Home / Chinese Herb / OLDENLANDIA [白花蛇舌草, BAI HUA SHE SHE CAO]


oldenlandia_lancifolia_optName : Oldenlandia

Chinese Name : 白花蛇舌草

Latin Name : Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa


This herb is the whole plant of Oldenlandia diffusa (Willd.) Roxb. Or O. corymbosa L. of the family Rubiaccae. It is grown mainly in the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, and Guangxi of China, collected in the summer or autumn, cleaned, cut into pieces, dried, and used unprocessed. Oldenlandia is a febrifugal and detoxicant herb, as well as antitumor agent. It is used to relieve Damp-Heat, pyogenic infections, difficult urination, and to dispel toxins.

Use of Oldenlandia in TCM

Bitter in taste and cold, it acts on the heart, liver, and spleen meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Antitumorous : for colon, stomach, or esophageal cancers, oldenlandia is prescribed with sophora root in a decoction.
  2. Eliminates Heat toxins and detoxifies : oldenlandia is combined with lonicera and scute root, schrophularia root, and belamcanda (she gan) to treat coughs, sore throat, and tonsillitis.
  3. Clears Heat and eliminates Dampness :
  • For treating carbuncles and boils, it is used with lonicera, forsythia, and viola in a decoction and/or put on affected areas of the skin.
  • For intestinal abscesses, it is blended with wild chrysanthemum, viola, and patrinia.
  • To treat jaundice, it is prescribed with lysimachia, gardenia, and capillaries to eliminate Dampness and Heat.
  • For urinary tract infections, edema, strangury, it is mixed with plantain seed, gardenia, alisma, akebia quinata fruit (ba yue zha), and talc in a decoction.


In a decoction of 15 to 60 g or as needed for external use.


People with Cold, stomach and spleen deficiency, and pregnant women should avoid this herb or use with caution.

Side Effects and Toxicity

According to some traditional Chinese Materia Medica, this herb is non-toxic at suggested doses. Toxicity studies showed that the LD50 of the extract of the herb by intraperitoneal administration in mice was 104 g/kg.

Chemical Constituents

Oldenlandia contains iridoid glycoside and oldenlandosides A and B. it also contains stigmasterol, oleanolic acid, beta-sitosterol, sitosterol-D-glucoside, p-coumaric acid, flavonoid glycoside, and 5-glycoside.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. Oldenlandia is an antitumor, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is also analgesic, sedative, and hypnotic.
  2. Oral administration of the herb’s extract increased phagocytic capacity of the peritoneal leukocytes against S. albus. The decoction given orally to rabbits resulted in a threefold increase of phagocytic activity of leukocytes. The herb also increased the phagocytosis of S. aureus by human leukocytes in vitro. These result indicated that this herb enhances nonspecific immunological activity.