Natural COX-2 inhibitors

I found heaps of very useful information in Dr. Roberto Benelli (an Italian urologist)’s books on prostate cancer and curcumin. To be honest, it’s hard to decide where to begin. Today’s chosen topic: natural COX-2 inhibitors. I have written a bit about this enzyme, COX-2, which is an independent signal of a poor outcome in MM (see my Ellagic Acid Part II post). For comparison purposes, I added a list of natural NF-kB inhibitors, too. I copied both lists from Dr. Benelli’s book titled L’Inibizione delle Vie di Segnale Cellulare: il €˜Curcumin,’ published in 2006. (Co-author: Marco Gavazzi.)

Four compounds are on both lists–curcumin, EGCG, quercetin and resveratrol–which is good to know. My most interesting new discovery: holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), is a COX-2 inhibitor. Needless to say, I am adding holy basil to my future research list. Here are the lists:

Natural COX-2 inhibitors: holy basil, berberine , curcumin, EGCG, ginger, common hop, fish oil, oregano, quercetin, resveratrol, rosemary, Chinese skullcap, vitamins A, E

Natural NF-kB inhibitors: allicin, curcumin, EGCG, genistein, gingko biloba, melatonin, quercetin, resveratrol, silymarin, sulphoraphane, vitamins A, C, E

I looked up the items I didn’t recognize on Wikipedia: berberine is a plant alkaloid present in herbs such as berberis (barberry) and goldenseal; Chinese skullcap is also know as Scutellaria baicalensis, which is on my list of substances to be studied because, guess what?, one of its components has anti-MM effects (antiproliferative and apoptotic effects) in vitro. Yippee. I will post that information soon. Let’s see, what else? Silymarin is extracted from milk thistle, and sulphorophane is a well-known anti-cancer compound found in cruciferous vegetables €”broccoli, etc. Allicin, of course, is extracted from garlic, and genistein from soy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Benelli publicly for his kindness in sending me these books. La ringrazio davvero tanto!

1 Comment

  1. Hi Margaret.

    You have pulled together a lot of useful info on your blog. Thanks.

    I have been using curcumin for a number of years to reduce inflammation in Crohn’s and psoriasis / psoriatic arthritis. Both COX-2 and NF-kB are over-expressed in these conditions.

    I’ve also tried a number of the “nutraceuticals” you listed to see what works in reducing inflammation. I’m pretty careful about what conclusions I draw … and I have enough clinically detectable inflammation to see positive and negative effects.

    Curcumin seems to work pretty well. (Much of the inflammation in Crohn’s occurs in the digestive tract … so the poor bioavailability may be less of an issue.) Biocurcumax does seem to work a bit better than C3. Taking quercetin and/or piperine at the same time seems to help as well, but it is hard to be sure. Overall, the effect is positive – that much i can say.

    The big positive surprise for me has been silymarin / silibinin. For me, it produces fairly rapid (and reproducible) declines in inflammation. The effect is obvious for me.

    Fish oil has positive effects, as well. EGCG had no detectable effect. The jury is out on resveratrol which I’ve just started.

    The negative surprise has been vitamin E, which consistently makes things worse, whether taken as alpha tocopherol, gamma tocopherol, or tocotrienols. The other negative surprise has been boswella, which makes my psoriatic arthritis worse, and quickly.

    I don’t know whether my experience trying to inhibit NF-K and COX-2 is relevant to you, but I thought I would share my experiences.

    Take care.

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