Oldenlandia diffusa showed anticancer effects in lab studies. Human data are lacking.
O. diffusa is an herb found in East Asia and Southern China. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of liver diseases, snake bites, and tumors. Laboratory studies suggest that this herb may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and kill them by causing programmed cell death and by stimulating the immune system to destroy or engulf tumor cells. Animal studies show that certain chemicals found in the herb help lower cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory effects.
More research is necessary to confirm whether this herb can be used safely and effectively for any condition in humans.
There are no data to support this claim.
Several lab and animal studies have shown that Oldenlandia diffusa has anticancer effects. Human data are lacking.
Although traditionally used to treat snake bite, there are no studies to back this claim.
A study in mice showed that a component of O. diffusa had anti-inflammatory effects and that compared with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen, did not cause gastric problems.
Three compounds isolated from O. diffusa were shown to lower cholesterol levels in mice.
Poor quality control has been reported with products containing of O. diffusa. Two similar species – Corymbosa LAM and Oldenlandiatenelliflora BL – are commonly used as substitutes for Herba Oldenlandiae, the powdered form of O. diffusa.
Oldenlandia diffusa, Hedyotis diffusa
Oldenlandia diffusa, an herb prevalent in East Asia and Southern China, is used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear “heat” and to eliminate “toxins”. It is used in combination with other herbs for the treatment of hepatitis, snake bites (1), and tumors of the liver, lung, stomach (1), and rectum (2).
Studies conducted in vitro and in animals suggest that O. diffusa possesses anticancer and chemopreventive properties (2)(3)(4)(5)(6). Oleanolic and ursolic acids, compounds isolated from O. diffusa, demonstrated cytotoxic activity (7)(8)(11)(12). Ursolic acid also showed anti-inflammatory effects in mice with rheumatoid arthritis (9). Human data are lacking.
Mechanism of Action
Studies conducted in vitro and in animals have shown that O. diffusa exerts antitumor effects via apoptosis (3), dose-dependent increase of oxidative burst (2), caspase-dependent apoptosis (4)(8), and apoptosis in a cell-cycle independent fashion possibly through the induction of genotoxic damage (6). Its immunomodulating effects are via stimulation of the immune system to kill or engulf tumor cells (5).
The anti-inflammatory activity of Oldenlandia is due to inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in mouse peritoneal macrophages (13).
Quality control issues have been reported. Two similar species – Corymbosa LAM and Oldenlandiatenelliflora BL – are commonly used as substitutes for Herba Oldenlandiae (the powdered form of O. diffusa) (10).