- Herba Sarcandrae
- Zhong Jie Feng
- Glabrous Sarcandra Herb
- Cao Shan Hu; Caoshanhu
For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
What is it?
Sarcandra glabra has not been shown to treat cancer in humans. It may reduce side effects from radiation treatment, but 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 was 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.
What are the potential uses and benefits?
Lab studies suggest that an extract of S. glabra can stop cancer cell division, but human data are lacking.
- Radiation treatment side effects
A small observational study reported that a special preparation of S. glabra can help reduce mouth sores and dry mouth from radiation therapy. Additional studies are needed.
- Bleeding disorders
Lab and animal studies suggest S. glabra can improve platelet count after chemotherapy, but this has not been studied in humans.
- Bone fractures and arthritis
Although S. glabra has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for this purpose, clinical studies have not been conducted in humans.
For Healthcare Professionals
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.
In vitro studies suggest S. glabra can protect against oxidative stress in mesenchymal stem cells (15). An acidic polysaccharide from S. glabra exhibited anticancer effects in human osteosarcoma cells (16). S. glabra inhibited tumor growth in human leukemic cell lines (8).
In animal studies, S. glabra constituents demonstrate anti-inflammatory (17) (18) and anti-diabetic (19) activities. 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).
Clinical observation in humans suggest S. glabra may be useful in the treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (4). 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.
Purported Uses and Benefits
Mechanism of Action
In animal models of influenza virus, S. glabra improved susceptibility marker levels and inhibited inflammatory cytokines via downregulation of NF-κB protein expression to diminish lung injury. This may be in part due to 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 upregulation of Bax, a proapoptotic 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.