Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Overview

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) other names : Cancer Tree , Happy Tree , Tree of Joy , Xi Shu.

Xi shu (botanical name Camptotheca Acuminata) belongs to the Nyssaceae family and is a huge tree growing up to a height of 25 meters having thin reddish-brown bark and a small number of branches close to its apex. Xi shu tree produces shiny green, leathery leaves, while the small, white flowers have curved heads. Currently, herbalists are developing cultivars having more yields of active compounds. As is evident from the name of the tree, Xi shu is native to China and currently, Xi shu is cultivated in the form of an ornamental tree in various countries, such as the United States, India and Japan. In China, Xi shu has been categorized in the list of endangered plants and, hence, exports of Camptotheca acuminata from China have been restricted.

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) fruits

In China people have named Xi shu tree as the happy tree owing to its effectiveness in treating a number of ailments and colds. The American species of xi shu is known as Camptotheca. This particular tree has been used since long past in Chinese herbal medicine. For several centuries, xi shu has been effective in treating conditions like liver ailments, psoriasis, stomach problems, gallbladder disease as well as ailments of the spleen. Xi shu encloses a chemical substance known as camptothecin, a medication that is used for treating various forms of cancer. Findings of numerous researches with xi shu have demonstrated that the extracts obtained from this tree inhibit tumors or cancerous growth. It is interesting to note that many anti-cancer medications have been developed from camptothecin. Two such drugs have been approved for sale and use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It has been proved that using xi shu is safe and it does not cause any harm to the body. However, it is advisable that when you are using Xi shu to treat any health condition, you should essentially consult a qualified and competent medical practitioner. Xi shu should never be used to treat any form of cancer unless the patient is under the supervision and care of a physician. Currently, scientists have undertaken a number of studies with this tree in Texas, where it is being grown. In addition, xi shu is also being studied by researchers at the Louisiana State University.

As aforementioned, xi shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) is native to China and Tibet. This tree grows most excellently in places having warm and damp climatic conditions. Xi shu can also grow and thrive in sunny positions and soil having rich humus content. Xi shu loathes drying out.

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Health Benefits

Camptotheca is known by several names in the land of its origin - China. Xi shu literally translated into English denotes a ‘happy tree' and has been known by this name by people who have been cured of colds as well as other ailments by using this herb. Xi shu tree has several other names, such as long shu (dragon tree), tian zi shu (heaven wood tree) and jia shu (fine tree). Apart from using Xi shu tree for therapeutic purpose, the Chinese have used xi shu in the form of firewood as well as an ornamental plant. It may be noted here that the American species of xi shu is actually offspring of two trees that have been germinated and purchased from China in the 1930s.

For several hundred or possibly even thousand years now, the Chinese have employed xi shu as a traditional medication. In effect, they have used Xi shu to treat psoriasis as well as to cure ailments related to the stomach, liver, spleen and gallbladder. Interestingly enough, xi shu has also been employed to cure leukemia. In effect, ‘cancer tree' is one of the common names of Camptotheca. The major active constituent of Camptotheca called camptothecin is known to be effective in treating cancer. This element actually slows down the secretion of topoisomerase I, an enzyme related to cell division as well replication of the DNA. It has been found that camptothecin actually stunts the growth of tumours by slowing down the production of this particular enzyme.

Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Xi Shu (Camptotheca Acuminata) plant

Several other anti-cancer drugs have been developed using camptothecin and two among these have even been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale and use to treat different forms of cancer. While the prescription drug Topotecan, which has been modified from camptothecin, is given to patients suffering from ovarian and small lung cancers, the other medication developed from camptothecin is irinotecan, which is used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (a form of cancer which develops in the colon or rectum and subsequently extends to other parts of the body). In effect, today metastatic colorectal cancer is the second most important cause of deaths owing to cancer in the United States. It may be noted here that other anti-cancer drugs developed from camptothecin are not used any longer owing to their acute toxicity.