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Keywords:

  • herbs;
  • screening;
  • cancer;
  • wild yam;
  • frankincense;
  • teasel;
  • myrrh

Abstract

There is growing use of anticancer complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) worldwide. The purpose of the current study is to assess a sizeable variety of natural and plant sources of diverse origin, to ascertain prospective research directives for cancer treatment and potential new chemotherapy drug sources. In this study, 374 natural extracts (10 µg/mL–5 mg/mL) were evaluated for dose-dependent tumoricidal effects using immortal neuroblastoma of spontaneous malignant origin. The findings indicate no pattern of tumoricidal effects by diverse plants with similar families/genus under the classes Pinopsida, Equisetopsida, Lycopodiosida, Filicosida, Liliopsida Monocotyledons or Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons. The results indicate that many of the most commonly used CAMs exhibited relatively weak tumoricidal effects including cats claw, astragalus, ginseng, echinacea, mistletoe, milk thistle, slippery elm, cayenne, chamomile, don quai, meadowsweet, motherwort and shepherd's purse. The data demonstrate that the most potent plant extracts were randomly dispersed within the plantae kingdom (LC50 = 31–490 µg/mL) in order of the lowest LC50 Dioscorea villosa (Dioscoreaceae) > Sanguinaria canadensis (Papaveraceae) > Dipsacus asper (Dipsacaceae) > Populus balsamifera (Salicaceae) > Boswellia carteri (Burseraceae) > Cyamopsis psoralioides (Fabaceae) > Rhamnus cathartica (Rhamnaceae) > Larrea tridentate (Zygophyllaceae) > Dichroa febrifuga (Hydrangeaceae) > Batschia canescens (Boraginaceae) > Kochia scoparia (Chenopodiaceae) > Solanum xanthocarpum (Solanaceae) > Opoponax chironium (Umbelliferae) > Caulophyllum thalictroides (Berberidaceae) > Dryopteris crassirhizoma (Dryopteridaceae) > Garcinia cambogia (Clusiaceae) > Vitex agnus-castus (Verbenaceae) > Calamus draco (Arecaceae). These findings show tumoricidal effect by extracts of wild yam root, bloodroot, teasel root, bakuchi seed, dichroa root, kanta kari, garcinia fruit, mace, dragons blood and the biblically referenced herbs: balm of gilead bud, frankincense and myrrh gum. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.