Scientific research has shown that extracts from rabdosia rubescens may have anti-cancer properties. Rabdosia rubescens is a Chinese herb and an ingredient in the herbal products PC-HOPE and PC-CARE, alternative treatments for prostate cancer. Historically, it was used in Chinese folk medicine to cleanse toxins, nourish the yin, and relieve swelling and pain.
Today, rabdosia rubescens is thought to be a beneficial therapeutic treatment for cancer of the esophagus. It has also been used to treat prostate, stomach, breast, and liver cancer as well as a remedy for insect bites, snakebites, and inflamed tonsils. This herbal product is available as capsules. Proponents recommend taking capsules daily. These capsules come in a variety of dosages.
Several laboratory studies in China and Japan have shown that oridonin and ponicidin, compounds extracted from the rabdosia rubescens plant, may act against cancer cells. These studies were conducted on human cancer cells in laboratories or injected into mice. Ponicidin was found to be particularly effect against leukemia cells. It appeared to induce the death of the cancer cells. Other extracts from rabdosia rubescens are in the initial stages of laboratory testing to see if there are any therapeutic uses for them.
Limited clinical trials in humans have been conducted. A trial in China examined the effects of taking a rabdosia rubescens lozenge in conjunction with radiation therapy for the treatment of esophageal cancer. Patients given the lozenges had an improved survival rate. Further clinical trials in humans are required in order to understand the full role of rabdosia rubescens as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of various cancers.
Side effects have been reported with the use of rabdosia rubescens; however, none of them were serious. These side effects included mild abdominal symptoms, diarrhea, and skin itching. However, the American Cancer Society does not recommend replacing or delaying standard medical care in favor of this herb. Like all dietary supplements, it is not subject to the same stringent FDA regulation as substances that are sold as medicines.