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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 564927, 11 pages
Research Article

Anticancer Activity of Certain Herbs and Spices on the Cervical Epithelial Carcinoma (HeLa) Cell Line

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa

Received 20 January 2012; Accepted 25 February 2012

Academic Editor: Victor Kuete

Copyright © 2012 Danielle Berrington and Namrita Lall. 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.


Acetone extracts of selected plant species were evaluated for their in vitro cytotoxicity against a noncancerous African green monkey kidney (Vero) cell line and an adenocarcinoma cervical cancer (HeLa) cell line. The plants studied were Origanum vulgare L. (Oregano), Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Upright and ground cove rosemary), Lavandula spica L. (Lavender), Laurus nobilis L. (Bay leaf), Thymus vulgaris L. (Thyme), Lavandula x intermedia L. (Margaret Roberts Lavender), Petroselinum crispum Mill. (Curly leaved parsley), Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (Fennel), and Capsicum annuum L. (Paprika). Antioxidant activity was determined using a quantitative DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl) assay. The rosemary species exhibited effective radical scavenging capacity with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of μg/mL and μg/mL and vitamin C equivalents of 0.351 g and 1.09 g for McConnell’s Blue and Tuscan Blue, respectively. Cytotoxicity was measured using XTT (Sodium -[1-(phenyl amino-carbonyl)-3,4-tetrazolium]-bis-[4-methoxy-6-nitro] benzene sulfonic acid hydrate) colorimetric assay. Only L. nobilis and O. vulgare exhibited pronounced effects on the HeLa cell line. Dose-dependent studies revealed IC50 of μg/mL and μg/mL on the HeLa cells and on the Vero cells 124.1 μg/mL ± 18.26 and 163.8 μg/mL ± 2.95 for L. nobilis and O. vulgare, respectively. Light (eosin and haematoxylin staining) and confocal microscopy (Hoechst 33342, acridine orange, and propidium iodide staining) were used to evaluate the cytotoxic mechanism of action for L. nobilis and O. vulgare.