Anti-cancer bioprospecting on medicinal plants from Indonesia: A review

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The Indonesian archipelago is home to the second largest biodiversity in the world and is inhabited by more than 300 ethnic groups with a total population of more than 270 million. The indigenous population still rely on traditional medicine practices, especially the use of plant-based remedies. Although modern science-based exploration on Indonesian medicinal plants started with the European settlement in the archipelago in the 16th century, it was not until the 1970's that the phytochemistry of Indonesian medicinal plants was recognized for its potency. The need for new cancer cures to increase the quality of human life has led to the bioprospecting of medicinal plants including those of Indonesian origin. Despite published reports on the anticancer potency of Indonesian medicinal plants, to date there has been no comprehensive review on this topic. In this manuscript, we review the phytochemical and pharmacological studies on medicinal plants from Indonesia related to cancer therapy. Established databases (GARUDA, SciFinder, and PubMed) were used to collate data from 1990 to 2022, resulting in the description of 134 medicinal plants and their phytochemical and pharmacological properties including examples containing potent agents against breast, leukaemia, cervix, lung, and colon cancer cell lines based on in vitro bioassays and in vivo evaluation. These findings provide valuable insights into the bioprospecting of Indonesian medicinal plant providing directions for future studies, including the development of new therapeutics, both as botanicals or by using conventional dosage.

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Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung



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