Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body.
Researchers from Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea, found that moxibustion has potential to prevent cell death and decrease the risk of gastric dysplasia, a condition where lesions in the gastric mucosa develop into cancer.
In the study published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines researchers found that moxibustion protects the gastric mucosa from developing cancer. They gave Sprague Dawley rats N-methyl-N`-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) that induced gastric precancerous lesions, an indicator of stomach cells turning abnormal. They were divided into groups that received either drug treatment or a ‘sham’ moxibustion treatment or a standard moxibustion treatment. Moxibustion groups were treated for 15 minutes every other day for 20 weeks.
According to the results, researchers found that standard moxibustion treatment was able to suppress the development of gastric precancerous lesions. Moreover, it also inhibited B-cell lymphoma 2 (bcl-2), tumor protein P53, and cellular Myc (C-MYC), which are all associated with cell death and the production of cancer cells.