In this study, researchers from Germany investigated the safety of Helleborus niger aqueous fermented extract (HNE) and its therapeutic potential against various cancer cell lines. Their findings were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The therapeutic applications of H. niger is manifold due to its phytochemical composition.
However, the two active compound groups in H. niger, namely, ranunculin derivates (protoanemonin) and steroidal saponins, are also associated with genotoxicity and disintegration of membrane structures.
To evaluate the safety of HNE, the researchers conducted Ames and hemolytic tests. They also assessed the anti-angiogenetic potential of HNE using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC).
For the 2D and 3D proliferation assays and the migration and invasion assays, the researchers used a panel of tumor cell lines. Additionally, they used isolated compounds (steroidal saponins) from HNE for the 2D proliferation assay.
The researchers found that HNE did not exhibit any genotoxic potential. HNE concentrations up to 10 microliters per milliliter were classified as non-hemolytic.
HNE exerted anti-angiogenetic effects on HUVEC and anti-proliferative effects in five difference cancer cell lines.
Meanwhile, hellebosaponin A and D, together with macranthosid I did not show comparable effects alone or in combination.
Because proteanemonin in isolated form is unstable, parallel investigations with it could not be performed.
HNE, at concentrations of 600 to 1000 microgram per milliliter, inhibited the migration of cancer cells by more than 80 percent. These cells included Caki-2, DLD-1 and SK-N-SH.
Felenda JE, Turek C, Morbt N, Herrick A, Muller MB, Stintzing FC. PRECLINICAL EVALUATION OF SAFETY AND POTENTIAL OF BLACK HELLEBORE EXTRACTS FOR CANCER TREATMENT. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 21 May 2019;19(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2517-5