Sarcandra glabra

Sarcandra glabra

Common Names

  • Herba Sarcandrae
  • Zhong Jie Feng
  • Glabrous Sarcandra Herb
  • Cao Shan Hu

For Patients & Caregivers

Sarcandra glabra has not been shown to treat cancer in humans, but may reduce side effects caused by radiation treatment. Further studies are needed to confirm these effects.

S. glabra is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for bone and joint pain as well as bleeding disorders. It may help to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy, such as mouth sores and dry mouth. An extract of this herb has been examined in the lab and is claimed to stop cancer cells from multiplying. However, this effect has not been studied in humans. Long-term adverse effects are unclear.

  • Cancer
    Laboratory studies have shown that an extract of S. glabra can stop cancer cell division, but human data are lacking.
  • Side effects of radiation treatment
    A small observational study reported that a special preparation of  S. glabra can help reduce mouth sores and dry mouth due to radiation therapy.
  • Bleeding disorders
    Studies done in laboratory and in animals suggest S. glabra can improve platelet count after chemotherapy, but this has not been studied in humans.
  • Bone fractures and arthritis
    As used in traditional Chinese medicine. Clinical studies have not been conducted in humans.
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For Healthcare Professionals

Sarcandra glabra (Thunb.) Nakai, Chloranthus glaber (Thunb.) Makino

Sarcandra glabra, an herb native to Southeast Asia, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of bruises, bone fractures, arthritis, nausea, internal pain, and cough (1). Some constituents are reported to have hepatoprotective (2) and cytotoxic (3) properties.

Preliminary findings suggest S. glabra may be useful in the treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (4). In animal studies, S. glabra increases platelet production and may play a role in reducing chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia (5). It also exhibits protective effects against viral pneumonia (6).

S. glabra was also found to inhibit tumor growth in human leukemic cell lines (8). S. glabra extract is marketed to cancer patients to relieve fatigue and as an alternative cancer treatment, but it has not been evaluated for these uses in clinical trials. However, it may relieve some cancer treatment-induced symptoms. One human study found it reduced radiation therapy-induced mucositis and xerostomia in patients with advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (9). More studies are needed to confirm whether S. glabra can indeed control some cancer treatment-related symptoms and to further validate any antitumor potential.

  • Bruises
  • Bone fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea
  • Internal pain
  • Cough
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Cancer treatment

In influenza virus animal models, S. glabra improves susceptibility marker levels and inhibits inflammatory cytokines levels through down-regulation of NF-κB protein expression to diminish lung injury. This is in part due to the antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects of major constituents including rosmarinic acid, caffeoylquinic acid, and caffeic acid (6).

Caffeic acid 3,4-dihydroxyphenethyl ester (CADPE), a polyphenol component, has indicated some antitumor activity in animal models through inhibition of tumor angiogenesis, induction of cancer cell senescence, and modulation of multiple cellular targets and signal pathways (7). An ethyl acetate extract of S. glabra inhibits proliferation and viability of human promyelocytic leukemic HL-60 cells by arresting the cell cycle S phase via up-regulation of Bax, a pro-apoptotic factor (8).

Generally, active components in S. glabra are more abundant in the stem than leaf (14)and concentrations of constituents vary when examining S. glabra from different provenances.

  1. Hocking GM. A Dictionary of Natural Products. Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing, Inc; 1997.

  2. Li Y, Zhang DM, Li JB, et al. Hepatoprotective sesquiterpene glycosides from Sarcandra glabra. J Nat Prod. Apr 2006;69(4):616-620.

  3. He XF, Yin S, Ji YC, et al. Sesquiterpenes and dimeric sesquiterpenoids from Sarcandra glabra. J Nat Prod. Jan 2010;73(1):45-50.

  4. Cao HJ, Tan RR, He RR, et al. Sarcandra glabra extract reduces the susceptibility and severity of influenza in restraint-stressed mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:236539.

  5. Feng S, Xu L, Wu M, et al. A new coumarin from Sarcandra glabra. Fitoterapia. Sep 2010;81(6):472-474.

  6. Zhu LP, Li Y, Yang JZ, et al. Two new sesquiterpene lactones from Sarcandra glabra. J Asian Nat Prod Res. May-Jun 2008;10(5-6):541-545.

  7. Min F, Si JP, Huang WH, et al. [Studies on furmaric acid and isofraxidin content in Sarcandra glabra of different provenances]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. Aug 2008;33(15):1849-1853.

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