Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Ellen Munson
Posted on: November 11, 2003

Have you ever heard of this [bindweed]? My holistic vet is giving this to my dog along with other things to combat neurofibrosarcoma in [the dog’s] hip.

I have looked everywhere with no luck. I am trying to educate myself on what he is prescribing.

Bindweed, also known by its scientific name, Convolvulus arvensis, is a pernicious perennial weed that is difficult to eradicate.

Recently, researchers in Kansas have been investigating the plant’s effects on cancer. An extract of the plant was shown to inhibit tumour growth in studies on animals. In one study, an extract made with boiling water and filtered to remove certain low molecular weight compounds was found to inhibit fibrosarcoma growth in mice and angiogenesis in chick embryos. (For a summary of the study see The fact that the extract stops the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis) is significant because stopping angiogenesis is thought to be a potential mechanism for effective control of tumours.

Bindweed is a member of the nightshade family, a family of plants that frequently possess potent alkaloids and steroids. Bindweed contains tropane compounds that can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. However, the Kansas study suggests that anti-tumour effects occur at doses too low to be toxic, at least for the duration of the study period.

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