The pros and cons of biological effects of herbs and herb-derived compounds on liver tumorigenesis

Mohamad Khalil, Maria Calasso, Leonilde Bonfrate, Agostino Di Ciaula, Maria De Angelis, David Q.H. Wang, Piero Portincasa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Consumption of natural products such as herbs, spices, plant-derived compounds, and foods is on the rise globally. The use of these substances is widely recognized as an integral part of culture and tradition, with the philosophy being “no benefit is no harm”. The utility of medicinal plants and extracts is under scrutiny, and the scientific community needs to clarify many conceptual gaps. Medicinal plants are rich in bioactive phytochemicals that produce chemopreventive effects at different levels, including cellular, animal, and clinical. The ultimate translational value is often missing, and some studies suggest that botanicals may contain toxic compounds that cause acute or chronic toxicity. In this regard, the liver is the center, and herbal products can show protective effects or induce hepatotoxicity, thereby promoting liver cancer. In this review article, we examine a range of herbal products implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis and extend the discussion to herbal products that may be potentially involved in the prevention and treatment of liver carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalHepatoma Research
StatePublished - 2022


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Herbs
  • Liver cancer
  • Natural compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Oncology


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