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Traditional West African pharmacopeia, plants and derived compounds for cancer therapy

Authors
  • Sawadogo, Wamtinga Richard
  • Schumacher, Marc
  • Teiten, Marie-Hélène
  • Dicato, Mario
  • Diederich, Marc
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biochemical Pharmacology
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2012
Accepted Date
Jul 19, 2012
Volume
84
Issue
10
Pages
1225–1240
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcp.2012.07.021
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Traditional pharmacopeia is strongly involved in the continuous search for the well being of African populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of the population of developing countries relies on traditional medicine for their primary care needs. Medicinal plants are the major resource of this folk medicine where several species are used for the treatment of diseases with an inflammatory and/or infectious component as it is the case of old wounds, skin diseases and malfunctions affecting internal organs such as liver, lung, prostate and kidney. Many of these pathologies described by practitioners of traditional medicine have similarities with certain cancers, but the lack of training of many of these healers does not allow them to establish a link with cancer. However, ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological surveys conducted by several researchers allowed to identify plants of interest for cancer treatment. Most scientific investigations on these plants demonstrated an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant effect, and sometimes, antiproliferative and cytotoxic activities against cancer cells were reported as well. The emergence of resistance to cancer chemotherapy has forced researchers to turn to natural products of plant and marine origin. In the West African sub-region, research on natural anti-cancer molecules is still in its infancy stage because of very limited financial resources and the scarcity of adequate technical facilities. However, several plants were investigated for their anticancer properties through north–south or south–south partnerships. In this review, we will review the role of West African traditional pharmacopeia in cancer treatment as well as medicinal plants with anti-cancer properties.

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