Anticancer & Anti mutagenic Properties of Medicinal Plants
Cancer represents a substantial burden of disease in the community and appears to be a prime cause of concern. Every year over 200,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the United Kingdom only, and approximately 120,000 die as an aftermath of the disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 2002, cancer killed > 6.7 million people around the world and another 10.9 million new cases were diagnosed. If the results are extrapolated, at the same rate, an estimated 15 million people will have cancer, annually, by 2020.
According to an estimate given by American Cancer Society (2009), about 1,500,000 new cases and over 500,000 deaths are expected in the US by 2009. The National Cancer Registry of South Africa has spotted the cancers of bladder, colon, breast, cervix, lungs and melanoma commonly among inhabitants (Mqoqi et al., 2004). Attempts are underway to work out the therapeutic and anti-neoplastic properties of medicinal plants. Even as per the oldest and absolute system of medicine, Ayurveda, medicinal plants have therapeutic potential owing to the presence of natural antioxidants functioning as reducing agents, free radical scavengers and quenchers of singlet oxygen. Majority of their antioxidant activity is due to bioactive compounds viz. flavones, isoflavones, flavonoids, anthocyanins, coumarins, lignans, catechins and isocatechins. The present communication embraces the phytochemical and pharmacological studies on different parts of plants. The observations support the potential of certain medicinal plants Aegle marmelos, Aloe barbadensis, Bacopa monnieri and Withania somnifera as substitute anticancer drugs.