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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4 (2007), Issue 3, Pages 355-359
Original Article

Indigofera suffruticosa: An Alternative Anticancer Therapy

1Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Departamento de Patologia do Centro de Ciências da Saúde Recife-PE, Brazil
2Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Departamento de Antibióticos do Centro de Ciências Biológicas Recife-PE, Brazil
3Laboratório de Cultura de Células II, Departamento de Histologia e Embriologia do Centro de Ciências Biológica da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), Cidade Universitária, Recife, 50.670-420, Pernambuco, Brazil

Received 5 July 2006; Accepted 30 October 2006

Copyright © 2007 Jeymesson Raphael Cardoso Vieira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Indigofera suffruticosa Mill (Fabeceae) occurs in the Northeast countryside and has intensive popular use in the treatment of infectious, inflammatory and other processes. The main aim of the present work was to investigate the cytotoxic and antitumor effects of aqueous extracts of leaves of I. suffruticosa obtained by infusion and maceration as well as to evaluate the toxicological properties. Aqueous extracts did not exhibit cytotoxicity against HEp-2 (human epidermoid cancer cell) cell lines by MTT method. From the aqueous extract by infusion, the toxicological assay showed low order of toxicity. The antitumor effect of aqueous extracts by infusion (64.53%) and maceration (62.62%) against sarcoma 180 in mice at a dose of 50 mg kg−1 (intraperitoneally), based on low order of toxicity was comparable to the control group, which showed 100% development. Considering the low order of toxicity and that it is highly effective in inhibiting growth of solid tumors, the aqueous extracts of leaves of I. suffruticosa may be used as an alternative anticancer agent.