Hyderabad: The humble and quintessential sambar, which holds a special place in every household, has been found to possess anti-cancer properties. It turns out that a steaming bowl of sambar, laden with a host of Indian spices, can prevent the risk of colon cancer.
A study exploring the role of sambar in preventing colon cancer was recently taken up on mice by a group of researchers from Manipal University, Karnataka.
The results of the study, published a few months ago in National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Pubmed journal, demonstrated the antioxidant properties of sambar, which are so essential to fight cancer.
The essential ingredient of sambar is the curry powder, which is universally recognised as a strong antioxidant. The ingredients of curry powder which include coriander, fenugreek, cumin and curcumin, are known to have antioxidant properties, which are vital to fight cancer.
The Manipal University researchers demonstrated that sambar was the antioxidant in albino mice.
It comprises a variety of spices that exhibit antioxidant properties in different tissues, leading to overall beneficial effect on the animal models, which were infected with colon cancer, the study said.
In fact, a similar study, but this time on curcumin, a vital ingredient of sambar, and its anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant nature, was demonstrated by a researcher from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Dr. Kutala Vijay Kumar.
The NIMS researcher, who had collaborated with IICT, had developed a novel technique by which curcumin was used to effectively kill cancer cells.
“It’s a fact that curcumin is therapeutic, helps in treating respiratory diseases like asthma and liver disorders. It’s a proven anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant,” Dr. Kumar points out.
The Manipal University study said that Indian spices had inherited a rich tradition for their flavour and medicinal properties. Researchers have been oriented towards spices present in food items for their anti-tumour properties.