Appraisal of Medicinal Plants with Anticancer Properties in South America

  • Alírica Isabel Suárez
  • Katiuska Chávez


Various plants have been used against cancer in the traditional systems of medicine in the South American countries, since many years. The indigenous people, population, or special books have transmitted these applications, which are originally based on verbal traditions through time, and many of these have been experimentally proven. Medicinal plant products have the advantage of having a minimum or no side effects compared to synthetic drugs, and hence, they are largely preferred in recent times. The South America region contains large areas considered with the richest biodiversity worldwide, with very variable geographic and climatic conditions, making the flora of this area an attractive target as a plant resource for the drug development. The phytochemical and pharmacological explorations of this rich biodiversity represent an accessible and affordable way to find new therapeutic treatment from medicinal plant used in the ethnomedicine of these countries. This chapter aims to discuss on the South American plants, their traditional uses, bioactive metabolites, and scientific studies on the anticancer activities. In addition, the information of some plants with anticancer potential used in the folk medicines that still do not have experimental data to validate their properties is also included. This comprehensive compiled data offer an insight into the development of novel anticancer agents in the near future.


Cancer Ethnobotany Medicinal plants South America 



We expressed our sincere gratitude to Dr(s). Natalia Bailon-Moscoso, Juan Carlos Romero-Benavides and, Fanny Tinitana-Imaicela for providing the relevant and useful information on the anticancer plants of Ecuador.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alírica Isabel Suárez
    • 1
  • Katiuska Chávez
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Farmacia, Laboratorio de Productos NaturalesUniversidad Central de VenezuelaCaracasVenezuela

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