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Parts Used & Where Grown
This shrub is native to China and eastern Asia and is now grown ornamentally in the United States. The berry of ligustrum is used medicinally.
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3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
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1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Refer to label instructions
Ligustrum appears to stimulate the immune system and is often combined with astragalus in traditional Chinese medicine.
The main active compound in ligustrum is ligustrin (oleanolic acid). Studies, mostly conducted in China, suggest that ligustrum stimulates the immune system.3 Ligustrum is often combined with astragalus in traditional Chinese medicine. Although used for long-term support of the immune system in people with depressed immune function or cancer, more research is needed to demonstrate the optimal length of time to use ligustrum.
Refer to label instructions
Ligustrum supports the immune system and protects against microbes.
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Since ancient times, ligustrum berries have been employed as a “yin” tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine.1 Ligustrum was used for a wide range of conditions, including premature aging and ringing in the ears.2
How It Works
How It Works
The major constituent in ligustrum is ligustrin (oleanolic acid). Preliminary studies, mostly conducted in China, suggest that ligustrum stimulates the immune system, decreases inflammation, and protects the liver.4 Ligustrum is often combined with astragalus in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although used for long-term support of the immune system in people with depressed immune function or cancer, more research is needed to demonstrate the optimal length of time to use ligustrum.
How to Use It
Powdered, encapsulated berries, 1–3 teaspoons (5–15 grams) per day, are sometimes recommended.5 A similar amount of berries can be made into tea by adding 1/2–1 teaspoon (2–5 grams) of powdered or crushed berries to 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water and steeping for ten to fifteen minutes. Alternatively, 3/4–1 teaspoon (3–5 ml) of tincture three times per day can be taken.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Interactions with Medicines
1. Benksy D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 366.
2. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 350-2.
3. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 350-2.
4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 350-2.
5. Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992, 227-32.
Last Review: 10-14-2014
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.