Some plants, such as mullein, were used in folk medicine as sources of antitumour remedies. An in vitro study has identified inhibitors of protein biosynthesis in Verbascum thapsiforme flowers. Researchers found that a saponin glycoside and its aglycon, isolated from the flowers, directly inactivates ribosomes (Galasinski et al 1996). The constituent, verbascoside, has been shown to inhibit telomerase activity in human gastric carcinoma cells in test tube studies, resulting in inhibition of tumour growth (Zhang etal 2002). Cytotoxic effects for verbascoside have also been

identified against rat hepatoma and sarcoma ceils, and cytostatic activity on human epithelial carcinoma cells (Saracoglu et al 1995).

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