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Complement Ther Med. 2016 Feb;24:47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Dec 7.

Anti-cancer effects of traditional Korean wild vegetables in complementary and alternative medicine.

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Division of Food Science and Nutrition, Graduate School of Biohealth Science, Gwangju University, Gwangju 61743, South Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Korea National University of Transportation, Chungbuk 27909, South Korea.
Department of Oral Pathology, School of Dentistry and Institute of Oral Bioscience, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, South Korea.
Department of Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Chungju 27478, South Korea.
Division of Food Science and Nutrition, Graduate School of Biohealth Science, Gwangju University, Gwangju 61743, South Korea; Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Health, Welfare, and Education, Gwangju University, Gwangju 61743, South Korea. Electronic address:


This research study explored the anti-cancer effects of natural materials in South Korea. Although South Korea has a long history of traditional medicine, many natural materials of South Korea have not yet been introduced to the rest of the world because of language barriers and inconsistent study conditions. In the past 3 years, 56 papers introducing 56 natural materials, which have anti-cancer effects, have been published by scientists in South Korea. Further, these studies have introduced five kinds of natural materials presented in research papers that were written in Korean and are therefore virtually unknown overseas. The anti-cancer effects were confirmed by 2-3 cancer markers in the majority of the studies, with the most common targets being breast cancer cells and gastric cancer cells. These cancers have the greatest incidence in South Korea. The natural materials studied not only exhibit anti-cancer activity but also display anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative stress, and anti-diabetic activities. They have not yet been used for the direct treatment of disease but have potential as medicinal materials for alternative and complementary medicine for the treatment of many modern diseases. Many natural materials of South Korea are already known all over the world, and with this study, we hope to further future research to learn more about these natural medicines.


Anti-cancer effects; Complementary and alternative medicine; Traditional Korean wild vegetables

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