Family • Chloranthaceae - Chloranthus glaber (Thunb.) Mak. - GLABROUS SARCANDRA - Cao shan hu

Scientific names

Chloranthus glabra (Thunb.) Makino
Chloranthus brachystachys Blume
Chloranthus hainanensis S. J. Pei
Sarcandra glabra (Thunb.) Nakai subsp brachystachys
Ascarina serrata Blume

Other vernacular names

CHIINESE: Jiē gu jin su lan, Jie gu cha, Zhong jie feng, Jiu jie feng, Jiu jie lan, Jiu jie cha, Jie gu lian.

Common names

Apot (Ig.)
Damoko (Ig.)
Emem (Ig.)
Gapas (Ig.)
Gumok (Buk.)
Kari-kari (Bag.)
Total (Yak.)
Umuum (Ig.)
Hai nan cao shan hu (Chin.)
Glabrous sarcandra (Engl.)


Apot is a spreading undershrub, 60 to 90 centimeters tall. Stems and branches are terete, the latter opposite or in subwhorls, and smooth. Leaves are opposed, with short petioles, narrowly oblong to lanceolate, 10 to 15 centimeters long, and only the larger ones 5 centimeters wide, leathery and smooth, with the margins (except near the base), toothed with sharp teeth and the tip pointed. Inflorescence is paniculately few-branched, upon a 3-centimeter long peduncle, with ascending spicate branches. Flowers are minute, sessile, with a subtended bract. Fruit is a rather small, one-seeded drupe, with somewhat juicy flesh and vermillion-red skin.

– Common and widely distributed in the Philippines in primary forests at medium and higher altitudes.
– Also occurs in India to Japan, southward to Malaya.

– Study yielded 11 compounds: shizukanolide, furanodienone, lupeol, 24-hydroxylupeol, pinostrobin, 2′, 6′-dihydroxy-4′-methoxydihydrochalcone, 7-rnethylnaringenin, eleutheroside B1, 3,4-dihydroxybenzonic acid, palmitic acid and β-sitosterol.
– Yields terpenoids, flavanoids, coumarins and phenolic acids.
– Study yielded two new sesquiterpenes: glabranols A and B.
– Chloroform and EtOH extracts yielded six compounds, viz. 4, 4′-biisofraxidin, esculetin, fraxetin, scoparone, isofraxidin, scopoletin.
– Study of aqueous acetonic extract of whole plant yielded a new eudesmanolide sesquiterpene, atractylenolide IV, together with 7 known compounds.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sarcandra glabra / Chinese Plant Names / eFloras

(2) Two new sesquiterpenes from Sarcandra glabra / Do Thi Oanh, Pham Thanh Ky, Nguyen Thi Bich Hang et al / Prod Commun 5(11):1717-20 (2010)

(3) The study on effect of Sarcandra glabra on prevention and treatment of thrombocytopenia by chemotherapy / Liye Zhong, Tianhao Liu et al / Zhong yao cai Zhongyaocai Journal of Chinese medicinal materials (2005), Vol28, No 1, Pages: 35-38 / PubMed ID: 15934240

(4) Toxicity Study of Sarcandra Glabra / Sun Jianqin et al / DOI CNKI:SUN:GYYB.0.1998-01-014

(5) Chemical constituents from Sarcandra glabra / Wang C, Zhu L, Yang J, Li C, Zhang D / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2010 Mar;35(6):714-7.

(6) 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 / Li WY, Chiu LC et al / Oncol Rep. 2007 Feb;17(2):425-31.

(7) Study on the apoptosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line administrated with Sarcandra glabra extracts in vivo and its mechanism / Kang M, Tang AZ, Liang G, Yi X, Liu J / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Oct;31(10):1529-33.

(8) Effects Of Sarcandra Glabra Extract / He R, Wang M, Li Y, Dai Y, Duan Y, Yao X, Kurihara H / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Jan; 34(1): 100-3

(9) Studies on chemical constituents of Sarcandra glabra / Xu XD, Hu XR, Yuan JQ, Yang JS / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Apr;33(8):900-2.

(10) Sarcandra glabra Extract Reduces the Susceptibility and Severity of Influenza in Restraint-Stressed Mice /
Hui-Juan Cao, Rui-Rong Tan, Rong-Rong He, Lu-Ping Tang, Xin-Luan Wang, Nan Yao, Wen-Jun Duan, Yuan-Ao Hu, Xin-Sheng Yao, and Hiroshi Kurihara / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2012 (2012) / doi:10.1155/2012/236539

(11) A New Sesquiterpene Lactone from Sarcandra glabra / Xiao Ru Hu, Hai Feng We, Xu Dong Xu et al / Natural Product Research, 2012, 1(5).

Both warm and sweet, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory.

Parts used
Whole plant, leaves.

In Malaya, leaves reportedly used to scent tea or added to tea for bulk.
– Infusion of the plant used for headaches.
– In traditional Chinese medicine used for treatment of bruises, bone fractures, arthritis, nausea, joint swelling and cough.
– An herb included in Chinese Pharmacopoeia used as anti-tumor, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and for increasing blood platelets.

Study Findings
• Beneficial Effect on Chemotherapy-Induced Thrombocytopenia: Study showed Sarcandra glabra had obvious activity in the treatment of thrombocytopenia and can prevent thrombocytopenia induced by 5-FU.
• Toxicity Study: Study to provide toxicology evidences for the dietary safety of Sarcandra glabra showed its oral LD50 for mouse was within the limit of nonpoisonous. All mutagenic tests were negative.
• Chemical Constituents: Study isolated 9 compounds: isoscopletin, syringaresinol monoside, styraxjaponoside B, 5-O-caffeoylshikimic acid, shizukanolide E, isoastilbin, neoisoastilbin, astilbin, neoastilbin.
• Anti-Cancer / Anti-Leukemic: Study showed selective growth inhibition of an EA (ethyl acetate) extract on cancer cells; leukemic HL-60 was most responsive. Cytometric studies showed the extract might interfere with DNA replications and pro-apoptotic Bax/Bcl-2 ratio was up-regulated by more than 178%. Findings suggest the extract initiated apoptosis to kill the leukemic cells. Results suggest further research and a potential for S. glabra as an efficacious anticancer agent. (
• Anti-Tumor: Study evaluating Sarcarndra glabra extracts on anti-tumor effect and apoptosis of implanted human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines in nude mice showed SG suppresses the growth of tumor in vivo through a mechanism of down-regulation of the expression of Bcl-2 and up-regulation of the expression of Bax to promote apoptosis.
• Immune System Effect: Study showed SG extract has an immunologic protective effect in restrained mice probably via the amelioration of immune cells proportion and number.
• Constituents / Antibacterial Potential: Study of chloroform and EtOH extracts isolated six compounds, viz. 4, 4′-biisofraxidin, esculetin, fraxetin, scoparone, isofraxidin, scopoletin. Results suggest potential for the development of plant-derived oral antibacterial agents.
• Decreased Susceptibility and Severity of Influenza: Extract of SG was investigated in mice for its effect against influenza. Results showed improvement in susceptibility markers and inhibition of inflammatory cytokines through down-regulation of NF-kB protein expression to ameliorate lung injury. Data showed reduction of susceptibiity and severity of influenza.

Tablets and herbal formulations in the cybermarket.