Flor-Essence® herbal tonic does not inhibit mammary tumor development in Sprague Dawley rats

L. Michelle Bennett, Jennifer L. Montgomery, Seth M. Steinberg, Kristen S. Kulp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer often self-administer complementary and alternative medicines to augment their conventional treatments, improve health, or prevent recurrence. Flor-Essence ® tonic is a complex mixture of herbal extracts used by cancer patients because of anecdotal evidence that it can treat or prevent disease. Methods: Female Sprague-Dawley rats were given water or exposed to 3 or 6% Flor-Essence ® beginning at 1 day of age. Mammary tumors were induced with a single oral 40 mg/kg/bw dose of dimethyl-benz[a]anthracene at 50 days of age and sacrificed at 23 weeks. Rats were maintained on AIN-76A diet. Results: Control rats had palpable mammary tumor incidence of 51.0% at 19 weeks of age compared to 65.0 and 59.4% for the 3 and 6% Flor-Essence ® groups respectively. Overall, no significant difference in time until first palpable tumor was detected among any of the groups. At necropsy, mammary tumor incidence was 82.5% for controls compared to 90.0 and 97.3% for rats consuming 3 and 6% Flor-Essence ®, respectively. Mean mammary tumor multiplicity (±SES) for the controls was 2.8 (±0.5) and statistically different from the 3 or 6% Flor-Essence ® groups with 5.2 (±0.7), and 4.8 (±0.6), respectively (p £ 0.01). As expected, the majority of isolated tumors were diagnosed as adenocarcinomas. Conclusions: Flor-Essence ® can promote mammary tumor development in the Sprague-Dawley rat model. This observation is contrary to widely available anecdotal evidence as well as the desire of the consumer that this commercially available herbal tonic will suppress and/or inhibit tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • complementary and alternative medicine
  • DMBA tumors
  • herbal tonic
  • mammary tumors
  • Sprague-Dawley rat model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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