Towards identification of bioactive compounds in cold vacuum extracted double cherry blossom (Gosen-Sakura) leaves

Plant Signal Behav. 2019;14(10):e1644594. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2019.1644594. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


The present research examines the possibility of finding bio-molecular compounds from the double cherry blossom (termed as 'Gosen-Sakura' of Gosen-city, Niigata-prefecture, Japan) leaves, which have been long used in the preparation of the traditional Japanese sweet (wagashi) - 'sakura-mochi'. Based on its indicated anti-microbial properties historically, our study provides a new low temperature vacuum extraction method for extracting 'near natural form of water soluble leaf (cell) extracts from the Gosen-Sakura, and demonstrates the presence of some 'novel' compound(s) with anti-tumor cell lines proliferation inhibitory affects through the MTT assay. To our knowledge, no reports exist on the sakura tree 'leaf (cell) extracts' inhibiting tumor cell line growth. We further examined and compared the effects of known compounds with anti-tumor activity, coumarin and benzyl alcohol with Gosen-Sakura leaf extract; results lead us to hypothesize that the Gosen-Sakura leaf extract contains substance(s) other than the above two known compounds, with antitumor effect. Additionally, we speculate on the underlying mechanism of action of the Gosen-Sakura leaf extract by targeting cell division at the point of DNA synthesis and causing apoptosis. In conclusion, we present scientific evidence on the presence of certain 'novel' biomolecule(s), with anti-tumor activity, in the Gosen-Sakura leaf which has been long used in Japanese sweet - the 'sakura-mochi'.

Keywords: Leaf extract; anti-tumor activity; cold extraction; double cherry blossom; human cell line.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Prunus / chemistry*
  • Vacuum*


  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts