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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 427031, 13 pages
Original Article

Inhibition of Human Cervical Cancer Cell Growth by Ethanolic Extract of Boerhaavia diffusa Linn. (Punarnava) Root

1Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Center for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India
2Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Delhi 110054, India

Received 9 April 2009; Accepted 1 December 2009

Copyright © 2011 Rakhi Srivastava 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.


In Indian traditional medicine, Boerhaavia diffusa (punarnava) roots have been widely used for the treatment of dyspepsia, jaundice, enlargement of spleen, abdominal pain and as an anti-stress agent. Pharmacological evaluation of the crude ethanolic extract of B. diffusa roots has been shown to possess antiproliferative and immunomodulatory properties. The extract of B. diffusa was studied for anti-proliferative effects on the growth of HeLa cells and for its effect on cell cycle. Bio-assays of extracts from B. diffusa root showed that a methanol : chloroform fraction (BDF 5) had an antiproliferative effect on HeLa cells. After 48 h of exposure, this fraction at a concentration of 200 μg mL−1 significantly reduced cell proliferation with visible morphological changes in HeLa cells. Cell cycle analysis suggests that antiproliferative effect of BDF 5 could be due to inhibition of DNA synthesis in S-phase of cell cycle in HeLa cells, whereas no significant change in cell cycle was detected in control cells. The fraction BDF 5 caused cell death via apoptosis as evident from DNA fragmentation and caspase-9 activation. Thus the extract has potential to be evaluated in detail to assess the molecular mechanism-mediated anticancer activities of this plant.