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Guinea Hen weed, breast cancer treatment?


This plant is available as a tea. It's also known as Anamu tea.

Specific RSK kinase inhibition by dibenzyl trisulfide and implication for therapeutic treatment of cancer.

Lowe HI1, Facey CO, Toyang NJ, Bryant JL.



The Jamaican "Guinea Hen Weed" (Petiveria alliacea L.) plant has been traditionally used in folklore medicine to treat a variety of diseases including cancer. In the present study we investigated on the therapeutic feasibility of dibenzyl trisulfide (DTS) (isolated from the Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed) as a potent small-molecule kinase inhibitor to treat cancer.


We investigated the inhibitory effects of DTS against a large panel of kinases using a well-established competitive binding assay. Cell proliferation data were obtained using the WST-1 colorimetric assay.


DTS inhibited the activity of the C-terminal kinase domain of RSK1 (80% compared to control) with a Kd of 1.3 μM. Anti-proliferative effects of DTS were observed in small lung, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer cells with IC50 values ranging from 0.34-0.84 μM.


We have identified DTS as a highly selective and isoform-specific RSK1 kinase inhibitor with broad cancer therapeutic potential.


2014 May 14;153(3):641-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.03.013. Epub 2014 Mar 15.

A Petiveria alliacea standardized fraction induces breast adenocarcinoma cell death by modulating glycolytic metabolism.

Hernández JF1, Urueña CP1, Cifuentes MC1, Sandoval TA1, Pombo LM2, Castañeda D1, Asea A3, Fiorentino S4.



Folk medicine uses aqueous and alcoholic extracts from Petiveria alliacea (Phytolaccaceae) in leukemia and breast cancer treatment in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Herein, we validated the biological activity of a Petiveriaalliacea fraction using a metastatic breast adenocarcinoma model (4T1).


Petiveria alliacea fraction biological activity was determined estimating cell proliferation, cell colony growth capacity and apoptosis (caspase-3 activity, DNA fragmentation and mitochondrial membrane potential) in 4T1 cells. Petiveria alliacea was used at IC₅₀ concentration (29 µg/mL) and 2 dilutions below, doxorubicin at 0.27 µg/mL (positive control) and dibenzyl disulfide at 2.93 µg/mL (IC50 fraction marker compound). Proteomic estimations were analyzed by LC-MS-MS. Protein level expression was confirmed by RT-PCR. Glucose and lactate levels were measured by enzymatic assays. LD50 was established in BALB/c mice and antitumoral activity evaluated in mice transplanted with GFP-tagged 4T1 cells. Mice were treated with Petiveria alliacea fraction via I.P (182 mg/kg corresponding to 1/8 of LD₅₀ and 2 dilutions below).


Petiveria alliacea fraction in vitro induces 4T1 cells apoptosis, caspase-3 activation, DNA fragmentation without mitochondria membrane depolarization, and decreases cell colony growth capacity. Also, changes in glycolytic enzymes expression cause a decrease in glucose uptake and lactate production. Fraction also promotes breast primary tumor regression in BALB/c mice transplanted with GFP-tagged 4T1 cells.


A fraction of Petiveria alliacea leaves and stems induces in vitro cell death and in vivo tumor regression in a murine breast cancer model. Our results validate in partly, the traditional use of Petiveria alliacea in breast cancer treatment, revealing a new way of envisioningPetiveria alliacea biological activity. The fraction effect on the glycolytic pathway enzymes contributes to explain the antiproliferative and antitumor activities.