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Chebulinic acid, a primary component in triphala, demonstrates anti-tumor properties


In this study, researchers from China evaluated the anti-proliferative activities of chebulinic acid and chebulagic acid — both of which are found in the Ayurvedic medicine triphala — against cancer cells. The results of their study were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 

  • Triphala is an Ayurvedic rasayana formulation reputed for its antitumor activities.
  • Chebulinic acid and chebulagic acid, along with other phenolic acids, are responsible for triphala’s effects.
  • The researchers used colorectal carcinoma cell lines with three phenotypes for their in vivo experiments.
  • They exposed the cells to several batches of triphala containing different quantities of chebulinic acid and chebulagic acid.
  • They also investigated the pro-apoptotic and anti-migratory activities and the probable antitumor mechanisms of the more potent anti-proliferative phytochemical, chebulinic acid.
  • They found that chebulinic acid exerts potent anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, and anti-migratory effects. It is also a key molecule for maintaining the antitumor efficacy of triphala.
  • The researchers believe that the antitumor mechanism of chebulinic acid is related to the PI3K/AKT and MAPK/ERK pathways.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that chebulinic acid is not only a critical component of the anticancer activities of triphala, but also a promising natural, multi-target and antitumor agent with therapeutic potential.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Wang M, Li Y, Hu X. CHEBULINIC ACID DERIVED FROM TRIPHALA IS A PROMISING ANTITUMOUR AGENT IN HUMAN COLORECTAL CARCINOMA CELL LINES. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 27 December 2018;18(1):342. DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2412-5



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