Screening plants for antitumor activity

Author(s): Perdue RE Jr, Abbott BJ, Hartwell JL

Abstract

Extracts of several Southern African plants which have been used in folk remedies have been prepared, and the extracts were tested in a variety of experimental tumour test-systems. Raphionacme hirsuta and Cheilanthes contracta have been used in African anticancer medicines. Extracts of these plants showed antitumor activity in some rodent test-systems, but the results were not confirmed. In the folk-lore, Haemanthus natalensis has been used in emetics and Urginea capitata preparations have been used to vaccinate African chiefs. Extracts of these plants showed significant cytotoxicity in the KB cell culture test-system. Infusions of Brunsvigia radulosa have been used as folk remedies for abdominal troubles. An extract of this Amaryllis plant increased the life span of P-388 leukaemic mice. Amaryllis belladonna has also been investigated. Extracts of Amaryllis belladonna had to be fractionated in order to produce significant antitumour activity in the P-388 lymphocytic leukaemia test-system.

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