A Potential Anticancer Medicinal Plant
by Lalit Tiwari & D.P. Agrawal
Oroxylum indicum Vent is a member of the family Bignoniaceae and is
widely used by Indians for the treatment of various aliments. Recently, A.A.
Mao reported O. indicum’s effective use in treating cancer.
Mao learnt from the Maram Naga villagers that a man suffering from nasopharyngeal
cancer was cured by a decoction of O. indicum bark. The plant is known
Shakbang in Maram Naga language. O.indicum is a medium sized deciduous
tree which is mostly sighted along the riverbanks or slopes of the hills and
is distributed throughout India and Southeast Asia. The plant has different
names in different regional languages.
The patient who suffered from nasopharyngeal cancer and took the decoction
of O. indicum bark was alleged to have been cured. After visiting several
hospitals, the patient went to Dr. B. Borooah of the Cancer Institute in Guwahati,
Assam, where he underwent chemotherapy but could not be cured. The doctor of
the institute told his family that he may only live for about six months and
advised them to take him home for rest.
But when the patient's family learnt that treatment with the decoction of O.
indicum bark could be effective, they administered him this concoction.
About one kilogram of fresh bark was boiled in five liters of water for 30-40
minutes and the decoction was filtered and it was given with honey three times
a day. The patient's family told him that he was free from this pain within
just two weeks without any side effects. Mao again visited the patient's home
and found him living a completely normal life. He still continues to take the
decoction three times a day.
Mao also found that the plant was being used for the treatment of various other
ailments. The decoction of the bark is taken for curing gastric ulcer while
the paste of the bark is applied to mouth for cancer, scabies, tonsil pain,
and other diseases. The paste is also used for healing animal wounds and the
decoction for deworming.
Mao has strongly pleaded a through screening of its bioactive chemical properties
and chemical testing.
Mao, A.A. 2002. Oroxylum indicum Vent. – a potential anticancer medicinal
plant. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 1 (1): 17-21.