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Herbs and other botanicals in cancer patient care

Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Current Treatment Options in Oncology (Impact Factor: 3.24). 08/2008; 9(2-3):109-16. DOI: 10.1007/s11864-008-0061-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OPINION STATEMENT: Non-prescription herbal remedies are commonly used by cancer patients in efforts to control their disease or to manage symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatments. We address the issues surrounding the use of herbs, herbal compounds, and other botanical agents in the oncology context. Botanicals are biologically active agents that can be useful under appropriate circumstances, but they may be counterproductive when used by patients on chemotherapy or on other prescription medications. Herbs and other botanical agents, despite common public belief, are not benign. They should be understood as unrefined pharmaceuticals, with the capacity to produce physiologic change for better or worse. Indeed, many prescription drugs, chemotherapeutic agents among them, were derived from plants and other natural agents, and the search for additional constituents of plants, animals, and minerals for use as pharmaceutical agents remains an active effort on many fronts. Cautions, appropriate application, and potential utility of botanical agents are discussed below, and sources of reliable information are provided.

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    • "Knowledge about plants that were found to be most effective against particular ailments was passed down to the succeeding generations. These caches of ancient wisdom encompassed diagnostic techniques, instructions for preparation of remedies and instructions about which herbs should be prepared with specific other natural products to achieve optimal results [1]. Herbal remedies and alternative medicines are used throughout the world and in the past herbs often represented the original sources of most drugs [2] [3] [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Scutellaria species (Lamiaceae) is used as a source of flavonoids to treat a variety of diseases in traditional medicine. In spite of many reports about the cytotoxic and antitumor effects of some species of this genus, anticancer researches on one of the Iranian species S. litwinowii have not yet been conducted. The cytotoxic properties of total methanol extract of S. litwinowii and its fractions were investigated on different cancer cell lines including AGS, HeLa, MCF-7, PC12 and NIH 3T3. Meanwhile, the role of apoptosis in this toxicity was explored. The cells were cultured in DMEM medium and incubated with different concentrations of herb plant extracts. Cell viability was quantitated by MTT assay. Apoptotic cells were determined using propidium iodide staining of DNA fragmentation by flow cytometry (sub-G1 peak). Scutellaria litwinowii inhibited the growth of malignant cells in a dose-dependent manner. Among solvent fractions of S. litwinowii, the methylene chloride fraction was found to be more toxic compared to other fractions. The IC(50) values of this fraction against AGS, HeLa, MCF-7 and PC12 cell lines after 24 h were determined, 121.2 ± 3.1, 40.9 ± 2.5, 115.9 ± 3.5 and 64.5 ± 3.4 μg/ml, respectively. Scutellaria litwinowii induced a sub-G1 peak in the flow cytometry histogram of treated cells compared to control cells indicating that apoptotic cell death is involved in S. litwinowii toxicity. Scutellaria litwinowii exerts cytotoxic and proapototic effects in a variety of malignant cell lines and could be considered as a potential chemotherapeutic agent in cancer treatment.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12/2009; 2011(1741-427X):160682. DOI:10.1093/ecam/nep214 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "It is a noteworthy trend that botanical therapeutics has been receiving a great attention in order to reduce chemotherapy-associated side effects. In this regard, it is interesting to note that up to 60% of cancer patients use herbal supplements during or after chemotherapy in the USA [5]. Of those, flavonoids are known to display a wide variety of biological functions including antioxidative functions and anticancer activity [6]. "
  • Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism &amp Toxicology 03/2009; 5(2):105-7. DOI:10.1517/17425250802685233 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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