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Life Sci. 2001 Mar 9;68(16):1913-21.

Asafoetida inhibits early events of carcinogenesis: a chemopreventive study.

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Department of Medical Elementology and Toxicology, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), New Delhi, India.


Ferula (a genus of many species) commonly known as asafoetida is used as a flavoring agent in food and is used as a traditional medicine for many diseases in many parts of world. In the current investigation, we report the antioxidant and anticarcinogenic potential of asafoetida (Ferula narthex) in swiss albino mice. A single dose of TPA (20 nmol/0.2 ml acetone/animal), a known tumor promoter decreased the cellular antioxidant level significantly (p<0.01) when applied topically to mice skin. It also induced the ODC activity, rate of DNA synthesis, hydrogen peroxide level, xanthine oxidase activity and protein carbonyl content in mice skin significantly (p<0.01). These events are early biomarkers of carcinogenesis. However, the pretreatment of animals with asafoetida (300, 400 and 500 microg/200 microl acetone/animal) caused the reversal of all events significantly (p<0.01). The pretreament of animals with asafoetida recovered the antioxidant level and reversed the induced ODC activity and DNA synthesis significantly (p<0.01). We conclude that asafoetida is a potent antioxidant and can afford protection against free radical mediated diseases such as carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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