En Español (Spanish Version) Ligustrum lucidum
Glossy Privet Tree
Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
The berries of the glossy privet tree, Ligustrum lucidum, have a long history of use in traditional Chinese herbal medicine as an herb that helps “tonify the yin.” This expression cannot be fully explained without entering into the theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine, but it may be said loosely to indicate a strengthening effect on some of the functions of the body. As part of herbal combinations (traditional Chinese herbal medicine seldom uses single-herb preparations), ligustrum is used for such purposes as turning gray hair black, alleviating ringing in the ear, and treating vertigo.
One of the most famous combination therapies containing ligustrum is named Erzhi Wan, or “Two-Solstices Pill.” It consists of ligustrum berries harvested at the winter solstice, combined with another herb ( Eclipta alba) harvested at the summer solstice. The combined treatment is thought of as providing a balance of two opposite “energies.”
Ligustrum is currently marketed as a treatment for strengthening the immune system, and on this basis is often recommended for use by people undergoing treatment for cancer or HIV. However, there is no meaningful scientific evidence that ligustrum provides any benefit for these, or any other, conditions.
Very weak evidence from test-tube and animal studieshints that ligustrum might have anti-parasitic,1anti-viral,2liver- protective,3immunomodulatory (this means “altering” immune function, rather than, as commonly misunderstood, “strengthening” it),4,5 and cancer-preventive6 effects. However, this evidence is too preliminary to rely upon at all. Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can prove a treatment effective, and none have been performed on ligustrum. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)
Last reviewedSeptember 2014by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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