Alkaloid from Curry Leaf Inhibits the growth of Liver and Lung Cancer


The curry tree (Murraya koenigii or Bergera koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae which is native to India and Sri Lanka. 

Curry tree and leafs are not to be confused with Curry Powder.


Curry Tree

There are a number of alkaloids found in the curry tree leaves, stems, and seeds:  1

  • 2-methoxy-3-methyl-carbazole
  • girinimbine
  • isomahanine
  • koenimbine
  • mahanine
  • Mahanimbine
  • Undecalactone

A study published in the Journal Molecules on August 23, 2011 found that the alkaloid girinimbine islolated in curry leafs inhibited the growth and induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma, HepG2 cells in vitro.  2



Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer.

The authors of the study indicated that:  “Girinimbine-treated HepG2 cells showed typical morphological features of apoptosis, as observed from normal inverted microscopy and Hoechst 33342 assay.

Together, these results demonstrated for the first time that girinimbine could effectively induce programmed cell death in HepG2 cells and suggests the importance of conducting further investigations in preclinical human hepatocellular carcinoma models, especially on in vivo efficacy, to promote girinimbine for use as an anticancer agent against hepatocellular carcinoma.”

Another subsequent study from February 2013 published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the anticancer effects of girinimbine, a carbazole alkaloid isolated from Murraya koenigii Spreng, on A549 lung cancer cells in relation to apoptotic mechanistic pathway. 

“After 24 h treatment with 19.01 μM of girinimbine, decrease in the nuclear area and increase in mitochondrial membrane potential and plasma membrane permeability were readily visible. Moreover the translocation of cytochrome c also was observed. Girinimbine mediates its antiproliferative and apoptotic effects through up- and downregulation of apoptotic and antiapoptotic proteins.

There was a significant involvement of both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Moreover, the upregulation of p53 as well as the cell proliferation repressor proteins, p27 and p21, and the significant role of insulin/IGF-1 signaling were also identified. Moreover the caspases 3 and 8 were found to be significantly activated. Our results taken together indicated that girinimbine may be a potential agent for anticancer drug development.”  3


Supplement – Curry Leaf & Black Seed Capsules

Fresh or dried Curry leafs can be purchased at most Indian markets or grocery stores

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