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The toothache plant, Spilanthes acmella (L.) Murray, is an important culinary and medicinal plant. Here, we study its probable properties as a protective agent for DNA damage and cell proliferation, the two molecular events in oncogenesis. Plant extract was prepared by hot extraction using methanol as solvent. Various chemical tests were performed to collectively understand its free radical-scavenging activity, including 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, nitric oxide, potassium ferricyanide, hydroxyl radical, and hydrogen peroxide assays. Free radicals used or produced in these assays represent those that cause DNA damages in cells. The plant extract showed free radical-scavenging activity in all the tests and was as effective as standard drugs. Cancer cell lines such as Dalton’s lymphoma ascites (DLA) and Chinese hamster lung carcinoma (V79) cells were used for anticancer assays. The plant extract showed anticancer activity only on lymphoma cells; but there was no discernible inhibition on carcinoma. The study shows that S. acmella is a promising source of therapeutic agent in the prevention of cancer development and DNA damage.


Chinese Hamster Lung Carcinoma, Dalton’s Lymphoma Ascites, Free Radical Scavenging, Medicinal Plant, MTT Assay.
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