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Pacific Yew, Taxus brevifolia

Family:

Taxaceae

Found in:

Medicinal Garden

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Medicinal Garden information:

Pacific yew is a common tree or shrub in the coniferous forest understory of the western US. Taxol, a complex molecule found in all parts of the plant, is effective for chemotherapy of ovarian, breast and possibly other cancers. Other members of the genus Taxus also produce compounds known as taxanes, which disrupt cell division, valuable in inhibiting cancer cells.

Pacific yew bark and English yew needles can be used to isolate 10 desacetylbaccatin III which is converted to paclitaxel. Paclitaxel is available as the prescription drug, Taxol, for treating advanced ovarian cancer.

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