Natural products like Chinese herbs have become increasingly important for new pharmaceutical discoveries. Chinese Herbs and other phyto-medicinals are being widely studied particularly for cancer treatments. Currently more than 60% of cancer drugs are of plant origin. New research on the Chinese herb called Ye Ju Hua or Wild Chrysanthemum flower shows anticancer activities and could be a valuable resource in the fight against cancer.
The flowers of Chrysanthemum indicum (Chrysanthemi Indici Flos), is a traditional Chinese herb widely used throughout China and Asia which this study suggests could be a promising novel treatment for liver and other cancers. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is known as a common and aggressive malignant cancer worldwide. In China, HCC accounts for 90% of primary liver cancer, which is the second most common cause of death. Chemotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of cancer, but it is limited to a significant extent by its toxicities and side effects. One possible way to increase the potency of anticancer drugs and to decrease side effects is to develop traditional medicines, especially from medicinal plants.
Chrysanthemum has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat vertigo, hypertensive symptoms and several infectious diseases such as pneumonia, colitis, stomatitis and carbuncles. A series of recent studies have demonstrated that Chrysanthemum possesses antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator, and neuroprotective effects. Recently, much attention has been devoted to the anticancer activity of Chrysanthemum on human cancer cells, however, its anticancer mechanism of action is still not clear and needs further investigation. The inhibition of tumor cell growth without toxicity in normal cells has attracted considerable attention in cancer therapy.
Clinical studies have shown Chrysanthemum can be used in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents and other Chinese herbs. One study found that patients with metastatic breast cancer postoperatively receiving Chrysanthemum as one of the main components, in combination with other traditional Chinese medicines, had a 5-year overall survival rate of 70% and a complete response rate of 60%, and in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, had a 5-year overall survival rate of 77% and a complete remission rate of 80%, without adverse effects. Another study demonstrated that Chrysanthemum in combination with traditional Chinese herbs, achieved a response rate of 67% in advanced stage esophageal carcinoma patients.
Plant-pharmacology used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) continues to be an important source of discovery and development of novel therapeutic agents for cancer treatments.
Zong-Fang Li, Zhi-Dong Wang, Shu Zhang, Xian-Ming Xia, Department of General Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710004, Shaanxi Province, China. Chen Huang, Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to Diseases of the Education Ministry, School of Medicine, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an710061, Shaanxi Province, China
Supported by Grants From the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30672766 and Science and Technology Developing Foundation of Shaanxi Province, China, No. 2006 K16-G4 (1)
Published online: September 28, 2009
Peer reviewer: Dr. Yukihiro Shimizu, Kyoto Katsura Hospital, 17 Yamada-Hirao, Nishikyo, Kyoto 615-8256, Japan