Photo Courtesy of the DaXingAnLing Group

For years Traditional Chinese Medicine has utilized an herb to inhibit cancers. Evidence-based science is now proving this traditional herb’s effectiveness on difficult-to-treat cancers such as leukemia, breast cancer and liver cancer.

Read the updated article in Plant Medicines

Research published in April from Taiwan’s Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences documents the ability of the herb called Spreading Hedyotis, or Oldenlandia – with Latin name Hedyotis diffusa Willd. – as being able to stop leukemia, cervical carcinoma, liver cancer and other cancers. The herb is also sometimes referred to as Snake Needle Grass.

The researchers demonstrated that this herb’s anticancer properties were driven primarily by its 69 medicinal constituents, which include polyphenols, terpenoids, anthraquinones, flavonoids, and others.

This research follows on the heels of a study from the Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University published in the Journal Archives of Pharmical Research.

This study tested Hedyotis against human U937 leukemia cells, and found that the Hedyotis significantly provoked the killing off of leukemia cells – a scientific term called apoptosis.

The apoptosis of the human leukemia cells was stimulated by Hedyotis provoking a 2-hydroxy-3-methylanthraquinone pathway that stimulated the body’s own defense mechanisms against the cancer cells.

Another recent study, this from the Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, found that human RPMI 8226 cells –originally taken from the blood of 61 year old many with multiple myeloma – were significantly inhibited and killed (apoptosis) with Hedyotis treatment.

In yet another study, this from Shanghai’s Second Military Medical University, Hedyotis stopped the growth of human HT-29 colon cancer cells.

The researchers stated that “Our findings suggest that Hedyotis diffusa Willd may be an effective treatment for colorectal cancer via the suppression of cancer cell proliferation.”

This research confirms earlier studies – using both human cells and animals – showing Hedyotis inhibits the growth of these cancers and others, including liver cancer.

While this research has shown the herb to significantly stop cancer growth and is often included with other herbs by TCM practitioners for cancer patients, many researchers have been pushing to test the herb against and/or side by side with chemotherapy. This of course is a difficult research stage for obvious reasons.

One of the major constituents in Hedyotis is methylanthraquinone. Researchers from China’s Shenyang Pharmaceutical University showed that this natural biochemical produces apoptosis (killing) of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.

Hedyotis has been used for centuries in TCM. It grows well in Southern China. It is considered anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and diuretic in addition to being an anticancer agent. It has often been used for fevers and coughs, as well as urinary infections.

So far the primary mechanisms found from Hedyotis treatment has been the stimulation of the body’s own defenses – namely macrophages that produce biochemicals that induce cancer cell death.

Written by Case Adams, Naturopath

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