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03.12.2010


Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as tamoxifen

Carthamus tinctorius
The seeds of the safflower scientific name Carthamus tinctorius contain a lignan that blocks the effect of estradiol in cells as effectively as tamoxifen does, according to pharmacologists at Seoul National University.

Long-term use of tamoxifen [used to treat breast cancer] increases the risk of ovarian cancer in women. The Koreans are looking for alternatives to tamoxifen in the plant world. In their article they describe how they bought safflower seed [see picture here of the flower] in a shop, and isolated various compounds that they then tested for anti-estrogenic effects.

The figure below shows how the Koreans discovered that one of the safflower seed extracts wipes out the effect of estradiol.


Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as tamoxifen

Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as tamoxifen


Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as tamoxifen


Tracheloside
The compound that does this is tracheloside, a lignan. The substance itself does nothing to estradiol-sensitive cells. But if you add 2 nanomols estradiol to the cells, then tracheloside reduces the effect of the hormone. The more tracheloside, the less effect the estradiol has, as the figure above shows.

The anti-estrogenic effect of tracheloside is comparable to that of tamoxifen. At a concentration of 0.31 microg/ml, half of the estradiol effect disappears. Tamoxifen has the same effect at a concentration of 0.43 microg/ml.

Whether the human body is capable of deactivating estradiol by taking tracheloside, the researchers are not prepared to say. Their doubts are based on what is known about arctiin, a compound related to tracheloside.


Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as tamoxifen


Tracheloside is an ingredient in the bodybuilding supplement Arimedex HD. You'd be forgiven for thinking tracheloside is a difficult name. That's why the manufacturers prefer to call it (3s, 4s)-4-[(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)methyl]-3-hydroxy-3-[[3-methoxy-4-[(2s,3r, 4s,5r,6r)-3,4,5-trihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl) oxan-2-yl]oxy-phenyl]methyl]-oxolan-2-one. Much easier to comprehend.

Source:
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2006 Nov; 70(11): 2783-5.

More:
Goji berries are anti-estrogenic 07.06.2010
Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen 28.08.2009
Grape Seed Extract inhibits aromatase 05.08.2009