Research on Thai Medicinal Plants for Cancer Treatment

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Arunporn Itharat


This topic reviews the research on anticancer effects of medicinal plants originating
from Thailand. The selection of the plants for the research was based largely on their
ethnomedical use by Thai folk doctors and on the knowledge of Thai traditional medicine.
The investigations focused primarily on the plants frequently used in the preparations for
cancer treatment. The plants were tested for active components followed by using the
National Cancer Institute (NCI) assays for anticancer compounds. The biological assay
which correlated with cancer such as, antioxidant, immunology, anti-inflammatory and
antimicrobial were also investigated. Plant extracts have been compared with whole plant
preparations as well as combinations of many plants for their effectiveness as anticancer
medicine. In one preparation composed with many plants which were proved that some
plants in the preparation showed cytotoxic activity against cancer cells and plant showed no
cytotoxic activity but they exhibited another activity such as antioxidant, anti-inflammation,
antimicrobial and enhance immunology. The concept of cancer treatment research in
Thailand is moving toward the holistic approach, which requires the knowledge of both body
and mind. Most of the current research on the subject in Thailand is on elucidation of
biological activity of plant materials to confirm. Informal clinical trials have been conducted
on some of the anticancer preparations, but most are unpublished. The present results
indicated that using whole herbal preparations has produced gentler effects on the human
body because of the synergy of the plants, which make up the preparations. All of these
cancer research can supported using cancer preparation of Thai folk doctors

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2010 Annual Meeting Abstracts/Lectures