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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 349040, 13 pages
Review Article

Greco-Arab and Islamic Herbal-Derived Anticancer Modalities: From Tradition to Molecular Mechanisms

1Qasemi Research Center, Al-Qasemi Academy, P.O. Box 124, Baqa El-Gharbia 30100, Israel
2Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Arab American University Jenin, P.O. Box 240, Jenin, Palestine
3Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Middle East Cancer Consortium, Haifa, Israel
4Integrative Oncology Program, The Oncology Service, Lin Medical Center, Clalit Health Services, Western Galilee District, Haifa, Israel
5Complementary and Traditional Medicine Unit, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel and Clalit Health Services, Western Galilee District, Haifa, Israel

Received 17 July 2011; Accepted 26 September 2011

Academic Editor: Fatma U. Afifi

Copyright © 2012 Hilal Zaid 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.


The incidence of cancer is increasing in the developed countries and even more so in developing countries parallel to the increase in life expectancy. In recent years, clinicians and researchers advocate the need to include supportive and palliative care since the establishment of the diagnosis and throughout the duration of treatment, with the goal of improving patients' quality of life. This patient-centered approach in supportive care is also shared by various traditional and complementary medicine approaches. Traditional Arab-Islamic medicine offers a variety of therapeutic modalities that include herbal, nutritional, and spiritual approaches. Physicians and scholars, such as Avicenna (980–1037), Rhazes (965–915), Al Zahrawi (936–1013), and Ibn al Nafis (1218–1288) referred to cancer etiology in various medicinal texts and suggested both preventive and therapeutic remedies to alleviate suffering. This review presents research data related to the anticancer activities of herbs used in Arab-Islamic medicine and allude to their potential role in improving the quality of life of cancer patients.