Medicinal plants from time immemorial have been the backbone of traditional medicine and are widely used to treat acute and chronic diseases. The demand for such medicines is increasing day by day for the management and treatment of various health problems.1 Despite this rapid growth, there is limited evidence for the effectiveness and toxicity of such medicines; much more needs to be done to validate the ethnopharmacological claims with an evidence base for phytomedicines, botanicals, and all-natural folklore-originated medicines. However, few studies have addressed the toxicity of natural plants, although many questions have been raised regarding their safety.2,3 The importance of plant species for therapeutic applications is well established but studies on certain plant-induced toxicity are scarce. However, the rationale for the utilization of medicinal plants has rested largely on long-term clinical experience with little or no scientific data on their efficacy and safety.4

Chemotherapy is one of the potential treatments for prolonging the patient’s life. Almost 60% of anticancer drugs are of natural origin, such as plants (i.e., camptothecines, irinotecan, and vincristine) and microorganisms (i.e., bleomycin, dactinomicines, doxorubicin and mitomycin).5 However, many chemotherapeutic drugs are presently placed in a predicament of reduced therapeutic effect due to the problem of drug-resistance.6Chemotherapeutic drugs also exert toxicity to normal cells, which in turn causes the unpleasant side effects to the patients. For these reasons, research and development of new classes of anticancer agents which exhibit efficient and selective toxicity in tumour cells are enticing increased attention.

Presently, herbal medicines are gaining interest because of their cost effective and eco-friendly attributes.7 L. glutinosa C.B. Rob is an evergreen tree species belonging to the family Lauraceae. The traditional practitioners residing near Bhadra Wild Life Sanctuary of the Western Ghats are using the stem bark extract to cure alcoholism-related liver disorders.