Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Juniperus virginiana

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Effects of Juniperus Virginiana Extract on Non-Tumorigenic
and Tumorigenic Epithelial Cell Lines.
Elizabeth Barrett, Kavita Dhanwada, and Darrell Wiens, University of Northern Iowa.
Compounds present in plants used as traditional medicine by Native Americans may alter the growth of tumor cells. We undertook this study to determine the effects of Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar) extract on non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic human cells grown in culture. We cultured cell lines representing two different stages of cell transformation: 1) FEA cells, epithelial cells immortalized by HPV 18 infection (non-tumorigenic), and 2) CaSki cells, a metastatic epithelial cell line (tumorigenic).
We analyzed the effect of the Easter Red Cedar extract on cell proliferation by MTT assay. Increasing concentrations of extract (0-1.0 mg/mL) were used with both cell lines. The extract appeared to inhibit the growth of the non-tumorigenic FEA cells at all concentrations, particularly at 0.25 and 0.5 mg/mL. In contrast, the extract did not inhibit the growth of the tumorigenic CaSki cells, except at the 0.03 mg/mL concentration. In fact, at the 0.5 mg/mL concentration, the extract stimulated cell proliferation compared to control.
We measured the migration ability of the CaSki cells exposed to this extract by observing their migration into a lane scraped free of cells. Cell migration was monitored in time-lapse image sequences taken 4 and 20 hours after the cell-free lane was made. Despite their unaffected proliferation at the 1.0 mg/mL concentration of extract, the tumorigenic cells showed nearly complete impairment of motile behavior and migration after 4 hours. In addition, treated cells became detached and formed clusters after 20 hours. A 0.5 mg/mL concentration of extract showed similar results, but with slightly increased motility in the treated cells after 4 and 20 hours than at the 1.0 mg/mL concentration.
(Funded by Merck/AAAS grant to Dr. Carl Thurman.)

(Planta Med. 2003 May;69(5):477-8)  
Variation of podophyllotoxin in leaves of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Cushman KE, Maqbool M, Gerard PD, Bedir E, Lata H, Moraes RM.

Leaves of Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana L. Cupressaceae) have been reported to contain podophyllotoxin, a pharmaceutical compound used to manufacture drugs for treatment of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, genital warts, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. Podophyllotoxin content of leaves of immature, mature male, and mature female plants (approximately 1.45 mg x g -1) was significantly higher than that of leaves of juvenile plants (0.60 mg x g -1). Sampling date also affected podophyllotoxin content. Leaves harvested in January and April exhibited higher podophyllotoxin contents (1.56 and 1.45 mg x g -1, respectively) than leaves harvested in February and June (1.06 and 1.08 mg x g -1, respectively). There was no obvious pattern or trend in the data due to sampling date. There was no significant interaction between plant type and sampling date. These results indicate that foliage of mature Eastern red cedar, a waste product of the lumber industry, could be a low-yielding, but relatively stable, source of podophyllotoxin.