Numerous researches from different universities all over the world have spent a good amount of time investigating the pharmacological properties of plants. A publication in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology stated that there are three effective species that can inhibit the growth of cancers. Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world where one out of four or five people develop it at some point in their lives. Cancer is estimated to continue rising while its survivors will increase as cancer care improves. Many researchers have decided to create awareness on several tropical plants that provide anti-cancer benefits, and they include:
Achillea grows in different areas including Iran. It has different species and the plant is short, gramineous and perennial. It has been proven that the methanol extracts and essence of the leaves have cytotoxic effects on colon cancer cells. These essence effects are very high.
Additionally, methanol extract from the leaves has been shown to provide benefits to cancer of the stomach and breast. This extract contains phenol compounds specifically flavonoids which effectively suppress reproduction of cancer cells through inducing apoptosis.
Allium Sativum L
Studies show that Allium sativum and organosulfur compounds help reduce the risks of cancer in bladder, lungs, gullet, skin, womb, breast and larynx. This plant contains an active compound, Allicin, which has anti-tumor properties in breast and prostate cancers. Allicin induces planned deaths of cancerous cells. Crushing and cracking up Allium sativum produces Allicin 1 which is converted to Allicin 2 under the effect of an enzyme. This compound is known to inhibit the growth of malignant human cells. Also, the plant has another important compound called Ajoene which suppresses leukemia and causes a planned death of the cells.
Astragalus cytosus is a perennial plant which reproduces through seeds. It has more than 200 species which grow in Iran. The effects of toxicity of this plant are well shown in research on HeLa cancer cells. In addition to that, a clinical study of 24 patients with lung cancer, 21 of them showed a positive response to the plant’s extracts. Flavonoid present in the plant has been shown to direct carcinoma cells to apoptosis or death.
Ammi majus belongs to the Apiaceae family and is an annual and dicotyledonous plant. The plant is commonly found in Europe, Mediterranean area, Western Asia and India. Its ethanol extract has been found to have a toxic effect on cancer cells. It contains Comorian compounds (part of phenol compounds) which are the major contributors to the biological activities of the plant. Researches confirm the toxicity of this plant’s compounds on cancer cell lineages and are said to induce apoptosis, planned death of cells. Moreover, the compounds play an anticancer role by inhibiting cytochrome activity. ”
Artemisia has 200 to 400 species that have bitter flowers. These species have effects on breast cancer cells by inhibiting their growth, inducing death, preventing cell migration and decrease responses of core receptors. Thus, they provide anticancer effects on leukemia and breast cancer. What’s more, methanol and ethanol extracts of this plant inhibit colon cancer.
Ammi visnaga grows in Mediterranean areas and is divided into three components: Algerian, furanochromones, and flavonoid. The plant has antibacterial, antifungal and therapeutic effects. Studies have established the killing effects of different extracts of this plant on cancer cells.
This is a kind of a tea plant whose extracts are obtained from the buds and petals of a fresh herb. During tea making, there is little oxidation process. The tea provides a good source of caffeine, theophylline, thinning and antioxidants which inhibit the activities of prostate cancer cells. Therefore, the anti-tumor effects of green tea on prostate cancer have been proven. Additionally, the tea has cytotoxic effects on breast cancer due to the presence of polyphenols. Research done in China concluded that green tea intake habits such as regular and greater consumption are linked to a reduced risk of gastric cancer.
Saffron (Crocus Sativus L)
Stigma, also known as saffron is the used part of this plant. Studies on the effects of saffron on human cancer cells have been done and confirmed that it induces apoptosis. In fact, saffron extract exerts its anticancer effects by inhibiting DNA synthesis. However, precaution should be taken when consuming saffron since high doses can be harmful. In addition, other studies have shown that saffron plays an important role in the death of HeLa and HepG2 cells. It has been said without a doubt that saffron can be used as a chemotherapeutic agent to treat cancer in humans.
Several tropical plants can be used to provide anti-cancer benefits to people but some have undesirable side effects if overused. Apart from that, the compounds in these plants have antioxidant properties and prevent the damage to DNA and cell cycle. The above plants have been proven to have anticancer effects.
Image2: Dwight Sipler on Flickr