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A Potential Anticancer Medicinal Plant

A Potential Anticancer Medicinal Plant
by Lalit Tiwari & D.P. Agrawal

Oroxylum indicum Vent is a member of family Bignoniaceae and it is widely used by the Indians for the treatment of various aliments. Recently Mao has reported its effective use in treating cancer also.

Mao learnt from the Maram Naga villagers that a man suffering from nasopharyngeal cancer was cured by a decoction of O. indicum bark. The plant is known Shakbang in Maram Naga language. O.indicum is a medium sized deciduous tree. The plants are mostly sighted along the riverbanks or slopes of the hills. And it is distributed through out India and south east Asia. The plant has different names in different regional languages.

The patient who suffered from nasopharyngeal cancer and took the decoction of O. indicum bark was alleged to have been cured. After visiting several hospitals, the patient went to Dr. B. Borooah of the Cancer Institute, Guwahati, Assam, where he underwent chemotherapy but could not be cured. The doctor of the institute told his family that he may live only for about 6 months. And advised them to take him home for rest.

But when the patient’s family learnt that treatment with the decoction of O. indicum bark could be effective, they administered him this concoction. About one kg of fresh bark was boiled in 5 liters of water for 30-40 minutes and the decoction was filtered and it was given with honey three times a day. The patient’s family told that he was free from this pain just within two weeks. And said that it had no side effect. Mao again visited the patient’s home and found him living a normal life. And he still continues to take the decoction 3 times a day.

Mao also found that the plant was being used for the treatment of various other ailments. The decoction of the bark is taken for curing gastric ulcer and the paste of the bark is applied to mouth for cancer, scabies, tonsil pain and other diseases. The paste is also used for the animal wounds and the decoction for deworming.

Mao has strongly pleaded a through screening of its bioactive chemical properties and chemical testing.


Mao, A.A. 2002. Oroxylum indicum Vent. – a potential anticancer medicinal plant. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 1 (1): 17-21.