Strengthening Your Immune System with Sarcandra Glabra

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Sarcandra glabra is a plant used in herbal medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, for instance, it's taken to alleviate pain and treat bleeding disorders. Available in dietary supplement form, Sarcandra glabra is sometimes touted as a natural cancer-fighter.

Uses for Sarcandra Glabra

In alternative medicine, Sarcandra glabra is said to aid in the treatment of the following health problems:

  • arthritis
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • nausea

In addition, Sarcandra glabra is sometimes used to treat the side effects associated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It's also thought to stimulate the immune system, enhance liver health, and protect against some forms of cancer.

Health Benefits of Sarcandra Glabra

Although there's currently a lack of scientific studies testing Sarcandra glabra's effects in humans, some preliminary research in animals indicates that the herb may be effective against certain health conditions. Here's a look at several key findings on the potential health benefits of Sarcandra glabra:

1) The Immune System

Some research suggests that Sarcandra glabra may help strengthen the immune system. This research includes a mouse-based study published in the China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica in 2009. In the study, researchers observed that treatment with that Sarcandra glabra helped boost the number of cells involved in the immune response.

There's also some evidence that Sarcandra glabra may protect against stress-induced suppression of the immune system. In a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012, for example, treatment with Sarcandra glabra helped stimulate immune activity and reduce susceptibility to and severity of the flu in a group of mice put under stress.

More: 3 Herbal Supplements for Stress Relief

2)  Radiation Therapy

Sarcandra glabra may help lessen certain adverse effects commonly experienced by people undergoing treatment for cancer, according to a small study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine in 2013.

For the study, 50 people with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a cancer that starts in the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of skull) were treated with Sarcandra glabra while receiving chemoradiotherapy (a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy). Compared to 50 nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients who were not treated with Sarcandra glabra, these study participants had a lower incidence of chemoradiotherapy-related side effects such as dry mouth.

3)  Cancer

Sarcandra glabra may possess anti-cancer properties, a preliminary study published in Oncology Reports in 2007 shows. In tests on human cancer cell lines, scientists observed that Sarcandra glabra may inhibit cancer growth, in part by promoting apoptosis (a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells).

Caveats

Due to a lack of research in humans, very little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of Sarcandra glabra or how it might interaction with medication. If you're considering the use of Sarcandra glabra, it's crucial that you consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen.

Alternatives to Sarcandra Glabra

Like Sarcandra glabra, many herbs appear to improve health by revving up immune activity. Studies show that herbs such as rhodiola may help shield you from stress-related suppression of the immune system, while remedies like echinacea and astragalus may increase immune activity and fight off colds when taken at the first sign of sickness.

You can also strengthen your immune system by increasing your intake of immune-boosting foods, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and managing your stress.

Where to Find It

Available for purchase online, dietary supplements containing Sarcandra glabra are sold in some natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in herbal products.

Sources

Cao HJ, Tan RR, He RR, Tang LP, Wang XL, Yao N, Duan WJ, Hu YA, Yao XS, Kurihara H. "Sarcandra glabra Extract Reduces the Susceptibility and Severity of Influenza in Restraint-Stressed Mice." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:236539.

He R, Wang M, Li Y, Dai Y, Duan Y, Yao X, Kurihara H. "Effects of Sarcandra glabra extract on immune activity in restraint stress mice." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Jan;34(1):100-3.

He RR, Yao XS, Li HY, Dai Y, Duan YH, Li YF, Kurihara H. "The anti-stress effects of Sarcandra glabra extract on restraint-evoked immunocompromise." Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Feb;32(2):247-52.

Huang DN, Huang HX, Lu Y. "Clinical observation of sarcandra glabra combined chemoradiotherapy for treating patients with local advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma." Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2013 Apr;33(4):456-8.

Li WY, Chiu LC, Lam WS, Wong WY, Chan YT, Ho YP, Wong EY, Wong YS, Ooi VE. "Ethyl acetate extract of Chinese medicinal herb Sarcandra glabra induces growth inhibition on human leukemic HL-60 cells, associated with cell cycle arrest and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax/Bcl-2 ratio." Oncol Rep. 2007 Feb;17(2):425-31.

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