Disclaimer: The findings discussed are lab based and further studies need to be done.
What makes maple products so great? The maple “health secret” lies in a compound called quebecol. There have been numerous studies that show this chemical in maple syrup extracts has antioxidant and antimutagenic properties including the ability to inhibit human cancer cell growth.
A study at the University of Rhode Island looked at how quebecol inhibits cancer in cervical, ovarian, breast, and colon cells. The results showed that quebecol, and closely related compounds, were able to effectively kill these cancer cells. This groundbreaking information opens the door for this compound to serve as a potential cancer prevention drug.
This is exciting news and the even better news is there are already drugs on the market that are similar to this compound. A common chemotherapy drug, Tamoxifen, is widely used to treat breast cancer and is remarkably similar to quebecol. But, Tamoxifen is known to have more severe side effects. Quebecol could be a future alternative treatment method, as it has been consumed for centuries, like in maple syrup, without showing any toxic effects.
Reference: Pericherla, K.; Shirazi, A.N.; Rao, V.K.; Tiwari, R.; DaSilva, N.; Mccaffrey, K.T.; Beni, Y.A.; González-Sarrías, A.; Seeram, N.P.; Parang, K.; Kumar, A. Synthesis and antiproliferative activities of quebecol and its analogs. Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2013, 23, 5329-5331. https://web.uri.edu/maple/synthesis-and-antiproliferative-activities-of-quebecol-and-its-analogs/