TOMATO Overview Information
Tomato is a plant. The fruit is a familiar vegetable, but the fruit, leaf, and vine are used to make medicine.
Tomato is used for preventing cancer of the breast, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, stomach, lung, ovaries, pancreas, and prostate. It is also used to prevent diabetes, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), cataracts, and asthma.
Some people use tomato to treat high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, the common cold, chills, and digestive disorders.
How does it work?
Tomatoes contain a chemical called lycopene, which is thought to play a role in preventing cancer. It’s easier for the body to use lycopene that comes from tomato products, such as tomato paste or tomato juice, than from fresh tomatoes.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Purdue University researchers are developing a tomato that contains more than twice as much lycopene and has a longer shelf life than currently available tomatoes. The tomato, which is still in development, is modified with a yeast gene that slows the ripening process, allowing more time for lycopene to accumulate. Researchers think it will be several years before this tomato is on store shelves.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Preventing bladder cancer.
- Preventing breast cancer.
- Preventing diabetes.
- Cervical cancer. Some limited evidence suggests that eating more tomatoes is associated with a lower chance of developing cervical cancer.
- Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer). Research findings about the effect of tomatoes on colorectal cancer risk disagree. Some studies find that tomatoes or tomato-based products may help to reduce the chance of getting this type of cancer, but other studies that some scientists think are better designed find no benefit.
- Stomach cancer. So far, research studies do not agree on whether or not tomatoes or tomato-based products can help prevent stomach cancer.
- Lung cancer. There are mixed findings about the effect of eating tomatoes on lung cancer. Some research concludes that tomatoes or tomato-based products can help prevent lung cancer. But these studies have been criticized because they didn’t take people’s smoking behavior into account. Higher quality, large-scale studies do not show any link between eating tomato products and lung cancer risk.
- Ovarian cancer. Some research suggests that eating more tomato or drinking more tomato juice does not seem to prevent ovarian cancer; however, consuming tomato sauce two or more time per week does seem to lower the risk of getting ovarian cancer. Other evidence suggests that increased dietary intake of lycopene, particularly from tomato sauce, is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer in younger (pre-menopausal) women.
- Pancreatic cancer. Study results disagree about the effect of tomato on pancreatic cancer risk. One large-scale study shows that eating tomato or tomato-based products does not seem to prevent pancreatic cancer. However, other studies suggest that raw tomato intake, and high tomato intake in general, is associated with a reduced chance of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Prostate cancer. Study results disagree about the effect of tomato on prostate cancer risk. Some research suggests that the risk of getting prostate cancer is decreased modestly in men who eat tomato products, including tomatoes, tomato sauce, pizza, or tomato juice, one time or more per week. However, other research finds no benefit.
- Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease). Some research suggests that eating more tomato-based foods is associated with a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke in women.
- High blood pressure. Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) might modestly lower blood pressure in people with mild, untreated high blood pressure.
- Cataracts. Eating more than 3 servings of tomatoes each week may help to prevent cataracts.
- Asthma. Early research suggests that taking a specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) seems to reduce symptoms in people who get asthma attacks after or during exercise.
- Common cold.
- Digestive disorders.
- Other conditions.
TOMATO Side Effects & Safety
Tomatoes are safe when used as a food. A specific tomato extract (Lyc-O-Mato) might also be safe when used for up to eight weeks.
The tomato leaf is UNSAFE. In large amounts, tomato leaves can cause poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning may include severe mouth and throat irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, mild spasms, and death in severe cases.
Not enough is known about the safety of the tomato vine.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Tomato is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts should be avoided until more is known.
The appropriate dose of tomato for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tomato. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.