[Sca-cooks] Fwd: [ANSAX-L] News: woad to be used in battling cancer

Sandra Kisner sjk3 at cornell.edu
Tue Aug 15 05:06:02 PDT 2006

Well, it's *sort of* cooking related - they mention broccoli.  And it's 
*sort of* period, as it mentions woad's original use....  And no, I'm not 
going to quote Peter David's book title.


>Ancient Britons' war paint drafted in to help battle against disease
>by Natasha Tian
>The Scotsman, August 14, 2006
>Woad, once used as war paint by ancient Britons to strike fear into the 
>hearts of their enemies, could now be used in the battle against cancer.
>Scientists have discovered that the plant Isatis tinctoria, is a rich 
>source of an anti-tumour compound glucobrassicin (GBS), which is also 
>found in broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and is believed to be especially 
>active against breast cancer.
>A recent paper from Dr Stefania Galletti's research team at the University 
>of Bologna, Italy, found that woad contains 20 times more of the cancer- 
>fighting compound glucobrassicin (GBS) than broccoli. Like its relatives, 
>the woad plant uses the compound as a defence mechanism to ward off insect 
>pests, releasing extra levels of GBS when damaged by chemicals or after 
>physical injury.
>Researchers have boosted the plant's output dramatically by puncturing its 
>leaves to mimic wounds left by insects and hope the quantities obtained 
>will be high enough to use in clinical trials.
>A recent study found a significant correlation between increased brassica 
>consumption and reduced levels of lung cancer chemicals in smokers.
>Other research indicates GBS may act against breast cancer by flushing out 
>derivatives of the hormone oestrogen. However, levels of the compound are 
>quite low in vegetables such as broccoli and it is mixed with other 
>substances, making GBS difficult to extract and purify for patients' use 
>in clinical trials.
>Woad might provide scientists with the first cheap, rich source of the 
>compound, the research suggests.
>Woad was used by tribes living in ancient Britain to colour their faces 
>and bodies. Among them were the Iceni, led by Queen Boudicca,
>who went into battle against the Romans naked but painted blue.
>The plant dye was highly prized in the Middle Ages but was largely 
>replaced by cheaper, imported indigo in the 16th century.
>*Glucobrassicin enhancement in woad (Isatis tinctoria) leaves by chemical 
>and physical treatments*
>Stefania Galletti, Jessica Barillari, Renato Iori, Gianpietro Venturi
>  Reminder: For assistance write to Bill Schipper (schipper at mun.ca)

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