Anticancer bioactivity of compounds from medicinal plants used in European medieval traditions

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Graphical abstractSince centuries, natural compounds from plants, animals and microorganisms were used in medicinal traditions to treat various diseases without a solid scientific basis. Recent studies have shown that plants that were used or are still used in the medieval European medicine are able to provide relieve for many diseases including cancer. Here we summarize impact and effect of selected purified active natural compounds from plants used in European medieval medicinal traditions on cancer hallmarks and enabling characteristics identified by Hanahan and Weinberg. The aim of this commentary is to discuss the pharmacological effect of pure compounds originally discovered in plants with therapeutic medieval use. Whereas many reviews deal with Ayurvedic traditions and traditional Chinese medicine, to our knowledge, the molecular basis of European medieval medicinal approaches are much less documented.

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