Curr Drug Targets. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jan 14.
Published in final edited form as:
The Caribbean tropical tree, Pimenta dioica has been used for a variety of human endeavors, such as in perfumery industry, food spice, as a natural pesticide, and in folk medicine. Discovered in Jamaica during the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the dried unripe berries of P. dioica also known as Allspice can be found in all continents with unique names in over 50 languages. Systematic investigation of aromatic constituents of Pimenta leaves and its unripe berries, Allspice, have resulted in discovery of many and novel aromatic compounds, mostly glycosides and polyphenols that show antibacterial, hypotensive, anti-neuralgic and analgesic properties. Recent studies have shown two of the known compounds isolated from Allspice, Eugenol and Gallic acid have selective antiproliferative and anti-tumor properties on human cancer cells and their animal models. New characterization of novel compounds such as Ericifolin from the aqueous extract of Allspice berries show potent anti-prostate cancer and anti-breast cancer properties that can be verified in vitro as well as in vivo. Considering its purity, mostly available as “organically grown” berries, availability at low cost, wide acceptance in culinary delights of many cultures world-wide, Allspice may have an additional space in most households, in their medicine cabinets.
Keywords: Allspice, cancer, diet and chemoprevention, eugenol, ericifolin, Pimenta dioica, quercetin