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J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Feb 13;145(3):728-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.11.039. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activities of plant extracts used against hematological tumors in traditional medicine of Jordan.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.



Mercurialis annua L., Bongardia chrysogonum L., and Viscum cruciatum Sieb have been traditionally used by local herbalists in Jordan for the treatment of hematopoietic neoplasms.


To determine the anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial potentials of the three extracts against two of the most common hematopoietic malignancies in the Jordanian populations; Burkitt's lymphoma and Multiple myeloma.


The anti-cancer activity was tested against the two cell lines (BJAB Burkitt's lymphoma and U266 multiple myeloma) using the MTT and trypan blue assays. The agar dilution assay was used to study the anti-microbial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, anaerobic bacteria and yeast. The pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL) -1β, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured in the pretreated cell lines using ELISA assay to determine the anti-inflammatory activity of Viscum cruciatum Sieb against the two cell lines.


The results show no evidence of stimulation of tumor growth by any of the three extracts comprising cell lines from hematological malignancies, but Viscum cruciatum Sieb showed a selective anticancer activity against BJAB cells, with IC(50) value of 14.21μg/ml. The antimicrobial effect was only noticed with Viscum cruciatum extract by inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Propionibacterium acne, but not Pseudomonas aeruginosa at MIC of 1.25, 1.25, 0.625 and <5mg/ml, respectively. The highest activity was against the anaerobic bacteria Propionibacterium acne. Viscum cruciatum Sieb extract showed an inhibitory effect on the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-8, but it increased TNF-α and IL-1β secretions in BJAB cells. Whereas, it had an inhibitory effect on TNF-α and IL-1β cytokines while it enhanced IL-8 secretions in U266 cells.


Among the three tested herbal extracts used in the traditional medicine in Jordan, only Viscum cruciatum Sieb showed high anti-cancer and anti-microbial potentials. They also had an anti-inflammatory effect. These observations raise the prospects of using Viscum cruciatum Sieb for treatment of diseases associated with some bacterial and fungal infections, for imbalanced cytokine production and for enhancing cancer and other immunotherapies.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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