Alternative Remedies and Natural Products for Cancer Therapy: An Integrative Approach

Spirulina: A Living Library of Anticancer Phytochemicals

Author(s): Awotunde Oluwasegun Samson*, Omogbadegun Olu Richard and Mugambwa Joseph Yusuf

Pp: 199-209 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815124699123010013

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. It is one of the major causes of human death, especially in developing countries. Alternative cancer treatments using medicinal plants are exploited because plants produce phytochemical compounds, which are secondary metabolites used for natural defence but could also be useful in inhibiting cancer growth. Medicinal plants also have limited side effects and toxicity as compared to conventional chemotherapy and irradiation treatments. Hence there is a need to develop novel drugs from other sources like plants, fungi, and algae. Spirulina is a blue-green alga with three species: Spirulina platensis, Spirulina fusiformis, and Spirulina maxima. Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima are consumable by humans in the form of dietary supplements, as they are enriched with important nutrients and a library of phytochemicals that can improve immunity and levels of blood lipids, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and prevent oxidation. These activities of Spirulina phytochemicals make them a good candidate for anticancer therapy. Therefore, this chapter describes the botanical classification, phytochemical composition, and anticancer characteristics of Spirulina and with a specific focus on Spirulina platensis.

Keywords: Anticancer, Alternative, Blue-green algae, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Chemical library, Dietary supplement, Fungi, Fatty acids, Medicinal, Oxidation, Phytochemicals, Spirulina platensis, Spirulina fusiformis, Spirulina maxima, Toxicity.

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