Two Herbal Extracts Kill Cancer Cells

Cytotoxic and Cell Cycle Effects Induced by Two Herbal Extracts on Human Cervix Carcinoma and Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines

Tatjana P. Stanojković,1 Aleksandra Konić-Ristić,2 Zorica D. Juranić,1 Katarina Šavikin,3 Gordana Zdunić,3 Nebojša Menković,3 and Milka Jadranin4

1Department of Experimental Oncology, Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia 2Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia 3Institute for Medicinal Plant Research “Dr Josif Pančić”, Belgrade, Serbia 4Institute for Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy, Belgrade, Serbia

Address correspondence to: Katarina Šavikin, Institute for Medicinal Plant Research 11000 Belgrade, Serbia,


In recent times interest has increased in the complementary medicine of cancer patients. Two herbal mixtures were prepared from 17 and 12 plants, respectively. The goal of this study was to examine the in vitro cytotoxic and cell cycle effects of the aqueous-ethanol extracts (Extract 1 and Extract 2) obtained by maceration of the mixtures.

The two extracts investigated exhibited significant antiproliferative activity toward two human breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-361 and MDA-MB-453) and a human cervix carcinoma cell line (HeLa) with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values ranging from 9.92 to 17.38 micro liter/mL.

The extracts did not exert any significant cytotoxicity toward healthy human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

In vitro antitumor activites were accompanied by an important apoptotic fraction of all cell lines after treatment with the extracts. The amount of total phenols was similar in both extracts, whereas the concentration of total tannins was significantly higher in Extract 1. Extract 1 was also found to be a stronger free radical scavenger, with an IC50 value of 13.4 micrograms per deciliter/mL.

Both extracts contained rosmarinic acid, while ursolic acid was identified in Extract 2.

Journal of Medicinal Food, May 2009

Ann's NOTE: Our explanation of this study is that a combination of herbal ingredients were able to kill cancer cells and NOT harm normal cells. They seemed to stop the growth of the cancer cells and kill them.

This is proof of principle that the combination of ingredients is more powerful than any one alone.

Remember we are NOT Doctors and have NO medical training.

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