Ethnophyto-technology is harnessing the power of ethnobotany with biotechnology. Ethnobotany has aided the discovery of important medicines. The main objective of the present study is to evaluate the ethnobotanical role, allelopathy and the anticancer potentiality of Tribulus terrestris L. growing in Egypt. The species contains active substances such as steroids, saponins, antioxidants, flavonoids, alkaloids, phenolics, proteins and amino acids. The present study demonstrated that T. terrestris shoot aqueous extract displays effect on different germination factors of both Hordeum vulgare and Lepidium sativum and in case of mixing them together such as germination percentage, radicle length, plumule length, fresh and dry weight, chlorophyll content and phytochemical composition after treating with different concentrations of extract. The water extracts inhibited seed germination, plumule length, radicle growth, and fresh and dry matter production of the recipient species.
The cytotoxic effect of T. terrestris was demonstrated over six tested carcinoma cell lines. The extract showed a significant effect on lung carcinoma cell line (A549) with IC50 = 33 μg/mL. While Intestinal carcinoma cell line (CAco2) attained an effect of IC50 100 μg/mL. Furthermore, the colon carcinoma cell line (HCT), Prostate carcinoma cell line (PC3), breast carcinoma cell line (MCF7), and Liver carcinoma cell line (HEP-G2) show IC50 more than100 μg/mL for each one of them.
An ethnobotanical survey including twenty informants was applied using an open-ended questioner. All the informants agreed in plant recognition and mentioned that it occurs in natural fields during summer season. Thirty-five% of the informants mentioned that T. terrestris traditionally is hepatoprotective while 30% stated that it has diuretic activity. Twenty-five % of the informants mentioned that it removes kidney stones and 20% of them said that it is analgesic and has aphrodisiac activities that enhance sex hormones. 15% told us that the species used as anti-hypertensive, stomachic, urinary antiseptic and antibacterial herb while 10% of the informants mentioned that it is used as antitumor and immunomodulatory. Additionally, through analyzing the information provided by the interviewed persons with respect to the harmful uses of T. terrestris, 95% of the informants talk about that the plant is an aggressive species that has the potential to injure livestock, also it reduces plant biodiversity by quickly invading and crowding out desirable species, lead to soil dryness, consume large space during vegetative season and effects the soil pH and absorption of minerals.