Ligustrum lucidum

Ligustrum lucidum

Ligustrum lucidum

Common Names

  • Privet
  • Nu zhen zi
  • Glossy privet
  • Dong qing zin

For Patients & Caregivers

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, insomnia, and to increase immune function in cancer patients. In vitro studies have shown that it has antioxidative, antitumor, and immunomodulating effects. However, human data are lacking.

  • Cancer treatment
    In vitro studies have shown that Ligustrum lucidum has anticancer properties, but clinical evidence is lacking.
  • Immunostimulation
    Data from laboratory studies indicate that Ligustrum lucidum can change immune response.
  • Eye sight
    Ligustrum lucidum is used in Chinese medicine to treat poor eye sight but there is no clinical evidence to support this.
  • 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.
  • Antiviral
    One in vitro study has shown that Ligustrum lucidum is effective against certain viruses.

You have hypersensitivity to Ligustrum lucidum.

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For Healthcare Professionals

Ligustrum lucidum Ait

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, insomnia, and lower back pain. Some herbalists also use it to treat side effects caused by chemotherapy and to increase immunity in cancer patients.

In vitro studies have shown that the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum have antitumor (4) (5) (6), immunomodulatory (7) (13), antioxidative (1), antiviral (8), antimutagenic (9) (10), hepatoprotective (11), and antidiabetic (12) properties. However, human data are lacking.

  • Cancer treatment
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Immunostimulation
  • Insomnia
  • Viral infections

Ligustrum lucidum is thought to exert antitumor properties by modulating immune response and by reverting macrophage suppression brought about by tumors (4). Another in vitro study has shown that such effects may also be due to increases in phagocytes and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells (5). The secoiridoid glucosides in Ligustrum fruit showed strong antioxidant effect against free radical-associated hemolysis of erythrocytes (1). One of the secoiridoid glucosides, oleuropein, also demonstrated significant antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza type 3 virus (Para 3) although the mechanism is not known (8). The hepatoprotective effects of Ligustrum are due to the oleanolic acid and are thought to be mediated by an increase in hepatic glutathione regeneration capacity (11).

Hypersensitivity to this herb.

None reported.


  1. He ZD, et al. Antioxidative glucosides from the fruits of Ligustrum lucidum. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2001; 49(6):780-784.

  2. Wong IY, et al. Antioxidative activities of phenylethanoid glycosides from Ligustrum purpurascens. J Agric Food Chem 2001; 49(6):3113-3119.

  3. Rittenhouse JR, Lui PD, Lau BH. Chinese medicinal herbs reverse macrophage suppression induced by urological tumors. J Urol 1991; 146(2):486-490.

  4. Lau BH, et al. Chinese medicinal herbs inhibit growth of murine renal cell carcinoma. Cancer Biother 1994; 9(2):153-161.

  5. Aoki S, Honda Y, Kikuchi T, Miura T, et al. Six new secoiridoids from the dried fruits of Ligustrum lucidum. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2012;60(2):251-6.

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