Incidence of cancer is growing swiftly worldwide and sparse supply of anticancer drugs; unaffordable cost and its lethal effect have shown the way to adopt complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment and/or prevention of cancer. The isolation of anti-cancer alkaloids vinblastine, vincristine and podophyllotoxins during 1950s prompts research on anticancer agents from plant origins. Lawsonia inermis (L.) popularly known as Mehndi or Henna, is a cosmetically renowned plant of the oriental region possesses diverse pharmacological activity including anti-carcinogenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, anti-tuberculostatic. In search of new anticancer drugs from natural sources many researchers have reported anticancer and chemopreventive properties of Henna extracts/compounds in their pre-clinical studies. Lawsone, one of the major constituent of henna, is used as a starting material in the synthesis of a variety of clinically valuable anticancer drugs such as atovaquone, lapachol and dichloroallyl lawsone. This plant contain other chemicals such as isoplumbagin, apigenin, apigenin glycosides, luteolin, luteolin-7 glucosides, p-coumarin and lupeol among which many are reported for their cytotoxicity and chemopreventive activity against different type of cancer cell. Here in this review, we are reporting a palingenesis of information regarding anticancer potential of Mehndi/Henna. We have included maximum available information from its in vitro and in vivo studies by referring different websites, text-books, notes, and articles, abstract, summary and consulting worldwide accepted scientific databases. The present review recapitulates some important findings on the anticancer potential of Mehndi/Henna and to a great extent more work has to be undertaken to explore its novel target(s). Future investigation on novel molecules from Mehndi/Henna may offer great hope for discovering new cancer chemotherapeutic and/or chemopreventive agents from this miraculous plant.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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