Health Care Professional Information

Common Name

Tian-Xian Liquid, Tien Hsien, Tien-Hsien Liquid

Clinical Summary

Tian Xian is an extract of 14 Chinese medicinal herbs (ingredients may vary depending on manufacturers) and is used for cancer treatment in traditional medicine. Proponents claim that the anticancer effects are due to the immunomodulating properties of the constituents. In vitro studies demonstrated that Tian Xian has immunomodulating (1) (3) and anticancer effects (4) (5) (6) effects. However, clinical data are lacking.

No serious adverse effects have been reported from use of Tian Xian liquid. Patients should, however, use caution because some of the herbs in Tian Xian may interact with prescription drugs.

Purported Uses
  • Cancer treatment
  • Immunomodulation
Constituents
Mechanism of Action

Tian Xian liquid increased the proliferation of antigen stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells and T cells isolated from patients with recurrent aphthous ulcers (1). Proposed mechanisms include increase in the cytotoxic activity of NK cells, increase in phagocytic activity of macrophages, anti-inflammatory effects, and immunopotentiation by the constituents (1). However, none has been confirmed in clinical studies.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to any of the components.

Herb-Drug Interactions

See individual monographs.

Literature Summary and Critique

Clinical trials have not been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Tian Xian in humans.

Consumer Information

How It Works

Bottom Line: The claims of anticancer effects of Tian Xian are based on anecdotal reports. Scientific evidence is lacking.

Tian Xian is an herbal extract is used in traditional medicine and consists of the following herbs: Cordyceps sinensis (Dong Chong Xia Cao), Astragulus membranaceus (Huang Qi), Ganoderma lucidum (Ling Zhi), Panax ginseng (Ren Shen), Atractylodes macrocephalae (Bai Zhu), Dioscorea batatas (Shan Yao), Codnopsis pilosula (Dang Shen), Pogostemon cablin (Huo Xiang), Lycium barbarum (Gou Qi Zi), Pteria margaritifera (Pearl Powder), Ligustrum lucidum Ait (Nu Zhen Zi), and Radix glycyrrhizae (Licorice).

Promoters of Tian Xian claim that it has immunomodulating and anticancer effects. Laboratory studies show that it can increase the number of immune cells upon stimulation with antigens, and also has anticancer effects. However, human studies have not been conducted.

Purported Uses
  • Immunomodulation
    A laboratory study showed that Tian Xian increased the number of immune cells when stimulated with specific antigens.
  • Cancer Treatment
    Lab studies show that Tian Xian has anticancer properties. Human data are lacking.
Do Not Take If

You have hypersensitivity to any of the constituents.

E-mail your questions and comments to aboutherbs@mskcc.org.