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James Saper R.TCM.P.
328 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario N1H 3W5 (519) 341-9314

Summary of some recent research on brain tumors and Chinese Herbs

The herb Ban Zhi Lian (Scutellaria barbatae) has a long history of use as an anticancer / antitumor herb in Chinese medicine. Recently in both the US and the UK researchers are looking more closely at this herb following studies that show its ability to induce apoptosis of ovarian and breast tumor cells in vitro.
(Zhang Ni-Na, et al. Inhibitory Effects of Scutellaria barbatae D. Don on Tumor Angiogenesis and Itıs Mechanism. Chinese Journal of Cancer, 2005, 24(12): 1459 - 1463.)

Dang Gui (Angelica Sinensis) is a well known Chinese herb with a wide range of uses. Two recent studies from Taiwan have found this herb to have antitumor properties. In one study looked specifically at the ability of this herb to slow and reverse development of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumors. Note that this herb should not be used with during pregnancy nor in conjunction with blood thinning medications without the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
(Cheng YL, et al. Acetone extract of Angelica sinensis inhibits proliferation of human cancer cells via inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Life Sci. 2004 Aug 13;75(13):1579-94.
Tsai NM, et al. The antitumor effects of Angelica sinensis on malignant brain tumors in vitro and in vivo. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2005 Jun;5(4):299-305.)

Another herb that has been studied for its potential effectiveness in the treatment of brain tumors is Gardenia fruit. Again this is a well known Chinese herb (Shan Zhi Zi). One published study reported measurable inhibition of tumor development in glioma cells and an ability to induce apoptosis and arrest growth.
(Peng CH, Huang CN, Wang CJ. The anti-tumor effect and mechanisms of action of penta-acetyl geniposide. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2005 Jun;5(4):299-305.)

Typically Chinese herbs are rarely prescribed by themselves. Instead they are carefully combined with other herbs by a practitioner to match as closely as possible an individualıs condition and to avoid side-effects.


This factsheet is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.

İ James Saper, 2005