- Nu zhen zi
- Glossy privet
- Dong qing zin
For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Ligustrum lucidum has not been shown to treat cancer in humans.
Ligustrum lucidum is a Chinese medicinal herb used to treat diminished eye sight, dizziness, fever, and insomnia, and to increase immune function in cancer patients. In vitro studies suggest it has antioxidant, antitumor, and immune function effects. A few animal studies suggest properties that may have benefits on bone and vision. However, studies have not been conducted in humans.
- Cancer treatment In vitro studies suggest that Ligustrum lucidum has anticancer properties, but clinical evidence is lacking.
- Immunostimulation Data from laboratory studies suggest that Ligustrum lucidum may change immune response.
- Antiviral A few laboratory studies suggest antiviral effects.
- To improve eyesightLigustrum lucidum is used in Chinese medicine to treat poor eye sight but there is no clinical evidence to support this.
- To treat dizziness There are no data to support this use although Ligustrum lucidum is used to treat dizziness in Chinese medicine.
- Fever This use is not backed by scientific evidence.
- Insomnia There are no data to support this use.
For Healthcare Professionals
Ligustrum lucidum is a Chinese medicinal plant that is often used in combination with other herbs in botanical formulas. There are several species of Ligustrum that are thought to have different medicinal properties (2) (3). Traditionally, the plant is used to treat diminished eye sight, dizziness, fever, and insomnia. Some herbalists also use it to treat side effects caused by chemotherapy and to increase immune function in cancer patients.
In vitro studies suggest that the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum have antitumor (4) (5) (6), immunomodulatory (7) (13), antioxidative (1), antidiabetic (12), antiosteoporotic (15), antiviral (8) (16), antimutagenic (9) (10), and hepatoprotective (11) properties. Laboratory studies also suggest cytotoxic effects in hepatocellular carcinoma cells (17) (18). In animal studies, Ligustrum compounds exhibited potential antiosteoporotic (19) and vision sparing (20) effects. Other models suggest that Ligustrum in combination with Siberian ginseng may be helpful for chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression (21). However, no studies have been conducted in humans.
Mechanism of Action
In vitro studies suggest antitumor effects occur via immunomodulation and by reverting macrophage suppression brought about by tumors (4), or are due to increases in phagocytes and lymphokine-activated killer cells (5). Ligustrum may induce apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells via p21 upregulation (17). Hepatoprotective effects are due to oleanolic acid and perhaps mediated by an increase in hepatic glutathione regeneration capacity (11).
Secoiridoid glucosides showed antioxidant effects against free radical-associated hemolysis of erythrocytes (1). The secoiridoid glucoside oleuropein has demonstrated antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza type 3 virus (8) while other secoiridoid compounds showed activity against influenza A virus (16). The compound specnuezhenide may confer vision improvement effects via inhibition of HIF-1alpha/VEGF signaling pathway (20).
Salidroside and nuzhenide have been identified as potential antiosteoporotic compounds (15). In a murine model of diabetes-induced osteoporosis, ligustroflavone from Ligustrum fruit appeared to have protective effects via regulation of parathyroid hormone levels and improved calcium balance by acting on calcium-sensing receptors (19).