The possibility of a natural approach to HPV - the human papilloma virus

Cervical cancer is caused by infection of specific types of high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs), such as HPV types 16 and 18 (HPV16 and HPV18). In high-risk HPV infections, continual activity of 2 early genes (E6 and E7) that are responsible for changing cells so that they tend to form tumours, is mainly dependent on the availability of an activator protein (AP-1). AP-1 plays a key role during development of cervical cancer.

A study by Prusty and Das (2004) found that curcumin, an antioxidant extracted from turmeric, not only inhibits AP-1 but it also selectively suppresses HPV genes being copied over in cervical cancer cells. This abolition of the cancer-causing HPV gene induced by curcumin, combined with AP-1 binding, can control disease-causing HPV expression during the early stages of cervical cancer.

Wogonin is a flavonoid compound found in several Scullcap species (a member of the Mint family) such as Scutellaria lateriflora (used in Western herbal medicine) and Scutellaria baicalensis (used in Chinese herbal medicine). Kim et al., (2013) demonstrated that wogonin brought about HPV-infected cervical cancer cell death by suppressing the expressions of the viral cancer-causing genes (E6 and E7).


Kim MS, Bak Y, Park YS, Lee DH, Kim JH, Kang JW, Song HH, Oh SR, Yoon do Y. (2013). Wogonin induces apoptosis by suppressing E6 and E7 expressions and activating intrinsic signaling pathways in HPV-16 cervical cancer cells. Cell Biol Toxicol. 29(4), 259-72. doi: 10.1007/s10565-013-9251-4.

Prusty BK and Das BC. (2005). Constitutive activation of transcription factor AP-1 in cervical cancer and suppression of human papillomavirus (HPV) transcription and AP-1 activity in HeLa cells by curcumin. Int J Cancer. 113(6), 951-60.