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A study on the extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in treatment of cyclophosphamide induced alopecia



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Daru. 2014; 22(1): 7.
Published online 2014 Jan 6. doi: 10.1186/2008-2231-22-7
PMCID: PMC3922840
PMID: 24393240
A study on the extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in treatment of cyclophosphamide induced alopecia
Satish Patel,1 Vikas Sharma,1 Nagendra S Chauhan,1 and Vinod K Dixit 1

Alopecia is a dermatological disorder with psychosocial implications on patients with hair loss. Hair loss is one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy. Plants have been widely used for hair growth promotion since ancient times in Ayurveda, Chinese and Unani systems of medicine. The effect of extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in testosterone induced alopecia was reported.

In the present study, the efficacies of the extracts of Cuscuta reflexa in promoting hair growth in cyclophosphamide-induced hair loss have been determined.

Materials and methods
The study was performed by treated with petroleum ether and ethanolic extract of Cuscuta reflexa at the dose 250 mg/kg in male swiss albino rats. Cyclophosphamide (125 mg/kg) was used to induce alopecia.

Groups treated with extracts of plant showed hair regrowth. Histopathology and gross morphologic observations for hair regrowth at shaved sites revealed active follicular proliferation.

It concluded that extracts of Cuscuta reflexa shown to be capable of promoting follicular proliferation or preventing hair loss in cyclophosphamide-induced hair fall.
Keywords: Cuscuta reflexa, Chemotherapy, Alopecia, Cyclophosphamide, Hair loss


Hair is a major esthetic display feature of the human body, especially in social and sexual interactions. Several drugs have an effect on hair growth and some bring about hair loss, the clinical symptoms of which are the results of interaction between the drugs and various cells important for hair growth. Such cells include follicular keratinocytes, cells of the hair matrix, peri-follicular blood vessels and those of the connective tissues surrounding the hair bulbs. The keratinocytes are a major target for the toxic effect of environmental agents or xenobiotics. This may be because up to 90% of all hair follicles are in a phase of rapid growth and the high rate of blood flow around hair bulbs results in a good bioavailability of many drugs at these sites [1].

The three major and frequent toxicities of cytotoxic cancer chemotherapy are bone marrow suppression, gastrointestinal disturbances and alopecia. Induction of massive hair loss (alopecia) by many chemotherapeutic drugs ranks among the most psychologically devastating side effects of cancer treatment. More than 80% of patients who receive chemotherapy consider hair loss the most distressing aspect of their treatment [2,3].

There have been remarkable advances in the understanding of the molecules and pathways regulating hair follicle formation, hair growth and hair loss [4,5]. Similarly, many products are now in the market for promoting hair growth and treating hair loss. However, these products often lack significant clinical efficacy in preventing the hair loss effect of chemotherapy.

Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. (Family Cuscutaceae), known as “amarvela” in vernacular, is a parasite, with slender yellow stems. It is widespread in temperate and tropical regions and common found throughout India. It grows on different host plants [6,7]. Traditionally, it used in treatment of protracted fever, diaphoretic, and as demulcent and as purgative [8,9].

Recent studies by Roy et al. [10,11] showed that extract and formulation of extract of C. reflexa Roxb. with Citrullus colocynthis Schrad. and Eclipta alba Hassk. have hair growth promoting activity and enhanced the regrowth of hair at shaved site.

Similar results observed in testosterone-induced alopecia in albino mice with petroleum ether extract of C. reflexa[12].

In the present study, the efficacies of extracts of C. reflexa in counteracting cyclophosphamide (CYP) induced hair loss were investigated. The findings of this experiment might stimulate the development of a new, effective therapy for hair loss especially in patients undergoing chemotherapy.


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