Recent advances in pharmacologic study of anticancer natural products from medicinal plants in Morocco

  • Bnouham, Mohamed (Laboratory of Physiology and Ethnopharmacology, Department of Biology, URAC-40.Faculty of Sciences, University Mohamed 1st)
  • Received : 2012.06.09
  • Accepted : 2012.08.28
  • Published : 2012.08.31


The aim of this study is to collate all available data on experiments reporting the antiproliferative, cytotoxic effects of plants and natural products in Morocco in the last two decades. A bibliographic investigation was carried out by analyzing recognized books and peer-reviewed papers, consulting worldwide accepted scientific databases (Scirus, Embase, HighWire, MEDLINE/PubMed, LILACS, Ovid, ScienceDirect, SciELO, Google Scholar). We used medical subject heading terms and the words 'anticancer', 'antiproliferative', 'antineoplastic', 'antitumoral', 'cytotoxic', 'Morocco', to identify relevant articles. Moroccan plants with attributed anti-cancer properties studied as plant extracts that have been evaluated for cytotoxic effects, antitumoral effects, plants with active compounds tested on cancer cell lines, and plants with active compounds that have been assayed on animal models were chosen for this research. In the present study, interest is focused on experimental research conducted on medicinal plants, particularly those which show antiproliferative or cytotoxic activities alongside bioactive components. A total of 20 plant species belonging to 12 families have been identified as active or promising sources of phytochemicals with antiproliferative properties. The plant families, which cover all the species studied in this field, are Lamiaceae (7 species) and Asteraceae (4 species); the most studied species being Argania spinosa (Sapotaceae) and Arisarum vulgare (Araceae), Thymus Genus (Labiateae) and Peganum harmala (Zygophyllaceae). Based on the search results, it is recommended to increase the number of experimental studies and to begin conducting clinical trials with Moroccan plants and their active compounds selected by in vitro and in vivo activities.


Supported by : CNRST (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique et Techniques)


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