Mullein flower / Gnaphalium oxyphyllum

gnaphalium oxyphyllum

The Effect of Gnaphalium oxyphyllum var. natalie on Cancer and Blood Cells

Gnaphalium oxyphyllum DC is a medicinal plant whose common uses by Mexican people include the treatment of cancer. The toxicity of the aqueous and organic fractions as well as the aqueous decoction of Gnaphalium oxyphyllum var. natalie F. J. Espinosa were assessed on three human cancer cell lines as well as in blood cells in healthy human lymphocyte cultures.

Cytotoxic activity was assessed by the Sulforhodamine B method on HeLa (human cervical carcinoma), T47D (human breast carcinoma) and 22Rv1 (human prostate carcinoma cancer). Colchicine was used as positive control. The decoction was also tested on lymphocytes from healthy donors through the mitotic index as biomarker.

We used whole blood for these cultures and estimated the effect of the extract on platelets, leukocytes and erythrocytes. The aqueous decoction was cytotoxic (ED50 < 20 μg/mL) on the three cancer cell lines. The mitotic index in the exposed lymphocyte cultures did not significantly differ from the control nor the blood counts showed any difference between the experimental and control cultures.

These results prove that the toxic effect of the aqueous decoction of Gnaphalium oxyphyllum var. natalie is specific for cancer cell lines.

Key words: Gnaphalium oxyphyllum, cancer cell lines, cytotoxicity, lymphocyte culture, mitotic index.

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