Non-melanoma skin cancer can now be treated with the help of sap from
the common garden weed Euphorbia pelpus (petty spurge), according to Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research
in Brisbane, Australia whose study was published in the British Journal
of Dermatology. This study involved about 36 patients who collectively had 48
non-melanoma lesions on the skin. The sap was applied on the skin once a day
for three days. Positive results were seen after a month. On clinical
examination 41 of the 48 lesions showed no trace of the tumor. Scientists observed that this treatment was most effective against intra-epidermal
The researchers say further studies are required to test the active ingredient
called 'Ignenol mebutate' in the weed's sap. Studies so far have shown that
Ingenol mebutate when applied to skin kills the cancerous cells and recruits
white blood cells (neutrophils) that appear to reduce the risk of relapse by
destroying any residual malignant cells that can allow the re-growth of the tumor.
However patients should not try this at home, as
the experiments are still on and the weed can irritate the skin.