, 216. Retrieved 3/18/2019, from https://frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2016.00294/full.
Sonavane, K., Phillips, J., Ekshyyan, O., Moore-Medlin, T., Gill, J. R., Rong, X., Nathan, C.-A. O. (2012). Topical Curcumin-Based Cream Is Equivalent to Dietary Curcumin in a Skin Cancer Model. Journal of skin cancer, 2012, 147863-147863. Retrieved 4/12/2019, from https://hindawi.com/journals/jsc/2012/147863.
Ullrich, S. E. (2007). Sunlight and skin cancer: Lessons from the immune system. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 46(8), 629-633. Retrieved 6 2, 2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2661262