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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2016, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (4): 269-284.doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60261-3

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Apocynaceae species with antiproliferative and/or antiplasmodial properties: A review of ten genera

Eric Wei Chiang Chana , Siu Kuin Wongb, Hung Tuck Chanc   

  1. a Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
    b School of Science, Monash University Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia 
    c International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, c/o Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, 903-0129, Japan
  • Received:2016-02-20 Accepted:2016-05-05 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-07-15
  • Contact: Eric Wei Chiang Chan; E-mail:,

Apocynaceae is a large family of tropical trees, shrubs and vines with most species producing white latex. Major metabolites of species are triterpenoids, iridoids, alkaloids and cardenolides, which are known for a wide range of biological and pharmacological activities such as cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antimalarial properties. Prompted by their anticancer and antimalarial properties, the current knowledge on ten genera (Allamanda, Alstonia, Calotropis, Catharanthus, Cerbera, Dyera, Kopsia, Nerium, Plumeria and Vallaris) is updated. Major classes of metabolites are described using some species as examples. Species with antiproliferative (APF) and/or antiplasmodial (APM) properties have been identified. With the exception of the genus Dyera, nine genera of 22 species possess APF activity. Seven genera (Alstonia, Calotropis, Catharanthus, Dyera, Kopsia, Plumeria and Vallaris) of 13 species have APM properties. Among these species, Alstonia angustiloba, Alstonia macrophylla, Calotropis gigantea, Calotropis procera, Catharanthus roseus, Plumeria alba and Vallaris glabra displayed both APF and APM properties. The chemical constituents of these seven species are compiled for assessment and further research.

Key words: Apocynaceae, Antiproliferative, Antiplasmodial, Herbal medicine review

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[5] SUN Ming-yu, ZUO Jian, DUAN Ji-feng, HAN Jun, FAN Shi-ming, ZHANG Wei, ZHU Li-fang, YAO Ming-hui. Antitumor activities of kushen flavonoids in vivo and in vitro. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 51-59
[6] Wei Zhang, Xiang-feng Lu, Xiao-mei Zhang, Jian-jun Wu, Liang-duo Jiang. A rat model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by infusing bleomycin quickly through tracheal intubation. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 60-67
[7] A-gao Zhou, Yong Zhang, Gang Kui, De-Yun Kong, Hai-liang Ge, Qiu-hua Ren, Jia-rong Dong, Sheng Hong, Xu-ming Mao, Yin Wang, Hui-zheng Zhang, Shu-jun Wang. Influence of traditional Chinese compound recipes with different efficacy on body weight, tumor weight and immune function in H22 cancer-bearing mice. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 77-82
[8] Guo-hong Yuan, Xiao-jing Pang, He-chao Ma. Synergic effects of Danggui Buxue Decoction in reducing toxicity of cytoxan in tumor-bearing mice. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 83-88
[9] Ning-qun Wang, Liang-duo Jiang, Zong-xing Li. Research progress in asthma-related quality of life. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 93-97
[10] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013