Journal of Science and Technology (Ghana)

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The evaluation of selected ghanaian medicinal plants for cytotoxic activites

J A Ayim, M T Bayor, R M Phillips, S D Shnyder, C W Wright


Cancer is still responsible for many deaths worldwide. Therefore, the need for an effective management, treatment and cure of cancer is undoubtedly crucial. In Ghana, several plants or herbal products are used by traditional healers for the management and/or the treatment of various cancers. However, the efficacies of these plant products as anticancer agents are often ill defined. In this study, the methanolic extracts of ten plant species were evaluated for cytotoxicity against three human cancer cell lines, DLD-
1, MCF-7 and M14, using the MTT assay. Extracts of Adenia lobata root, Clerodendrum capitatum leaves, Garcinia kola stem bark, Plumbago zeylanica leaves and Vernonia conferta root, showed relatively low cytotoxic activities while extracts of Ficus asperifolia leaves, Paullinia pinnata root and Thonningia sanguinea root exhibited moderate activity (IC50 values 40 – 55μg/ml against at least one of the three cell lines). Croton membranaceus root extract exhibited markedly higher cytotoxic activities,
particularly against the DLD-1 and MCF-7 cells (IC50 = 16.0 and 17.4μg/ml respectively), while Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides bark extract was 2-3 fold more active against DLD-1 cells (IC50 = 16μg/ml), than against the other cell lines. These results lend some support for the use of these species in traditional medicines for the treatment of cancer, especially for C. membranaceus and Z. xanthoxyloides.

Journal of Science & Technology (Ghana) Vol. 27 (2) 2007: pp. 16-22
AJOL African Journals Online