Medicinal plants used for the treatment of cancer in Algeria: an ethnomedicinal survey

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Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-022-00445-9
First Page: 442
Last Page: 452
Views: 463

Keywords: Ethnomedicinal survey, Algeria, Medicinal plants, Cancer


Cancer is a major health problem and the second leading cause of death in the world. Modern therapies for cancer may not be accessible to patients from developing countries due to unavailability, cost, and adverse effects. Medicinal plants as alternative medicine thus become the choice of treatment given their therapeutic properties, including in Algeria, where plant based traditional medicine is frequently used to treat several cancers. To examine the use of medicinal plants as treatment for cancer by the Algerian population, the present study conducted an ethnobotanical survey. This study identified eight plant species used to treat different types of cancer including lung, blood, breast, ovarian, uterine, otorhinolaryngologic (ORL), prostate and liver cancer. The most important species used to treat these cancers were: Ephedra alata, Anabasis articulata, Taraxacum officinale and Calligonum comosum, with Anabasis articulata and Calligonum comosum being reported for the first time to treat different types of cancers. Leaves were the most commonly used part of the plant, while decoction was the main method of preparation, and oral administration was the main mode of intake. Findings from the present study suggest that the local population from different regions in Algeria maintain full knowledge about medicinal plants used for cancer treatment, particularly lung cancer. These findings highlight the need to document and preserve the traditional medicine in managing cancer. This may give more insight into future pharmacological investigations on the identified plants to determine their efficacy and safety, which would inform wider scale treatment, thereby increasing global utility.

Ethnomedicinal survey, Algeria, Medicinal plants, Cancer

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We thank D. Hadj-Said for technical help. We would also like to thank all the people who helped us in gathering information during the interviews. We are also grateful to Bader Edine Lidi, Ali Bekakra and Moataz Hamaidi for sharing their valuable knowledge with us and participating in plant collection.

Author Information

Harbane Sonia
Ecology, Biotechnology and Health Lab, Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou, Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria

Lamouri Louiza
Ecology, Biotechnology and Health Lab, Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou, Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria

Bouazza Belaid
Ecology, Biotechnology and Health Lab, Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou, Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria