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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 541209, 14 pages
Review Article

Herbal Medicine and Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Applications and Challenges

Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

Received 25 January 2010; Accepted 9 April 2010

Copyright © 2011 Yan Li and Robert C. G. Martin. 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.


Use of herbal medicine in the treatment of liver cancer has a long tradition. The compounds derived from the herb and herbal composites are of considerable interest among oncologists. In the past, certain herbal compounds and herbal composite formulas have been studied through in vitro and in vivo as an anti-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) agent, enhancing our knowledge about their biologic functions and targets. However there is a significant distinction between the herbal medicine and the herbal production even though both are the plant-based remedies used in the practice. In this article, for the sake of clarity, the effective herbal compounds and herbal composite formulas against HCC are discussed, with emphasizing the basic conceptions of herbal medicine in order to have a better understanding of the prevention and treatment of HCC by herbal active compounds and herbal composite formulas.