Integrative oncology in the Middle East: From traditional herbal knowledge to contemporary cancer care

E. Ben-Arye*, E. Schiff, E. Hassan, K. Mutafoglu, S. Lev-ari, M. Steiner, O. Lavie, A. Polliack, M. Silbermann, E. Lev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Based on traditional, historical, ethnobotanical, laboratory, and clinical findings, we present research framework aiming to identify Middle Eastern herbs that are worthy of further research for their anticancer potential. Methods: A comprehensive research project was developed by a multinational team comprising family physicians, medicine specialists, oncologists, an Islamic medicine history specialist, a traditional medicine ethnobotanist, and a basic research scientist. The project followed two consecutive phases: (i) historical and ethnobotanical search for cancer-related keywords and (ii) Medline search for in vitro and in vivo studies. Results: This search yielded 44 herbs associated with cancer care. The Medline search yielded 34 herbs of which 9 herbs were reported in various clinical studies. Conclusions: This multidisciplinary survey was found to be a valuable way to identify herbs with potential clinical significance in cancer care. Based on this pilot study, it is suggested that the Middle East can serve as a valuable region for future multicultural-oriented cancer research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Herbal medicine
  • Islamic medicine
  • Oncology
  • Traditional medicine


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