Scientists have claimed to have detected anti-cancer properties in three traditional varieties of rice found in Chhattisgarh.
A research has concluded that three medicinal varieties of rice – Gathwan, Maharaji, and Laicha – have the ability to fight cancer, said scientist Deepak Sharma.
The research was conducted by the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV), Raipur and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Mumbai.
These varieties were taken from the rice germplasm bank preserved in IGKV, said Sharma, principal scientist at the genetics and plant breeding department of the agriculture university.
The three varieties of rice have properties to cure lungs and breast cancers without affecting normal cells.
Of them, Laicha has been found to be the most effective in preventing the proliferation of cancer cells and destroying them, he said.
Last year, IGKV, affiliated to the University Grants Commission, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BARC for carrying out a range of research on various crops.
As a part the agreement, a study is being carried out on these three varieties of rice under the guidance of V P Venugopalan, Associate Director, BioScience Group, BARC and other scientists, he said.
Sharma, who is also the coordinator for researches being carried as a part of the MoU, said Gathwan, Maharaji, and Laicha have been used for medicinal purpose in many pockets of the state, particularly in the tribal region of Bastar.
Gathwan also has the property to cure arthritis.
Similarly, Laicha has been used in treating skin-related problems by villagers in some areas, the scientist said.
These varieties of rice also showed properties to prevent multiplication of cancer cells without affecting the normal cells, he said.
Certain elements in these rice varieties not only prevented the multiplication of cancer cells but also destroyed them to a significant extent, he said.
The research concluded that the necessary active ingredient can be achieved by consuming 200 gm of these varieties of rice daily by a person, he said.
In the next stage of research, BARC scientists are trying to extract the anti-cancer ingredients or elements from these varieties and conduct trials on the mouse.
Subsequently, they plan to develop it as a dietary supplement which will be easy for consumption for people, he said.
Describing the findings as a significant achievement, IGKV Vice-Chancellor S K Patil said very soon these three varieties of rice will be used in the treatment of cancer.
He said several research projects are underway to identify medicinal properties of Chhattisgarh’s traditional varieties of rice preserved by late R H Richharia, a renowned researcher.