Osage Orange
(Maclura pomifera)

by Dr. Les Moore

Osage Orange Osage Orange has traditionally been used as a treatment for cancer by Native American and folk herbalists. It is a botanical medicine encompassing unique constituents that exhibits anti-cancer activity with promising potential. A new class of lectins has been isolated from Osage Orange- prenylated isoflavones. The prenylated isoflavones are pomiferin and osajin.

Osage Orange has a strong resonance with the Doctrine of Signatures. Osage Orange has been recognized due to its shape which resembles a large tumor or fibroid. Its orange-red colored bark is associated with the color of blood, therefore it has been used traditionally in blood cleansing and blood movement. Utilitarian uses include the making of traditional bows. It is sometimes referred to by one of it's common names, Bow D'arc, which means wood of the bow. It is considered one of the best bow woods and is ranked among the Yew and the Pau D'arco, which are two of the top woods used in the construction of bows as well as anti-cancer botanicals. Osage Orange is an active ingredient in the formula Three Bows prescribed to treat cancer.


  • Maclura pomifera agglutinin (MPA) is a lectin/mitogen compound.
  • Macluralisin is a serin proteinase.
  • Pomiferin is a prenylated isoflavone, which acts as an antioxidant by inhibiting cytochrome P-450 enzymes, and inhibits LDL oxidation, a key process that is currently believed to play a central role in arteriosclerosis.
  • Osajin is also a prenylated isoflavone.
  • Phytoestrogen used in cancer and cardiovascular disease treatment.
  • Tetraphydroxystilbene is an anti-fungal agent.

Maclura pomifera agglutinin (MPA)

  • Highly specific for the tumor antigen Gal b1, 3 Gal Nac, a cell marker on some tumors. This is a core structure of the O-linked type of glycopeptide.
  • Has been used in immunology as erythroagglutinin, as markers in cell differentiation, in cancer biology as labels of carcinoma cells, in glycoprotein purification, and as probes in developmental biology.
  • It has shown to be detrimental to growth of larvae and to block HIV infection.
  • sequence of MPA, specifically for CHO and its lack of metal ions and disulfide bonds, all indicate it to be a member of a new lectin family.
  • It has a high affinity and specificity to bind tumor antigens on the surface of carcinoma cells from which 85% of cancer develops.

The Role of Lectins in Disease Treatment

  • From the Latin word legere, the word lectin means "to bind" or "to pick and choose".
  • Lectins are non-immunologic protein-polysaccharide molecules having a strong binding affinity for the complex carbohydrates, which are abundant on cell surfaces.
  • Forming an irreversible covalent bond, lectins bind in a manner similar to antibodies.
  • Galactose/ N-acetylgalactose-amine (Gal/GalNAc) lectin on the macrophage surface is involved with the uptake and recognition of tumor cells.
  • Concentrations of lectin needed to produce a therapeutic effect are on the order of microgram doses.


  • Take 10 drops twice daily.


  • Biou V., et al. (1995-96) ESRF Annual Report.
  • TA (1998) The role of lectins in the formation of disease and their potential use in treatment. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, v 8 no 2:25-34
  • Lee X & Biesterfeldt J (1997) Structure Determination of Maclura Pomifera Agglutinin: A Member of a New Lectin Family.
  • Pislariu C., et al. (2001) Detection and biological activity of phytoestrogens in wild and dietary plants. Plant Biology.
  • Rudenskaya GN., et al. (1995) Macluralism - a serin proteinase from fruits of Maclura pomifera. Planta, v 196: 174-9.
  • Rummel J (2001) Isolation and characterization of prenylated isoflavones from Maclura pomifera. Poster and Abstract.