A team of researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) newly revealed that Simpleleaf Chastetree (Vitex trifolia), Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica), and South African leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) which are the favorites of two butterflies, present more usability than attracting butterflies. The leaves of these plants have proven to be effective in stopping the growth of seven types of cancer, such as the breast, cervical, uterus, leukemia, liver, and ovarian.
In this study, led by Associate Professor Koh Hwee Ling Pharmacy Hospital of the NUS College of Natural Sciences, three other medicinal plants also demonstrated anti-cancer properties.
“Medicinal plants have been used since antiquity to treat various disorders, but anti-cancer properties have not yet been well studied. Our study offers new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for the treatment of cancer and paves the way for the development of new therapeutic agents, “said Professor Assoc Koh.
The results of the study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, emphasize the importance of preserving native plants as sources of drug discovery and understanding of these natural resources.
In Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, as modern medicine is the primary form of medical care, local herbal medicines are also used for a long time to promote health and the treatment of diseases.
“Given the scarcity of land due to rapid urbanization and limited data on herbal knowledge, it is vital to document and investigate how native medicinal plants were used before knowledge was lost,” said Dr. Siew Yin Yin, background research of his dissertation under the direction of Assoc Prof Koh.
The three-year study, conducted between 2010 and 2013, documented the diverse types of medicinal plants growing in Singapore and other regions. The NUS team found that the three main reasons for the use of herbal remedies were the general promotion of health, detoxification, and immune enhancement. Of the above mentioned medicinal plants, some would be used to treat cancer.