Letter | Published:

Antitumoral Activity of the Fern Cibotium schiedei

Nature volume 222, pages 12811282 (28 June 1969) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE use of plant preparations for treating cancer, first mentioned in the Ebers papyrus of 1500 BC1, has long been widespread in spite of the general ineffectiveness of such remedies. At present, several compounds of plant origin are known to have demonstrable oncolytic activity. These include colchicine2, the vinca alkaloids3, podophyllotoxin4, the cucurbitacins5, lapachol6 and the steroid tumour inhibitors from certain of the Solanaceae7; all these are derived from angiosperms. The only antitumoral agent reported in lower vascular plants is calagualine, a saponine isolated from the fern Polypodium leucotomos8. A note by Maruzzella9 relating to the antibiotic activity of methanolic extracts of several ferns prompted us to test Cibotium schiedei Schlect and Cham. as a possible source of tumour inhibitors. This tree fern, of the family Dicksoniaceae, is a native of the Vera Cruz province of Mexico, but is quite widely cultivated as a house plant.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.

    • WILLIAM A. CREASEY

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/2221281a0

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