• Ramadasan Kuttan Research Director, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Amala Nagar P.O, Thrissur-680 555, Kerala, India
  • Sivamurthy R. G. Dr. R.G.Sivamurthy, Retd Professor, Department of Botany, University of Mysore, Mysore
  • Girija Kuttan Dr. Girija Kuttan, Professor, Department of Immunology, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Amala Nagar P.O, Thrissur-680 555, Kerala, India




To find out the cytotoxicity, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory activities of six species of plants belongs to Viscaeceae family available in Western Ghats (India).


In vitro cytotoxicity of Viscum extracts was studied by trypan blue exclusion method and MTT assay using various cell lines. Anti-tumor activity was determined using Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) and Dalton’s lymphoma ascites (DLA) cells in mice. Anti-inflammatory activities of Viscum extracts were studied using carrageenan and dextran induced mouse paw edema models in mice.


All six Viscaeceae plant extracts studied were cytotoxic towards transformed cell lines like DLA and EAC as well as to MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and SKBR3 cell lines. V.orientale, V.nepalense and V.ramosissimum, V.trilobatum were cytotoxic towards normal cells while V.angulatum and V.capitellatum were found to be nontoxic. Excepting V.angulatum all the other species selected here showed toxicity to animals. Administration of nontoxic concentration of extracts of Viscaeceae plants significantly (P<0.001) increased the lifespan of ascites tumor bearing animals and reduced DLA cells induced solid tumor development. All these plants except V.capitallatum and V.trilobatum showed significant (P<0.001) anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan and dextran models and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine levels.


Out of six species studied four species of Viscum species studied were cytotoxic to tumour cells and inhibited tumour development. Of the six species studied V. angulatum was non-toxic to animals and showed maximum efficiency as an antitumour agent. These plants showed significant anti-inflammatory activity and reduced inflammatory markers.

Keywords: Semiparasitase plants – Viscum species - Tumour reducing activity, Anti-inflammatory activity, Pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Download data is not yet available.


1. Anshutz EP. Viscum album. New Old and Forgotten Remedies 1961;600-602
2. Steiner R. Spiritual science and Medicine. Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, London 1920;p.394.
3. Leroi R. Clinical experience with mistletoe preparation Iscador. Vittoriq Klostermann, Frankfart 1975.
4. Kuttan G, Vasudevan DM, Kuttan R. Effect of a preparation from Viscum album on tumor development in vitro and in mice. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;29:35-41.
5. Kuttan G, Menon LG, Antony S and Kuttan R. Anticarcinogenic and antimetastatic activity of lscador. Anticancer drugs 1997; 8:815-816.
6. Antony S, Kuttan R. and Kuttan G. Effect of Viscum album in the inhibition of lung metastasis in mice induced by B16F10 melanoma cells. J.Exptl.Clin.Cancer Res. 1997;
16: 159-162

7. Kuttan G, Kuttan R.. Reduction of leukopenia in mice by "Viscum album" administration during radiation and chemotherapy. Tumori 1993;79:74-6.
8. Franz H. Mistletoe lectins and A and B changes. Oncology 1986;43:23-34 Supple.1.
9. Samuelson G and Petterson BM. The amino acid sequence of Viscotoxin B from European Mistletoe. Eur.J. Biochem 1971;96-89
10.Khwaja TA, Dias CB and Pentecoast S. Recent studies on the anticancer activities of
Mistletoe (Viscum album) and its alkaloids. Oncology 1986;43:42-50 Supple.1.
11. Jordan E and Wagner H. Structure and properties of polysaccharide from Viscum album L. Oncology 1986;43:8-15.Supple.1.
12. Harmsma M, Ummelen M, Dignef W, Tusenius KJ, Ramaekers FC. Effects of mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extracts Iscador on cell cycle and survival of tumor cells. Arzneim Forsch 2006;56:474-82.
13. Park WB, Lyu SY, Kim JH, Choi SH, Chung HK, Ahn SH, Hong SY, Yoon TJ, Choi MJ. Inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis by Korean mistletoe lectin is associated with apoptosis and antiangiogenesis. Cancer Biother Radiopharm 2001;16(5):439–447.
14. Elluru SR, Van Huyen JP, Wootla B, Delignat S, Prost F, Negi VS, Kaveri SV. Tumor regressive effects of Viscum album preparations-exploration of immunomodulatory mechanisms. Medicina. 2007;67:85–89.
15. Bussing A. Immune modulation using mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extracts Iscador. Arzneim Forsch 2006;56:508-515.
16. Liu B, Bian HJ, Bao JK. Plant lectins: potential antineoplastic drugs from bench to clinic. Cancer Letters 2010;287(1):1–12.
17. Engdal S, Nilsen OG. Inhibition of P-glycoprotein in Caco-2 cells: effects of herbal remedies frequently used by cancer patients. Xenobiotica 2008;38:559-73.
18. Ostermann T, Raak C, Bussing A. Survival of cancer patients treated with mistletoe extract (Iscador): a systematic literature review. BMC cancer 2009; 9:451.
19. Grossarth-Maticek R, Ziegler R.. Randomised and non-randomised prospective controlled cohort studies in matched-pair design for the long-term therapy of breast cancer patients with a mistletoe preparation (Iscador): a re-analysis. Eur J Med Res 2006;11:485-95.
20. Bussing A, Raak C, Ostermann T. Quality of life and related dimensions in cancer patients treated with mistletoe extract (iscador): a meta-analysis. eCAM 2012;212-19.
21. Gil Bar-Sela. White-Berry Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) as complementary treatment in cancer: Does it help. Eur J Int Med 2011;3:55-62.
22. Kumar S, Sangeetha B, Rajalekshmi M, Muralidhar R and Yashovarma B. Pharmacognostical and phytochemical studies on dyer’s oleander mistletoe, Viscum orientale Wild. IJNPR 2013;4:260-69.
23. Murali M, Puneetha GK, Thriveni MC, Niranjan MH, Shivamurthy GR, Niranjana SR, Prakash HS, Amruthesh KN. Phytochemical screening and antioxidant activity of hemi-parasitic Indian mistletoe Viscum nepalense Sprengel. J Pharm Res 2011;4:3348-50.
24. Jadhav RB, Bhatnagar SP, Surana SJ. Diuretic activity of squamate mistletoe,Viscum angulatum. Pharm Biol 2010;48:417-21.
25. Moldeus P, Hogberg J, Orrhenius S, Fleischer SP. In: Methods in Enzymology. New York: Academic press 1978;52:60-71.
26. Cole SP. Rapid chemo sensitivity testing of human lung tumor cells using MTT assay. Cancer chemoth pharmacol 1986;17:256-60.
27. Campling BG, Phym J, Barker HM, Cole SP, Lam YM. Chemo sensitivity testing of small cell lung cancer using the MTT assay. Br J Cancer 1991;63:75-83.
28. Kuttan R, Bhanumathy P, Nirmala K, George MC. Possible anticancer activity of turmeric. Cancer Letters 1985;29:197-202.
29. Atia MA and Weiss DW. Immunology of spontaneous mammary carcinomas in mice. Acquired tumor resistance and enhancement in strain A mice infected with mammary tumor virus. Cancer Res 1966;26:1887-1900.
30. Winter CA, Risly EA, Nuss CW. Carrageenan induced paw edema in hind paw of the rats -an assay for its anti-inflammatory drugs. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1962;11:544-47.
31. Maity TK, Mandal SC, Mukherjee PK. Studies on anti-inflammatory effect of Cassia tora leaf extract (Fam. Leguminosae). Phytother Res 1988;12:221-24.
32. Green LC, Wagner DA, Glogowski J, et al. Analysis of nitrate and nitrite and (15-N) nitrite in biological fluids. Anal Biochem 1982;126:131-138.

33. Grivennikov SI, Greten FR and Karin M. Immunity, Inflammation, and Cancer. Cell 2010;140:883–99.
34. Lin JH, Chiou YN and Lin YL. Phenolic glycosides from Viscum angulatum. J. Natl.Prod 2002;65:638-40
314 Views | 1026 Downloads
How to Cite
Kuttan, R., S. R. G., and G. Kuttan. “POTENTIAL ANTI-TUMOR AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF SIX MISTLETOE PLANTS IN THE FAMILY VISCACEAE PRESENT IN WESTERN GHATS, INDIA”. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 9, no. 10, Nov. 2017, pp. 57-64, doi:10.22159/ijpps.2017v9i11.20541.
Original Article(s)