Cyberbotanica: Plant Compounds Used in Chemotherapy
Welcome to Cyberbotanica, a free online botany education resource produced as a part of Indiana University's BioTech Project. This site will probably always be under construction; for now, it contains a mini-chapter on plants and chemotherapy (also still under construction), but other chapters are in the works: plants used in bioremediation, fungi which produce antibiotics, and genetically engineered fruits and vegetables.

 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.

 These pages are are best viewed with Netscape 1.1 or higher, without frames. Normal links lead to other pages within this site; links in bold lead to definitions from BioTech's Life Science Dictionary.

 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®)
For quick-reference pharmaceutical info, check out the Chemical Comparison Table. There are hundreds of other plants that produce anticancer compounds -- I have put together a Table of 70+ Other Anticancer Botanicals you might want to check out.

 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.


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Cyberbotanica is maintained by Lucy A. Snyder. Please fill out a feedback form if you spot any errors in these pages, or if you have any suggestions or comments. All material Copyright 1996-1997, BioTech Resources, except where otherwise noted.

 This site was last updated 11/5/97.  visitors since 4/25/96.