Kencur, a tropical plant belonging to the ginger family native to Southeast Asia, is commonly known for its aromatic qualities that enhance the flavor of dishes and its traditional use as a natural remedy for digestive problems. Nonetheless, researchers from Osaka Metropolitan University have uncovered promising indications suggesting that this plant possesses anti-cancer properties.
Under the leadership of Associate Professor Akiko Kojima from the Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology, the team of scientists demonstrated that extracts from Kencur, as well as its primary active compound, ethyl p-methoxycinnamate (EMC), exhibited significant inhibitory effects on the growth of cancer cells, both at the cellular and animal levels.
While prior research had suggested the anti-cancer potential of EMC by reducing the expression of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), which is associated with the proliferation of cancer cells, the precise underlying mechanism had remained unclear until now.
Professor Kojima commented, "The outcomes of this study validate the anti-cancer properties of Kencur extract and its principal active component, EMC. It is highly anticipated that TFAM will emerge as a novel indicator for gauging anti-cancer effects as research in related fields continues to progress."
Reference: “Kaempferia galanga L. extract and its main component, ethyl p-methoxycinnamate, inhibit the proliferation of Ehrlich ascites tumor cells by suppressing TFAM expression” by Yutaro Sasaki, Toshio Norikura, Isao Matsui-Yuasa, Ritsuko Fujii, Leenawaty Limantara and Akiko Kojima-Yuasa, 23 June 2023, Heliyon.