Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3834

Full Length Research Paper

Traditional medicinal plants research in Egypt: Studies of antioxidant and anticancer activities

Ahmed M. Aboul-Enein1, Faten Abu El-Ela1, Emad A. Shalaby1 and Hany A. El-Shemy1,2*
1Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, 12613 Giza, Egypt. 2Faculty of Agriculture Research Park (FARP) and Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, 12613 Giza, Egypt.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 October 2011
  •  Published: 09 February 2012


Plants have played a significant role in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases for the last four decades. Natural products have been rediscovered as important tools for drug development despite advances in combinatorial chemistry. Egyptian flora, the most diverse in the world, has become an interesting spot to prospect for new chemical leads or hits due to its species diversity. Screening programs have been established in Egypt as a strategy to identify potentially active substances. High throughput screening techniques allow for the analysis of large numbers of extracts in a relatively short period of time and can be considered one of the most efficient ways of finding new leads from natural products.  In our study, 23 wild plants were extracted by ethanol and water in addition to 24 ethanolic and aqueous extracts from spices and herbs and tested in vitro as anticancer agents. The trypan blue technique was used for the anticancer activity against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells (EACC) while SRB technique was used against HepG2 cells. The antioxidant activity of the 90 plant extracts was determined by 2, 2 diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. Results showed that both of ethanolic and water extracts of some plant possessed high cytotoxic and antioxidant activities and inhibited the cell growth of cancer cells. On the other hand, some ethanolic extract gave cytotoxic and antioxidant activities more than aqueous extract but other aqueous extracts possessed the opposite trend. We believe that the flora of Egypt can be a valuable source of plants rich in, cytotoxic compounds and antioxidant agents.


Key words: Anticancer, antioxidant, polar extracts, Egyptian flora.


ROS, reactive oxygen species; O-2, superoxide radical; OH, hydroxyl radical;ROO., hydroperoxyl radical; RNS, nitrogen species; .ONOO-, peroxynitrite; NO., nitric oxide;DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid; EACC, Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells; DPPH, 2, 2 diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl; NCI, National Cancer Institue; HepG-2, human hepatocellular cancer cell line;CNE2, carcinoma cell line; MGC-803, gastric cancer cell line.