Medication Guide App

Sha Ren

Scientific Name(s): Amomum xanthoides (Wall. ex Baker) or A. villosum Lour. Family: Zingiberaceae (gingers)

Common Name(s): Tavoy cardamom , malabar cardamom , bastard cardamom , yang chun sha , chun sha ren , fructus amomi , grains of paradise 1 , 2

Uses

Historically, sha ren has been used as a carminative and GI aid. Human clinical trials are needed to substantiate its efficacy.

Dosing

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for sha ren.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of sha ren.

Toxicology

Research reveals little or no information regarding toxicology with the use of sha ren.

Botany

The therapeutic action of A. xanthoides (sha ren) is associated with the fruit or seed. The soft, thin outer surface or peel of the fruit is brownish-red and covered with thorn-like projections. The flattened pyramid-shaped seeds are firm in texture and average 3 mm in length. Often there are 4 to 15 seeds in 3 cavities separated by 3 blunt ridges. The fruit has a strong aroma and a pungent, bitter taste. The plant species is native to tropical Asia, particularly southern India, and is cultivated throughout southwestern China. 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

History

A. xanthoides has been used commercially and medicinally in China and India for > 3000 years. European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries use the plant as a spice. The seeds reportedly have been used in alcoholic liquors, veterinary medicine, cosmetics, perfumes, and as a fragrance in soaps. 1 , 3 , 6

Hippocrates recommended its use in the treatment of coughs, abdominal pain, nervous disorders, sciatica, retention of urine, and venomous bites. Although the claims are unreferenced, A. xanthoides is considered a carminative and GI aid (eg, enteritis, dysentery, nausea, vomiting). The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists A. xanthoides for the treatment of flatulent dyspepsia. 1 , 2 , 7

Chemistry

The volatile oil of A. xanthoides contains the following terpenoids: Borneol, bornyl acetate, camphene, camphor, caryophyllene, limonene, linalool, myrcene, necrolidol, pinene, and terpinene. Borneol and bornyl acetate are the principal terpenoids. The stems of the plant also contain daucosterol and emodin monoglycoside. 1 , 8 , 9 , 10

Beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, and their epoxides account for the seed's aroma, while paradol is responsible for its pungency. A. xanthoides also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. 3 , 8 , 9 , 10

Uses and Pharmacology

Only animal and in vitro data are available on the efficacy of A. xanthoides . One study investigated the protective effect of an A. xanthoides extract against alloxan-induced diabetes in mice. The results indicate that the extract provides a protective effect against NFkappaB activation, which is considered a primary determinant in the progression of diabetes. 11 Human clinical trials are needed to substantiate the efficacy of A. xanthoides .

Dosage

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for sha ren.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of sha ren.

Toxicology

Human clinical trials are needed to substantiate the toxicology of A. xanthoides . Because of the lack of scientific evidence, avoid use during pregnancy and lactation.

Bibliography

1. Lawless J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism . Rockport, MA: Element Books, Inc.; 1995.
2. Apel U. Traditional Village Forest Management: The Village Forest of Moxie, Southwest-China . Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation; 2000.
3. Evans W. Trease and Evans' Pharmacognosy . 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company Ltd; 2000.
4. Reid D. Chinese Herbal Medicine . Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications Inc; 1994.
5. Liao JP, Qi-Gen W. A preliminary study of the seed anatomy of Zingiberaceae. Bot J Linn Soc . 2000;134:287-300.
6. Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants . Andover, England: Intercept Ltd; 1995.
7. Chopra R, Chopra I, Handa K, Kapur L. Chopra's Indigenous Drugs of India . Calcutta, India: Academic Publishers; 1982.
8. Fan X, Du Y, Wei J. Chemical constituents of roots, rhizomes, and stems of Amomum villosum Lour. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi . 1994;19:734-736,762.
9. Lawrence B. Terpenes in two Amomum species. Phytochemistry . 1970;9:665.
10. Lawrence B, Hogg J, Terhune S. Terpenoids of two Amomum species from Thailand. Phytochemistry . 1972;11:1534-1535.
11. Park BH, Park JW. The protective effect of Amomum xanthoides extract against alloxan-induced diabetes through the suppression of NFkappaB activation. Exp Mol Med . 2001;33:64-68.

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