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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 545-546

Plant products for radioprotection: Boon or bane?

Department of Pharmacology, S.D.M. College of Medical Sciences & Hospital, Sattur, Dharwad, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication8-Oct-2013

Correspondence Address:
Prasan R Bhandari
Department of Pharmacology, S.D.M. College of Medical Sciences & Hospital, Sattur, Dharwad - 580 009, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.119357

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How to cite this article:
Bhandari PR. Plant products for radioprotection: Boon or bane?. J Can Res Ther 2013;9:545-6

How to cite this URL:
Bhandari PR. Plant products for radioprotection: Boon or bane?. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Sep 30];9:545-6. Available from: https://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2013/9/3/545/119357


I thank and commend the author of the article titled "Toxicity with radiotherapy for oral cancers and its management: A practical approach" (Year 2012, Volume 8 Issue 6 Page: 72-84 of this journal) for having brought a comprehensive review on this topic. [1]

The authors in their views opined that, "The treatment for radiation-induced mucositis includes avoidance, mucosal-coating drugs, lubricants, emollients, and pain management strategies. Systemically delivered treatments of mucositis like antioxidants carotene, azelastine), immunomodulatory drugs (indomethacin), anticholinergic drugs, pentoxifylline, cytokines, antiviral drugs, and glutamic acid are being used with varying success."

Supporting the authors' statement it could be suggested that the use of radioprotective compounds, like antioxidants, which selectively protect normal tissues against radiation injury will also permit the use of higher doses of radiation to obtain better control and possible cure of not only of oral cancers but other cancers as well.

However, till the date no ideal radioprotectors are available as most synthetic compounds, including the Food and Drug Administration, USA, approved aminothiol, are toxic at their optimal concentrations. Obviously, there has been a limited success of these agents in clinics. [2]

This limitation could probably be overcome using herbal drugs or dietary modifications, which offer an alternative to the synthetic compounds since they are considered either non-toxic or less toxic than their synthetic counterparts. Plants and their phytochemicals, especially with free radical scavenging, antioxidant properties, and immunostimulatory effects have been evaluated for their radioprotective effects. Pre-clinical studies in the past two decades have shown that some commonly used medicinal plants and their phytochemicals possess radioprotective effects. Additionally, screening and testing of compounds from natural sources have been carried out over the last few decades in order to find effective radioprotectors capable of inhibiting radiation damage not only during radiotherapy of cancer patients, but also to healthy individuals undergoing occupational and accidental exposures to radiation.

Considerable information from pre-clinical studies suggests the usefulness of mint (peppermint/pudina) in preventing the toxic effects of ionizing radiation at non-toxic concentrations. Other plants with radioprotective effects include Ocimum sanctum, Panax ginseng, Podophyllum hexandrum, Emblica officinalis, Tinospora cordifoila, Syzygium cumini, Zingiber officinale, Ageratum conyzoides, Aegle marmelos, and Aphanamixis polystachya. [2]

Hazra et al. [3] too have reviewed some of the following plants for their prospective role in radioprotection: Aloe arborescens, Azadirachta indica, Biophytum sensitivum, Boerhaavia diffusa, Citrus sinensis, Grewia asiatica, Moringa oleifera, and Punica granatum.

Hence, there is an urgent need for investigators to clinically explore such therapies to be used in combination with chemo- and radio-therapy of cancer in order to minimize the adverse effects, and to enhance the overall curative outcome in the patients.

The ultimate goal is to develop multidisciplinary expertise and therapeutic synergy between conventional and complementary therapies. Due to its abundance, low cost, and safety in consumption, these herbal/dietary radioprotectors have tremendous potential and countless possibilities for further investigation. It has the potential to develop as a non-toxic radioprotective agent, but only when gaps in the existing knowledge are bridged.

 > References Top

1.Basu T, Laskar SG, Gupta T, Budrukkar A, Murthy V, Agarwal JP. Toxicity with radiotherapy for oral cancers and its management: A practical approach. J Cancer Res Ther 2012;8:S72-84.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Baliga MS, Rao S. Radioprotective potential of mint: A brief review. J Cancer Res Ther 2010;6:255-62.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Hazra B, Ghosh S, Kumar A, Pandey BN. The prospective role of plant products in radiotherapy of cancer: A current overview. Front Pharmacol 2011;2:94.  Back to cited text no. 3


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