Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Trigonella foenum-graecum, Cassia acutifolia and Rhazya stricta

Bayan Al-Dabbagh, Ismail A. Elhaty, Ala'a Al Hrout, Reem Al Sakkaf, Raafat El-Awady, S. Salman Ashraf, Amr Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Here, we determined in vitro antioxidant activity, total phenols and flavonoids and evaluated antiproliferative activity of three medicinal plant extracts: Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek), Cassia acutifolia (Senna) and Rhazya stricta (Harmal). Methods: The leaves of the three medicinal plants were extracted with 70% ethanol. Antioxidant activities of the extracts were determined by using DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) assay. Total flavonoid and phenolic contents were determined using colorimetric assays. MTT assay was used to estimate the antiproliferative activities of the extracts against human hepatoma (HepG2) cancer cell line. In addition, the effects of R. stricta extract on cell cycle, colony formation, and wound healing of HepG2 cells and tube formation of HUVEC cells were assessed. Results: Percentage inhibition of DPPH scavenging activity were dose-dependent and ranged between (89.9%±0.51) and (28.6%±2.07). Phenolic contents ranged between (11.5±0.013) and (9.7±0.008) mg GAE/g while flavonoid content ranged between (20.8±0.40) and (0.12±0.0.01) mg QE/g. Antiproliferative results of the extracts were found to be consistent with their antioxidant activity. Among the extracts evaluated, that of R. stricta showed the best antioxidant, antiproliferative and antimetastatic activities at low concentration. It also inhibited the colony-formation capacity of HepG2 cells and exhibited antiangiogenic activity. Cell cycle analysis showed significant arrest of cells at G2/M phase 12 and 48h after treatment and significant arrest at G1/S phase after 24h of treatment. Consistent data were observed in western blot analysis of protein levels of Cdc2 and its cyclin partners. Conclusions: These findings introduce R. stricta as apotentially useful anti-metastatic agent and a novel potential anti-tumour agent for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number240
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 22 2018


  • Anticancer
  • Antioxidants
  • Medicinal plants
  • Rhazya stricta
  • Traditional medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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