For the patients of oral cancer, scientists have developed a herbal mouthwash that can help reduce the degree of pain caused due to radiation therapy.
The mouthwash is developed, clinically tested and patented by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), under the Department of Biotechnology, along with the Regional Cancer Centre in Kerala.
A controlled clinical trial involving 148 oral cancer patients is still in the process. As part of the trial, around half the patients were given the herbal mouthwash four times daily. The other group was given soda saline mouthwash. They were examined weekly by a physician.
"By Day 22 of the treatment, when the radiation is most damaging, patients in the group administered the mouthwash had significantly lower pain and reduced use of analgesics and antibiotics compared to the control group," said the report.
Researchers at the Kerala-based RGCB are of the view that the mouthwash will help oral cancer patients get rid of the problems associated with oral mucolitis, a painful side-effect of radiation therapy of the patients.
RGCB director M Radhakrishna Pillai said, "The herbal mouthwash, by mitigating the toxicity associated with radiation therapy, could have a significant impact on improving the treatment continuity and cure rates for oral cancer."
He added, "The mouthwash is a simple supernatant liquid obtained by dissolving in water equal quantities of powdered dried leaves and bark of neem (Azadiracta indica); fruits of amla (Emblica officinalis), yellow myrobalan/haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and beleric myrobalan/bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica); and dried liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) roots."
The plants used to make the herbal mouthwash are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts where their anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, mucolytic or analgesic properties are mentioned.globe and two-thirds of the cases are found in developing countries.
According to Pillai, the high degree of pain prevents patients from completing the radiotherapy process. But the use of mouthwash can now reduce toxicity, lower treatment and hospitalisation costs and allow patients to complete the treatment.globe and two-thirds of the cases are found in developing countries.
According to WHO, oral cancer is the 11th most common cancer across the globe and two-thirds of the cases are found in developing countries.