Smilax glabra has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer.
Smilax glabra is known as Tufuling in traditional Chinese medicine. The root has been used in combination with other herbs to treat diabetes, infection, and other skin and urinary disorders. Laboratory studies have shown that this plant has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, clinical studies have not been conducted and it is not known if the same effects would occur in humans.
Anti-inflammatory activity has been observed in rat models.
Viral infections Smilax glabra demonstrated antiviral activity in vitro.
Inflammation Smilax glabra can reduce inflammation in animal models.
Antioxidant and anti-tumor effects were observed in vitro studies. However, clinical trials have not been conducted.
Astilbin, a compound present in Smilax glabra, has been studied in rats with diabetic nephropathy. However, clinical trials are lacking.
An increase in glucose uptake by rat fatty tissue was observed after exposure to smilaxin, a protein isolated from Smilax glabra.
Smilaxin, a protein isolated from Smilax glabra, was found to stimulate immune activity as seen by an increase in white blood cells in mice.
Dermatitis and Psoriasis
An herbal mixture containing Smilax glabra can reduce skin inflammation in animals.
Smilax glabra is a plant prevalent in South Asia, the rhizome of which is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat skin infections, inflammation, urinary disorders, and cancer.
In vitro and animal studies have shown that this botanical has antioxidant (1)(2), antiviral (3), renoprotective (4), immunostimulatory (5), anti-inflammatory (6)(7), hepatoprotective (16) and anticancer properties (8)(9)(10)(11)(12), but it has not been studied in clinical trials.
Smilax glabra should not be confused with Smilax officinalis, another species commonly known as sarsaparilla.
Smilax glabra is used in traditional Chinese foods (2).
Urinary tract infections
Mechanism of Action
Anticancer effects of Smilax glabra may be due to its ability to induce apoptosis (9) by upregulating Bax and downregulating Bcl2 genes respectively. Another possible mechanism is via cell cycle arrest. Studies have shown a decrease in mRNA expression of Cyclin B1 and Cdk1 (G2 regulations proteins) in carcinoma cells following administration of Smilax glabra(9).
Anti-inflammatory effects may be due to inhibition of T-lymphocyte adhesion, thereby causing a decrease in T-cell ability to express CD44 and produce TNF alpha (6).
Inhibition of transforming factor-Beta (TGF-Beta) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), both thought to induce the fibrotic process in diabetic nephropathy, was observed in HK-2 cells after astilbin exposure (4). In animal studies, the constituent astilbin demonstrated renoprotective activities diabetic nephropathy models (4) and improved renal function as demonstrated by significant reductions in urinary volume and albumin, serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine clearance. In another study, Smilax glabra was shown to exert anticardiac hypertrophy effects by targeting inhibition of ryanodine receptor (RyR) mediated intracellular Ca(2+) release (18).