WHAT IS FAGONIA CRETICA
Fagonia Cretica (also known as Dhamasa, Suchi Booti and Virgin’s Mantle) is a plant which is member of the family Zygophyllaceae and found in arid areas of the world and specially in Pakistan. It is traditionally used against various health issues ranging from skin lesions to lethal cancer as it contains novel compounds responsive in diseases that are still considered as incurable or are curable with serious side effects.
Fagonia Cretica is a bitter, astringent and cooling herb. It is known for its stimulative, anti inflammatory, anti oxidant and thrombolytic properties. It helps to purify blood and decompose blood clots to help control hemorrhage and heart problems. It is also considered to support healthy liver functions and is a herb of choice for cancer treatment.
- Is the best blood purifier and decomposes blood clots to save from brain hemorrhage and heart problems
- It’s flowers and leaves can treat all types of Cancers, Thalasemia and PCOS/PCOD.
- Can be used for cooling effect – Treats all types of Hepatitis.
- Strengthens liver and prevents/cures liver cancer.
- Improves heart and mental ability.
- Is helpful in treatment of body pains.
- Cures allergies.
- Heals pimples and other dermatology problems.
- Strengthens stomach.
- Alleviates symptoms like vomiting, thirst and burning sensation, etc.
- Increases physical strength and weight of the weak and under weight people.
- Helps control weight for bulky persons.
- Cures mouth and gum disorders.
- Normalizes blood pressure disorders.
- Treats asthma and breathing difficulty.
- Helps recover from smoking side-effects.
- It’s hot infusion is given to prevent small pox.
- It increases urination and hence overhauls the kidneys and urination system.
- It is applied over neck stiffness.
- Being spermatogenic, improves sperm count in semen and helps normalizing the male and female reproductive systems.
- Perfectly controls Leucorrhoea disorders in women.
- Perfectly cures Atthra, an incurable female disease in Allopathic, in which blue or black spots appear in various parts of body skin. This disease leads to womb related disorders such as miscarriage, birth of dead child or immediate death of infant soon after delivery. Some babies die before birth in the ovary. Most pregnancies end with abortion and if not aborted, the infant dies.
There have been several studies on the Fagonia Cretica Plant. One such study was conducted by Amutul R Carmichael and Helen Griffith of Aston University and Russells Hall Hospital who concluded “Our findings indicate that Fagonia Cretica aqueous extract contains potential anti-cancer agents acting either singly or in combination against breast cancer cell proliferation via DNA damage-induced FOXO3a and p53 expression.” Read More
Another study was carried out by Ahsan Hussain, Muhammad Yousuf Irfan Zia, and Bushra Mirza in 2007 wherein they concluded “… the extract did not show any lethal activity against Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains, and furthermore, no DNA damaging activity was observed. The overall results indicate a strong anti-cancerous potential of this plant.” Read More
Samreen Saleem, a Biochemistry Doctoral Student at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad concluded in her paper that “… results from the present study are in agreement with the ethno-botanical or traditional use of F. cretica against cancer growth. The current research work has established that F. cretica is a rich source of glycosides and certainly possesses significant anticancer activity against breast cancer cells.” Read More
Dr. Haidar Abd Algadir, a plant taxonomist at Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute National Research Center, Khartoum, Sudan mentions in his research that “Fagonia cretica L. exhibited antimicrobial activity against bacterial strains. It also reported that the plant aqueous extract has an anti breast cancer effect without exhibiting common side effects of standard cytotoxic therapy” Read More
Researchers Saleh I. Alqasoumi, Hasan S. Yusufoglu and Aftab Alam of
Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, Al Kharj University and King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducted tests from gels made from this plant for wound healing properties and concluded that “the plant is safe for use as no mortality was recorded in the acute toxicity test and exhibited a good wound healing effect comparable to those of Betadine. The study has thus, provided some rationalization for the folkloric use of the plant in several communities for conditions, such as inflammation, boils, skin eruptions and other skin diseases” Read More
Can We Really Treat Thalassemia Major?
Rashid A. Seyal, Siraj M. Tareen, Hayat M. Awan
Department of Medicine, Seyal Medical Centre, Multan, Pakistan
It was for the first time in 1976, perhaps, that we got interested in this herbal product, when a Hakim gave this product to a breast cancer patient in the Seyal Medical Center, Multan, Pakistan. The blood group of the patient was B-ve, and it was very difficult to arrange the supply of blood group after each course of chemotherapy. When she started using Fagonia cretica, we evinced good clinical improvement and there was no need of blood transfusion after each course of chemotherapy. Thereafter, we started using this herbal product in all sort of cancer patients and observed that it takes care of almost all the side effects of cytotoxic drugs without compromising the cytotoxic efficiency of the chemotherapy, but instead supplements the cytotoxic efficacy of the drugs. Similar observations were made in Thalassemia.
Our more than 20-year experience with the use of Fagonia cretica has given a new hope in the treatment of Thalassemia. We observed that in almost all our patients, who regularly used the herbal medicine as recommended, the electrophoresis after about nine months of treatment evinced normal pattern. The size of the spleen and liver were reduced to normal and the ascites also disappeared. They exhibited impressive clinical improvement.
In 1992, a 12-year old girl suffering from Thalassemia major was having weekly transfusion besides having chelating agents. She was critically ill and was not responding to any treatment as the transfusions often resulted in severe blood reactions and the chelating agents caused a lot of distress. She had a lot of ascites with enlarged liver and spleen over and above 10 cm palpable below costal margins. She was given dried powder of Fagonia cretica whole flowering plant. She started exhibiting good clinical improvement in a couple of weeks with reduction in the size of spleen, liver and ascites. Her Hb F was 97.4% and Hb A2 2.6%, when she was first diagnosed at the age of six months. When she was almost free of the disease symptoms and was no longer transfusion-dependent for more than three months, her Hb A was 98%; Hb A2 was 1.6% and Hb F was 0.4 %
A seven year old boy was suffering from Thalassemia major when first reported. His hemoglobin was 4.2 G, liver and spleen were 7cm and 11 cm, respectively, palpable below costal margin; also, that there was a lot of ascites. He had been diagnosed with Thalassemia major when he was just six months old; at that age his hemoglobin was 6.3 Gm, Hb A 1.2%, Hb A2 2.4%, and Hb F 96.4%. He was given powdered Fagonia cretica. He showed good clinical improvement and after about one year he was no more blood dependent. His Hb was 12.4 Gm, Hb A 87.6%, Hb F 10.2% and Hb A2 was 2.2%.
A 13-year boy had been diagnosed with Thalassemia major when he was just three months old. Transfusions invariably caused severe blood reactions. His clinical condition gradually deteriorated. On the first visit his spleen was quite enlarged and palpable 7 cm below the costal margin and liver 5 cm. There was a lot of ascites. The bony deformities were also evident. His clinical improvement with this treatment was quite evident after about three and half months and more so after about six and a half months. During the course of treatment with Fagonia cretica he was not using other drugs. He is still using Fagonia cretica without any chelating agent or supportive medicines like folic acid or calcium supplements. Also, he never had blood transfusion after he started the herbal treatment. His Hb F dropped from 98.6% to 81.7% whereas Hb A increased from nil to 17.6%
We want to ensure that product we get is 100% pure. This is why we source raw material directly from growers. The plant is then washed, dried and turned into powder.
The plant in powder form is filled in capsules that are available for delivery.
- Chinovic Acid
- Oleanolic Acid
- Decoction of the plant is used for bathing to treat skin diseases such as eczema and skin ulcers.
- Decoction can also be used for gargling to treat mouth ulcers and gingivitis
- Cold infusion in dosage of 40 to 50 ml is used to treat nausea, diarrhea, and urination difficulty
- Dried powder in dose of 5g is taken with milk to treat general debility
There are no known or reported side effects from using Fagonia Cretica plant
HOW TO USE
- Take in capsule form after meals once or twice a day.
- Open and mix contents of capsules in food as seasoning.
- Empty contents of three to four capsules (5g) into a saucepan, add 200ml water and let rest overnight. Next morning boil the mixture on a slow flame to reduce water quantity to half (100ml) and drink the tea after filtering the powder.
- To derive even more benefit, drink the powder with the tea. The tea may taste bitter but has tremendous benefits. You can mix the cooled tea with carrot juice to make it more palatable.
The cup of herbal tea that could help fight breast cancer
By Jenny Hope for the Daily Mail
Published: August 22, 2012
A traditional herbal tea may hold the key to fighting breast cancer, claim scientists. Extracts from the plant known as virgin’s mantle, which is used as a medicinal tea in some countries, can kill cancerous cells in the test tube.
The plant-based tea is already drunk by women in rural Pakistan who have breast cancer, but until now its use as a treatment has been regarded as folklore.
Research by scientists at Aston University, Birmingham, and Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, suggests it contains potent anti-cancer agents that act singly or in combination against the proliferation of cancer cells.
Laboratory tests showed they arrested the growth of cells within five hours of application and caused them to die within 24 hours.
Professor Helen Griffiths and Professor Amtul R Carmichael, who headed the study, found herbal tea made from the extract of the plant destroys cancer cells but, unlike conventional chemotherapy, treatment does not damage normal breast cells, thus reducing side effects.
Reports from breast cancer sufferers in Pakistan suggest the plant extract does not trigger any serious side effects such as loss of hair, drop in blood count or diarrhoea.
The research, published in the science journal PloS One, found the plant extract had a novel mechanism which could remedy defects in cell DNA that would normally resist tumour growth.
An impaired DNA response not only allows the cancer to flourish, it also inhibits the way chemotherapy works which reduces its effectiveness.
Professor Carmichael said a small hospital 100 miles north of Lahore in Pakistan started using the herbal tea 40 years ago to treat breast cancer patients. The plant-based tea is already drunk by women in rural Pakistan who have breast cancer, but until now its use as a treatment has been regarded as folklore
She said: ‘It appears to keep them in remission, although we can’t use the word cure at this stage. ‘However, they live for a long time without losing their hair or putting on a large amount of weight, or experiencing other toxic side effects associated with chemotherapy, so we are confident this extract has something to contribute.’
Anti inflammatory and wound healing activity of Fagonia
By Saleh I. Alqasoumi, Hasan S. Yusufoglu and Aftab Alam
Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, Al Kharj University and King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Traditionally, a large number of plants are used for treatment of inflammation and wounds. In Asian and African countries Fagonia schweinfurthii (Hadidi) (F. Zygophyllaceae) and the closely related herb, such as Fagonia arabica are traditionally used for treatment of inflammation, open wounds, boils, skin eruptions, allergies, etc. Hence, the present study was conducted to investigate the anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects of 90% alcoholic extract of F.schweinfurthii formulated gel on carrageenan induced rats paw edema and excision wound model, respectively. The effects were compared with the anti-inflammatory diclofenac sodium ointment (Diclomax) and the wound healing povidone-iodine (Betadine) drugs. The herbal gels and diclofenac sodium ointment were topically applied (0.5g) to the planter surface of the left hind paw and anti-inflammatory effect was observed within 3h. The wound healing effect was investigated by application of 0.5 g/wound of the F. schweinfurthii gel and Betadine once daily for 19 days to the excision wound of albino rats and was observed at 4 days intervals. It was observed that gel formulations have progressive anti-inflammatory effect and accelerate the wound closer time. This study suggests that F. schweinfurthii plant extract gel formulation could be developed as a therapeutic agent for anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects.
Evaluation of the hepatoprotective activity of Fagonia cretica L
Dr. Haidar Abd Algadir
Plant Taxonomist, Herbarium Curator,
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute National Research Center,
Fagonia cretica L. (Zygophyllaceae) herb is widely distributed in Sudan and used in Sudanese traditional medicine for the treatment of various disorders. The present study was designed to assess the hepatoprotective activity and cytotoxicity of methanolic and water extracts of F. cretica L. These extracts were studied for their hepatoprotective activity using CCl4 induced liver damage in wistar albino rats. The methanolic and water extracts of F. cretica L. at oral dose of (400 mg/kg) showed highly significant (p<0.01) hepatoprotective effect. These biochemical observations wereconfirmed by histopathological examinations of liver sections comparable with the standard hepatoprotective drug Silymarin (100 mg/kg) which served as a positive control.
Traditional medicine has a long history. It is the sum of knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experience indigenous to different cultures, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention . Sudan is one of the largest countries in Africa with a diverse flora. Most of Sudanese people in rural areas rely on traditional medicine for the treatment of many infectious diseases. Sudanese traditional medicine is a unique combination of knowledge and practices of Arabic, Islamic and African cultures [2,3]. Medicinal plants have a promising future because there are about half million plants around the world, and most of their medical benefits have not been investigated yet, and their medical activities could be decisive in the treatment of present or future studies . More than 80% of the world population in developing countries uses plant derived medicines and about half of the population in industrialized countries also are using traditional medicines practices to meet their healthcare needs [5,6]. In Sudan, people dependant on medicinal plants for health care is estimated at over 90% of the population, these plants and derived products play an important role in the primary health care of Sudan .
Liver is vital organ that play a major role in metabolism, energy production and bile production, storage of iron, vitamins and trace elements, detoxification and conversion of waste products for excretion by the kidneys . Liver injury or liver dysfunction is a major health problem that challenges not only health care professionals but also the pharmaceutical industry and drug regulatory agencies. Liver cell injury caused by various toxicants (certain anti-biotic, chemotherapeutic agents, carbon tetrachloride (CCL4), thioacetamide (TAA) etc.), D-galactosamine, Paracetamol, excessive alcohol consumption and microbes [9,10]. A large number of plants and formulations have been claimed to posses hepatoprotective activity.
Liver diseases remain one of the serious health problems. In the absence of reliable liver protective drugs in allopathic medical practices, herbs play a role in the management of various liver disorders in ethnomedical practices as well as in traditional systems of medicine . Liver damage induced by CCl4 is commonly used as model for the screening of hepatoprotective activity. The rise in serum levels of SGPT, SGOT and ALP, has been attributed to the damaged structural integrity of the liver, because they are cytoplasmic in location and released into circulation after cellular damages. Carbon tetrachloride induces hepatotoxicity by metabolic activation; therefore, it selectively causes toxicity in liver cells maintaining semi normal metabolic functions. CCl4 metabolically activated by Cytochromes P450 (CYPs) in the endoplasmic reticulum to form a trichloromethyl free radical (CCl3), which combined with cellular lipids and proteins in presence of oxygen to induce lipid peroxidation . Highly reactive trichloro free radicals formation directly attacks the poly unsaturated fatty acids of the endoplasmic reticulum and thus cause over production of SGOT, SGPT and ALP. In the present study, pre-treatment with methanolic and water extracts of Fagonia cretica L. (200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg) attenuated the increases in the activities of SGOT, SGPT and ALP levels in blood serum of CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity. Silymarin is a known hepatoprotective compound obtained from Silybum marianum family (Asteraceae) is reported to have a protective effect on hepatic plasma membrane and possess multiple mechanisms of actions against different hepatotoxic agents. The study shows that the methanolic and water extracts of Fagonia cretica L. at higher dose (400 mg/ kg) exhibited remarkable effect in lowering the high level of liver enzymes that occurred by CCl4 compared to standard drug Silymarin, But the histopathological findings showed that the methanolic extract was superior to the water extract in protecting the hepatocellular architecture against CCl4 induced toxicity.
In conclusion, preliminary phytochemical screening of extracts of Fagonia cretica L. showed the presence of some major bioactive compounds such as saponin, flavonoids and tannin, that can protect the liver. Fagonia cretica L. extracts showed cytotoxic effects. The methanolic and water extracts of F. cretica L. showed hepatoprotective activity. There is no previous study for hepatoprotective activity for F. cretica L. This plant can be considered as new biosource of hepatoprotective drugs
Biological Evaluation, Isolation and Characterization of Compounds from Fagonia cretica
Department of Biochemistry, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad
The research work presented in this thesis deals with the chemotherapeutic (anti-proliferative) and cancer chemopreventive activity of a medicinal plant from Pakistan; Fagonia cretica L. (Zygophyllaceae), based on the traditional claims for its use in folklore medicine in the treatment of different types of cancers and inflammatory
conditions. Through a bioactivity guided fractionation approach, the crude extract (FCC), resultant two organic fractions i.e. n-hexane and ethyl acetate (FCN and FCE, respectively) and an aqueous fraction (FCA) were tested for their anti-proliferative and cancer chemopreventive activity by employing different standard bioassays. In this investigation, it was demonstrated that F. cretica extract and fractions have anti-proliferative activity towards human breast cancer cells and it can exert cancer chemopreventive effects via NFκB inhibition, iNOS inhibition and QR induction. The most potent fraction was ethyl acetate (FCE) fraction followed by n-hexane fraction (FCN) in this study. Six compounds in total (FCEE1, FCEK2, FCEK3, FCEM4, FCEN5 and FCNC6) were isolated from potent fractions of this medicinal plant using repeated flash column chromatography. Structural elucidation was carried out through a series of spectroscopic experiments (1-D and 2-D NMR). Among these six compounds, one compound (FCEE1) is a triterpene acid, two compounds (FCEK2 and FCEN5) belong to the triterpene saponin class, one compound FCEM4 belongs to steroidal saponin class and two compounds (FCEK3 and FCNC6) belong to phytosterol class of chemical compounds. All the isolated compounds have known structures but these are isolated from this plant species for the first time. All the compounds were evaluated for their anti-proliferative activity against breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231), non-tumorigenic breast epithelial cell line (MCF-10A) and cervical cancer cell line (HeLa) by using sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay. Cancer chemopreventive potential of compounds was also estimated in different bioassays i.e. TNF-α activated nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB) assay, inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated nitric oxide (NO) production in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells (iNOS) assay, Aromatase inhibition assay and Quinone reductase 1 (QR1) induction assay. A serial dilution of eight concentrations (0.39, 0.78, 1.56, 3.12, 6.25, 12.5, 25,50 μ M) for each compound was tested. Purified compounds were able to reduce cell viability significantly in two phenotypically different breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231). This activity was markedly reduced in normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A) thus indicating selective toxicity between malignant and normal cells. Among compounds, in NFκB inhibition assay, FCEE1 showed maximum inhibition (IC 50, 5.26μM) while in iNOS inhibition assay, FCEM4 demonstrated best activity (IC 50, 0.38μM). For QR1 induction, FCNC6 was proved to be best compound (CD, 17.07μM). None of the compounds were active in inhibiting aromatase enzyme. Compound FCEE1, a triterpene acid was the most potent compound in this study followed by FCEM4. Elucidation and characterization of the cytotoxic mechanism was undertaken by cell cycle status, apoptosis and expression of transcription factors and their targets i.e. p53, p21, Bax, γ-H2AX and FOXO3a. Pure compound treatment was able to induce a time and dose-dependent decrease on cell viability of two phenotypically different breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231), while demonstrating a markedly decreased cytotoxic effect of triterpene acid (FCEE1) and derivatives i.e. triterpene saponins (FCEK2 and FCEN5) on normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A). Cell cycle arrest (expressed by sub-G1 peak) and apoptosis was induced in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Overall all the purified compounds were more effective against estrogen receptor negative breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) cells. Loss of breast cancer cell viability is associated with induction of DNA double strand breaks which were detected in both cell lines by pure compounds’ treatment. In MCF-7 cells, expression of p53 by FCEE1 seems to induce upregulation of the CDK inhibitor, p21, and pro-apoptotic Bax. In current study, pure compounds’ treatment to human breast cancer cells induced double strand breaks to DNA associated with activation of DNA repair protein γ-H2AX. Compound FCEM4 treatment was able to induce FOXO3a expression in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. This suggests that activation of FOXO3a in the absence of functional p53 plays a vital role in induction of cytotoxicity. The results of this study suggest that FCEE1 is cytotoxic through p53 dependent as well as independent pathways while FCEM4 uses only p53 independent pathway.
F. cretica is a herbaceous plant which is commonly used in Pakistan as a treatment for a variety of ailments especially against breast cancer. In this investigation, it was demonstrated that crude extract and fractions of F. cretica have anti-proliferative activity towards human breast cancer cells and it can exert cancer chemopreventive effects via NFκB inhibition, iNOS inhibition and QR induction. The most potent fraction was ethyl acetate (FCE) fraction in this study. Six compounds (a triterpene acid, three saponins and two phytosterols) were isolated randomly from the potent fractions of the plant with the help of normal and reverse phase flash column chromatography. All these compounds have known structures but these are isolated from this plant species for the first time. All the compounds were evaluated for their anti-proliferative and cancer chemopreventive potential. Compound FCEE1, a triterpene acid was the most potent compound in this study followed by FCEM4. In NFκB inhibition assay, FCEE1 showed maximum inhibition while in iNOS inhibition assay, FCEM4 demonstrated best activity. For QR1 induction, FCNC6 was best compound. None of the compounds were active in inhibiting aromatase enzyme. Pure compound treatment was able to induce a time and dose-dependent decrease in cell viability of two phenotypically different breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) while demonstrating a markedly decreased cytotoxic effect of triterpene acid and derivatives i.e. triterpene saponins on normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A). Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis was induced in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Loss of cell viability is associated with induction of DNA double strand breaks which was detected in both cell lines. In MCF-7 cells, expression of p53 by FCEE1 may have induced upregulation of the CDK inhibitor, p21, and pro-apoptotic Bax. In current study, pure compounds’ treatment to human breast cancer cells induced double strand breaks to DNA detected by expression of protein Ȗ-H2AX. FCEM4 treatment was able to induce FOXO3a expression in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. This suggests that activation of FOXO3a in the absence of functional p53 plays a vital role in induction of cytotoxicity. From the results described in this study, it is obvious that FCEE1 is cytotoxic through p53 dependent and it becomes effective in short time while FCEM4 uses both p53 dependent and independent pathways though p53 dependent pathway induction is slower than in case of FCEE1.
In summary, results from the present study are in agreement with the ethno-botanical or traditional use of F. cretica against cancer growth. The current research work has established that F. cretica is a rich source of glycosides and certainly possesses significant anticancer activity against breast cancer cells. Most of the triterpene glycosides induce apoptosis in tumor cells; as evident from the present results, so they are preferable drugs for the treatment of cancer, because the elimination of tumor cells by apoptosis is helpful in lowering the side-effects in patients by avoiding necrosis. In addition, this research work also emphasizes the specific activity of the glycoside from F. indica against hormone independent breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231), reported to be more aggressive and difficult to treat due to growing resistance to available chemotherapy. Overall, the identification and characterization of isolated compounds from medicinal plants in the treatment of cancer, the very common “plague” of modern times, justify both the evolutional knowledge coming from pharmacognosy and its historical roots in ancient herbal medicine, as well as the tremendous possibility of a natural product-based drug discovery approach.
Cytotoxic and Antitumor Potential of Fagonia cretica
According to traditional knowledge, Fagonia cretica has medicinal potential, especially against cancer and tumors. In the present study, this information was analyzed at laboratory level by performing cytotoxic, antitumor (potato disc) and DNA damage assay. Significant cytotoxic activity was found against brine shrimps at LD50 118.89 ppm, while antitumor assay showed that the extract inhibited tumor induction on potato discs. Significant antitumor activity was found against all the tumor-inducing Agrobacterium strains tested (At6, At10 and At77), with maximum tumor inhibition (77.04%) against At10. However, the extract did not show any lethal activity against Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains, and furthermore, no DNA damaging activity was observed. The overall results indicate a strong anti-cancerous potential of this plant.
Scientists at Aston University and Russells Hall Hospital have discovered that an extract from a common plant in Pakistan may help treat breast cancer.
The plant, Fagonia cretica, and known as Virgon’s Mantlem, is commonly used in herbal tea. It has been traditionally used to treat women in rural Pakistan who have breast cancer, but up until now this treatment has been regarded as something of a folklore remedy. However, patients in Pakistan who have taken the plant extract have reported that it does not appear to generate any of the serious common side effects associated with other cancer treatments, such as loss of hair, drop in blood count or diarrhea.
Now, scientists at Aston University in Birmingham and Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley have undertaken tests of the plant extract and demonstrated that it kills cancer cells without damage to normal breast cells in laboratory conditions.
Professor Helen Griffith and Professor Amutul R Carmichael who lead the study are now aiming to identify which element or elements of the plant are responsible for killing the cancer cells with a view to eventually begin trails with human cancer patients.
Professor Helen Griffith of Aston University said; “More research is needed to establish the role of the extract in cancer management and It now needs to be demonstrated that this extract is as effective in killing cancer cells inside the body as it is within laboratory. The next steps are to identify which element of the plant is responsible for killing the cancer cells with a view to eventually begin trails with human cancer patients.”
Dr Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said; “Some of the most important cancer-fighting drugs are originally derived from plants. As this research is at the very earliest stage we won’t know for quite some time whether drugs derived from this plant will be effective in treating breast cancer but we look forward to seeing any progress.”
The plant is found in arid, desert regions of Pakistan, India, Africa and parts of Europe.