Anticancer activity of botanical compounds in ancient fermented beverages (Review)
- Authors: P. E. McGovern, M. Christofidou-Solomidou, W. Wang, F. Dukes, T. Davidson, W. S. El-Deiry
Published online on: Thursday, July 1, 2010
- Pages: 5-14
- DOI: 10.3892/ijo_00000647
Humans around the globe probably discovered natural remedies against disease and cancer by trial and error over the millennia. Biomolecular archaeological analyses of ancient organics, especially plants dissolved or decocted as fermented beverages, have begun to reveal the preliterate histories of traditional pharmacopeias, which often date back thousands of years earlier than ancient textual, ethnohistorical, and ethnological evidence. In this new approach to drug discovery, two case studies from ancient Egypt and China illustrate how ancient medicines can be reconstructed from chemical and archaeological data and their active compounds delimited for testing their anticancer and other medicinal effects. Specifically, isoscopoletin from Artemisia argyi, artemisinin from Artemisia annua, and the latter's more easily assimilated semi-synthethic derivative, artesunate, showed the greatest activity in vitro against lung and colon cancers. In vivo tests of these compounds previously unscreened against lung and pancreatic cancers are planned for the future.