When it comes to Bai Hua She She Cao (Oldenlandia), there is an interesting story behind it. Nowadays as one of major herbs that fight cancer in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it wasn’t so popular until this following story was spread. It is said that in Taiwan there was once a convict awaiting execution, who revealed these secret home remedies to the public after regaining his conscience three days before the execution. There were two herbs for cancer mentioned, one is Ban Zhi Lian (Barbat Skullcap, Scutellaria Lateriflora) and the other is the one we are going to talk about next.
What is Bai Hua She She Cao?
Also known as Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa and Herba Hedyotis Diffusae, it refers to a plant of the genus Saxifraga in Rubiaceae, which mainly grows in Japan and the southern part of China. It is being called this name because it looks like snake tongue of Bai Hua She. As one of the annual plants, it is 15 to 50cm high, thin long root, branching, and with white flowers. Most of them grow in rocky mountainous areas of 1,800 meters above sea level. In recent years, because of great demand in market wild species become less and less. And some areas, like Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, are Zhejiang, are managing to cultivate them to meet the medicinal demand currently.
There are two harvest times each year for this merchandise herb according to the sowing time, mid-late August in spring sowing and early-mid November in Autumn sowing. When the fruit is ripe, reap aboveground parts, weeds and dirt removed, and dried in the sun finally. Normally per MU yield is 300 to 350 KG.
What is it used for?
It is slightly bitter, slight sweet, and slightly cold in nature and covers meridians of large intestine, liver and stomach.
Main functions are clearing heat and detoxicating, reducing carbuncle and eliminating stagnation, and resolving dampness by promoting urination. Main uses and indications are sore throat, cough and wheezing due to lung heat, pain and urinating difficulty due to urinary infection, jaundice due to stagnant heat and dampness inside, snakebite, swellings, and toxic sores etc.
Regular dosage is 15 to 30 grams, sometimes up to 60 grams in severe cases, in decoction and appropriate amount externally.
Related Chinese herbal formulas
According to Fujian Chinese Herbal Medicine, for treating dysentery and urinary infection, the prescription is using this herb alone (1 Liang) in decoction; for snakebites, mash and decoct fresh Heydyotis for both internal and external applications;
According to Xiamen, for icterus the treatment is the fresh herbal juice (1 to 2 Liang) mixed with honey;
According to Anthology of Guangdong Herbal Formulas, other ingredients in this recipe for acute appendicitis are Yang Ti Cao (Herba Emiliae, 1 to 2 Liang), and Liang Mian Zhen (Shinyleaf Pricklyash Root, 3 Qian), in decoction;
According to Folk Herbs In Southern Fujian, remedy for panic and night cry of children are one spoon of the fresh juice; for sores and carbuncles on the skin, the therapy is to clean, mash and plaster the fresh herb on affected part;
Other recommended herbs that fight cancer
As mentioned previously, it is one of cancer fighting herbs in common use. Recent years experiments from modern medicine, to a certain extent, confirms its anti-tumor effect, which shows that the extract in vitro, equal to 6g/ml of dried medicinal herb, could effectively inhibit the tumor cells growth of acute lymphocytic type, granulocyte type, mononuclear cell type, and chronic granulocyte type.
This herb, however, is not alone when fighting cancer. Most of the time, it needs helps from other herbal ingredients, such as E Zhu (Zedoaria Rhizome), Chong Lou (Dried Rhizoma Paridis), Ban Zhi Lian (Barbat Skullcap, Scutellaria), and Shan Ci Gu (Cremastra), to combat nasopharyngeal carcinoma, lung carcinoma, breast tumor, esophagus neoplasms, and gastric carcinoma etc. The compatibility depends on the individual conditions. In addition, it would be better along with acupuncture therapy.
By the way, there are tremendous folk remedies out there claiming with magic efficacy, in the forms of decoctions or capsules. However, please take them with a grain of salt as they have yet to be proved with more convincing evidence.
Possible side effects and contraindications
Itch and difficulty breathing were ever reported in some individual cases. And although they are nontoxic, Bai Hua She She Cao (Oldenlandia) and Ban Zhi Lian (Barbat Skullcap) should still be used under doctor’s instruction as they are relatively cold in nature. As is well known, people with cancer are rather weak and will get worse if in long term usage. Furthermore, TCM wise, herbal formulas with them are not recommended for pregnant women due to their strong effects.