[ Pharmaceutical Sciences Asia - ONLINE ]
E-ISSN 2586-8470
[ Journal Abbreviation: Pharm.Sci.Asia ]
Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  FORMER NAME   "Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences" Published Since 1974


DOI: https://doi.org/10.14456/mujps.2015.7Pharm Sci Asia 2015; 42(2), 47-54

Expectations of health benefits in plant materials in Southeast Asia based on Washoku (Japanese cuisine) study focusing on Kyo-yasai (heirloom vegetables in Kyoto)

Y. Nakamura1*, A. Sasaki1, E.Y. Park1, N. Kubo1, T. Nakamura1, Y. Kubo1, S. Okamoto2

1 Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto 606-8522, Japan
2 Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan

An assumption “plant-derived chemicals having strong flavors and tastes can contribute for human health in carcinogenesis” was built up based on studies of cancer chemoprevention and chemotherapy with Kyo-yasai (heirloom vegetables in Kyoto) in Washoku (Japanese cuisine). Since we have studied phytochemicals in Kyo-yasai, most phytochemicals revealed to accompany their biological activity with strong flavors and/or tastes. Three biological activities involved in cancer prevention and therapy (desmutagenicity, bioantimutagenicity, and differentiation-inducing effect) have been detected in Washoku materials, and some active ingredients in Kyo-yasai can be identified. In Katsura-uri (Japanese pickling melon), 3-methylthioacetic acid ethyl ester possessed all three activities and apricot fragrance. Phenethyl isothiocyanate in Mizu-na (potherb mustard), and 4-methylthio-3-butenyl isothiocyanate in Sabaga-daikon (Japanese white radish) possess the bioantimutagenicity, and anticarcinogenic effects in animal model, and also accompanied strong flavors and tastes. In plant materials in South East Asia, spearmint has distinctive flavor, and the ingredient piperitenone oxide possesses the differentiation-inducing effect. Sweet basil also showed the differentiation-inducing effect in its oleophilic fraction. Because various varieties in vegetables, fruits, and herbs are cultivated in South East Asia, and many of them possesses strong flavors and tastes, the expectations to reveal health benefits in food materials in South East Asia will be expanded in future.


Cancer, Differentiation, Antimutagen, Vegetable, Spearmint, Basil

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