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Medicinal Plants For Cancer Treatment

What is cancer?

Cancer is a major global health problem with significant death rates. Ten million cases were diagnosed in 1996, and the number of diagnosed cases in 2020 is estimated to increase to 20 million. With some probability, cancer will become the leading cause of death worldwide, exceeding the combined death rates AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Cancer occurs due to the overgrowth of cells in a body. There are different kinds of cancer but the main cause of cancer is out-of-control growth of abnormal cells which destroys normal cells. There’s no certain way to prevent cancer. But doctors have identified several ways of reducing the risk of it. 

 The toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs sometimes creates a significant problem in the treatment of cancer using medicine and the people of near east largely depend on medicinal plants for cancer to fight or prevent cancer. But in chemotherapy, due to nonselectivity of used medicines, a high percentage of healthy cells will be destroyed with cancer cells. Nowadays, more than 60% of anticancer compounds that are useful for cancer patients are obtained from herbal, marine, and microorganism sources.

The positive effects of plants in cancer treatment have been studied extensively and have shown positive results. Various therapies have been propounded for the treatment of cancer, many of which use plant-derived products. 

Medicinal plants for cancer 

The anticancer properties of plants have been recognized for centuries. “Our findings provide new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for cancer treatment, and pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents.” Says Koh Hwee Ling

The researches lay emphasis on avoiding self-medicating.

Achillea wilhelmsii

Achillea wilhelmsii is also known as the Yarrow. It is a native herb of Iran. Achillea is an important medicinal plant which has a lot of qualities including; antibacterial, antiphlogistic, analgesic and antispasmodic qualities. Methanol extracts and essence of leaves of this plant have cytotoxic effects on colon cancer cells (HT-29) and cytotoxic effects of essence are higher.

Allium sativum L

Allium sativum is a strongly aromatic bulb crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is renowned throughout the world for its distinctive flavour as well as its healthy properties.  Allium sativum is a native plant of Central Asia. It reduces the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer, lyrnx, colon, womb, gullet and bladder cancer. It suppresses the proliferation of leukemia and kills the over-grown cells. 

Astragalus cytosus

Astragalus is also known as milkvetch, locoweed, goat’s thron and it is mostly found in northern hemisphere. According to a clinical study, 21 lungs cancer patients responded positively to Astragalus’s extract. Flavonoids of this plant can direct carcinoma cells to apoptosis.  

Boswellia serrate

 It is also known as sallaki or indian oil-banum. Boswellia grows in South Asian region.  It reduces the viability of the cells, inhibits the tumor growth and induces apoptosis. 

Curcuma longa

Curcuma is commonly called Turmeric. It is native herb of South Asia. its extract on telomerase activity in breast cancer showed anti-proliferative and inhibitory effects of telomerase. plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of primary ovarian cancer, and multiple clinical studies have proven its effectiveness.

Glycyrrhiza glabra

It is also known as Liquorice and is a native herb of Middle East. Its root lead to morphological changes in the mammary cell line 4T1 and reduce their viability. Its compounds can impose their anticancer effects through antioxidant properties and inhibit the proliferation of plant cell.

Viola Tricolor 

Viola is also known as jhonny jump jump and it is native herb plant of North America.  Aqueous extract of this plant has a strong inhibitory effect on proliferation of cervical cancer, and the active ingredient of the plant responsible for this effect is ethyl acetate. Its compounds have cytotoxic effects.

Urtica Dioica

Urtica is also known as common nettle and it is commonly found in Europe. Plant compounds with antioxidant phenol compounds are those that may have an important role to prevent cancer. In a study, the anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells by nettle root extract has been proven.  

Thymus vulgaris L

It is commonly called as thyme. Thyme is native to south eastern Europe and western Mediterranean. This plant has a variety of compounds, including flavonoids. Thymol and carvacrol are the most important plant phenol compounds that are useful in the treatment of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. 

Rosa damascenes Mill

Rosa damascenes is commonly called as Damask Rose. It can grow in different temperate and climate conditions. Rosa Damascena essential oil affects gastric cancer cells in 2 specific ways: the soluble phase increases cell viability, while the vapor phase decreases cell survival. Also, flow cytometry showed that apoptosis is the important mechanism accompanied with cell death. 

Physalis alkekengi

 It is also known as Chinese lantern and winter cherry. It naturally grows in Northern Asia, Southern Europe and south Asia. Anticancer cytotoxic activity of physalins B and M extracted from the plant on cancer cells (especially human cell line HeLa and Hepatum cell lines SMMC-7721 and HL-60) is verified.

Olea Europaea

Commonly known as the Olive and is the native of  the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands and Réunion. acidic triterpenes found in olive oil can inhibit tumor cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in some categories. Two of these compounds, maslinic acid and oleanolic acid, have antitumor effect on colon cancer model.  


  • Steve is a pioneer writer for Herbatico since day one. Mike has over 7 years of experience in writing articles in health niches.

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