This mini-chapter will help you learn about the botanical compounds used in cancer treatment/research and about the plants that produce them. The information in this site is not a replacement for advice from licensed medical professionals, and people should not attempt to medicate themselves or others with the plants listed here. Most are poisonous, and some people may be severely allergic to the ones that aren't.
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Select the name for plant description and natural history information, select individual compounds for biochemical/pharmacological information:
|Plant Name||Species Name||Relevant Medicinal Compounds|
|autumn crocus||Colchicum autumnale||colchicine|
|birch||Betula alba||betulinic acid|
|camptotheca||Camptotheca acuminata||camptothecin, topotecan (Hycamtin®), CPT-11 (irinotecan, Camptosar®) 9-aminocamptothecin|
|hemp*||Cannabis sativa||delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (dronabinol, Marinol®)|
|lapacho tree (pau d'arco)||Tabebuia impetiginosa, T. avellanedae, Tecoma curialis||beta lapachone, lapachol|
|mayapple||Podophyllum peltatum||podophyllotoxin, etoposide, podophyllinic acid, teniposide|
|nothapodytes tree||Nothapodytes foetida||acetylcamptothecin, camptothecin, scopolectin|
|periwinkle||Catharanthus roseus||vinblastine (Velban®), vincristine (leurocristine, Oncovin®), vindesine (Eldisine®, Fildesin®), vinorelbine (Navelbine®)|
|yew, English||Taxus baccata||docetaxel (Taxotere®)|
|yew, Pacific||Taxus brevifolia||paclitaxel (Taxol®)|
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor do I work with a cancer research lab. I very much enjoy hearing from the people who use this site, but please do not ask me for medical advice, because all I can ethically do is suggest you talk to a physician. If you or a loved one has cancer, you might wish to visit Cancer Care, Inc. for information on support groups, clinical trials, counseling, and medical referrals. If you have other medical questions, you might try Ask-A-Doc or the AMA's Ask the Medical Expert.
This site was last updated 11/5/97. visitors since 4/25/96.