German scientists recently discovered that chili peppers, or the scent of a fresh sea breeze, could stop breast cancer in its tracks.
According to a research in the journal Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy, capsaicin, the substance responsible for the hotness of pepper, and another chemical called helional, that mimics the scent of sea air both inhibit tumor growth in the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
Capsaicin and the helional act upon a receptor found in tumor cells in a way that could lead to new types of treatment. A statement from Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, the university in western Germany where the scientists were based, explains that when the substances were added to cell cultures containing the receptors, “the cancer cells divided more slowly. Moreover, the treatment caused tumor cells to die in larger numbers.”
Because the cells left behind could no longer move as quickly as they should, the university stated, the researchers deduced that the cells were being prevented from forming metastases, which are secondary cancerous growths that spread from the original tumor site.