Clove is one of the famous spices used in kitchen holds for different dishes in different cuisines. People from ages have considered clove to have medicinal properties and have also used the same in certain fields of medicine such as Ayurveda. It has bioactive compounds such as tannins, terpenoids, eugenol, and acetyl eugenol. Cloves can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and work in various cancer cells.
In the past few decades, the treatment available for cancer have increased tremendously. From chemotherapy to radiotherapy to gene therapy, the enhancement of treatments is huge. Even after such improvements, there is a lack of complete success. This has led to the tendency of patients and their families to lean towards more authentic herbal aids. Many of these aids are available in our very own kitchen. One such ingredient is the dried flower bud with a specific fragrance - Clove.
Eugenol, one of the main bio-compounds present in clove, is an aromatic pale yellowish liquid that has low chemical stability. Due to this characteristic feature, Eugenol is susceptible to oxidation and many other biochemical activities. Eugenol also possesses other features such as anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-allergic, analgesic and anti-tumor activities. Generally, Eugenol prevents the generation of the reactive form of nitrogen, increases cyto-antioxidant properties, shift-free radicals, and hinders the manufacture of reactive oxygen species. It can also remove damaged molecules, repair oxidative damage and also prevent cancer-causing mutations.
According to literature, clove essential oil’s bioactivity was significantly matched with many of the pathways that involved inflammation, stress response, tissue remolding, cell cycle regulation, cancer signaling, and cellular metabolism. This indicated that clove plays an important role in many physiological and biological processes.
Anti-inflammatory and Pro-wound healing capacity:
Studies suggest that essential oil extracted from cloves has anti-inflammatory effects and pro-wound healing capacities. A study done on the biomarkers present in dermal fibroblast cells revealed that the essential oils reduced the activity of 17 biomarkers. A significant decrease was seen in markers such as the vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), interferon gamma-induced protein 10 (IP-10), monokine induced by gamma interferon (MIG), interferon-inducible T-cell alpha chemoattractant (I-TAC). Decrease in tissue remodeling protein molecules such as collagen 1,3, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2), and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) was observed. The observations indicated that the clove essential oil may have the potential anti-inflammatory and pro-wound healing properties.
Effect on Human Breast Carcinoma:
Work on breast, colorectal, lung and leukemic cell lines have been conducted to check the effect of clove extracts and some positive effects have been observed when these cell lines were exposed to the same. One such cell lines used was the human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7). Studies to induce DNA damage and apoptosis in this cell line via clove extracts were performed. The results demonstrated the intrinsic caspase-induced cell death which was associated with oxidative stress. This was in turn mediated by oxygen and nitrogen. When the cells were co-treated with clove bud extracts and pan caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FM, it was observed that the cell death was not due to the cytotoxicity of clove bud extracts, but instead was due to caspase-dependent activities in the cell.
Effect on Colorectal Cancer:
A comparative study conducted on normal epithelial colon cells (NCM-460) and colorectal cancer cell lines (Caco-2, SW-620) demonstrated that Eugenol decreased the vitality of colon cancer cells and showed only a mere cytotoxic effect on normal colon cells. The cell cycle stages were targeted by Eugenol. In Caco-2, the G2 phase was inhibited, whereas in SW-620, accumulation of cells in the G1 phase was observed. The cell cycle of the normal cell line (NCM-40) was not affected. This inferred that eugenol could be used for treating and/or preventing colorectal cancers.
Effect on Cervical Cancer:
Anti-tumor and anti-metastatic properties of eugenol were studied in HeLa cell lines. A boost of apoptosis was observed when the cells were treated with eugenol. This was particularly due to the expression of caspase-3 and p53 proteins. The effects observed were dose-dependent meaning varying concentrations of eugenol were used for studying the effects on HeLa cells. It was observed that at 50-200 micromolar concentrations, these cells experienced a cytotoxic effect. The cell migration was hindered due to the anti-cancer properties of eugenol; it was noticed that as the concentration of eugenol was increased the invasion of the cells were repressed.
A particular cell adhesion molecule named E-cadherin is a marker for EMT (Epithelial-mesenchymal transition). Usually, during cervical cancer, this molecule is either very low in number or is just not present which influences the migration of cancer. Some studies have demonstrated the boost of anti-cancer properties of eugenol when it is combined with cisplatin. This combination damaged the cell number in G0/G1 phase, and also disrupted the caspase-3 activity along with mitochondrial membrane potential. Even though more research is required, the experimentations done so far have provided enough proofs that clove extracts (containing essential oils and eugenol) can be a potential treatment for treating different cancers as well as other diseases.
Boil 2-3 cloves in water and consume the same; preferably empty stomach early in the morning.