Rasagenthi lehyam (RL) a novel complementary and alternative medicine for prostate cancer

Rama S. Ranga, Ramankutty Girija, Mohammed Nur-e-alam, Sabapathy Sathishkumar, Mohammed A. Akbarsha, Subbiah Thirugnanam, Jürgen Rohr, Mansoor M. Ahmed, Damodaran Chendil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer has been increasing. The therapeutic modalities which originated from India, viz., Ayurveda and Siddha, have phytotherapy as their fundamental basis and, therefore, produce few side effects. They are among the most ancient medicinal systems and are still being practiced in India and elsewhere, to cure cancer and other diseases. Many Siddha practitioners in the southern parts of India prescribe rasagenthi lehyam (RL) as a drug for cancer. RL contains 38 different botanicals, many of which have been shown to possess therapeutic efficacy, and 8 inorganic compounds, all prepared into a paste in a palm sugar and hen's egg base. The efficacy of RL in killing prostate cancer cells in vitro was investigated in this study to determine whether RL could be recommended as a CAM for prostate cancer. Methods: In order to scientifically validate the anticancer activity of RL on prostate cancer, a methanolic extract of RL was serially extracted with four organic solvents, and the extracts were tested for clonogenic inhibition and induction of apoptosis in PC-3 prostate cancer cells, with and without irradiation. n-Hexane, ethyl acetate and chloroform extracts of RL effectively killed PC-3 cells. Results: The IC50 values of n-hexane, ethyl acetate and chloroform extracts of RL were 3.84 μg/ml, 3.68 μg/ml and 75 ng/ml, respectively. All three extracts induced apoptosis in PC-3 cells. Further, all the three extracts when combined with radiation, caused enhanced effect on killing of PC-3 cells. Among the three extracts, the chloroform extract showed the most significant radiation-sensitizing effect. Conclusion: RL, either in its original formulation prepared under strict quality control or its chloroform extract, could potentially be an alternative medicine for prostate cancer, and also a sensitizing agent in the context of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, as a complementary medicine. A more directed study could lead to the identification of the active principle(s) in the chloroform extract of RL for use in prostate cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Apoptosis induction
  • CAM for prostate cancer
  • Clonogenic inhibition
  • Radiosensitization
  • Rasagenthi lehyam
  • Siddha medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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