Skip to Content

Sha Ren

Scientific Name(s): Amomum villosum Lour., Amomum xanthioides Wall. ex Baker
Common Name(s): Amomum fruit, Bastard cardamom, Chun sha ren, Fructus amomi, Grains of paradise, Malabar cardamom, Tavoy cardamom, Yang chun sha

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 31, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

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

Dosing

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

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

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Information regarding adverse reactions is limited.

Toxicology

Toxicology information is limited.

Scientific Family

  • Zingiberaceae (ginger)

Botany

A. xanthioides (sha ren) is native to tropical Asia, most abundantly in southern India, and is cultivated throughout southwestern China. The therapeutic action of 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 thornlike projections. The flattened pyramid-shaped seeds are firm in texture and average 3 mm in length, often with 4 to 15 seeds in 3 cavities separated by 3 blunt ridges. The fruit has a strong aroma and a pungent, bitter taste.Lawless 1996, Apel 2000, Evans 2002, Reid 1993, Liao 2000

History

Sha ren has been used commercially and medicinally in China and India for more than 3,000 years. European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries have used the plant as a spice. The seeds have been used in liquors, veterinary medicine, cosmetics, perfumes, and as a fragrance in soaps.Lawless 1996, Evans 2002, Bruneton 1995

Hippocrates recommended sha ren in the treatment of coughs, abdominal pain, nervous disorders, sciatica, retention of urine, and venomous bites. It is considered a carminative and GI aid (eg, enteritis, dysentery, nausea, vomiting). In China, it has been used to stimulate appetite. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists sha ren for the treatment of flatulent dyspepsia.Lawless 1996, Apel 2000, Chopra 1982, Guo 2008

Chemistry

The volatile oil of sha ren contains the monoterpenoids borneol, bornyl acetate, camphene, camphor, caryophyllene, limonene, linalool, myrcene, nerolidol, pinene, and terpinene. Borneol and bornyl acetate are the principal terpenoids. The stem of the plant also contains daucosterol and emodin monoglycoside.Lawless 1996, Fan 1994, Lawrence 1970, Lawrence 1972

Beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, and their epoxides contribute to the seed's aroma, while paradol is responsible for its pungency. Sha ren also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc.Evans 2002, Fan 1994, Lawrence 1970, Lawrence 1972

Uses and Pharmacology

Allergic reactions

Animal/In vitro data

In a murine model, anal administration of sha ren inhibited compound 40/80-induced reactions and histamine release.Kim 2007

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for its effects on allergic reactions.

Antibacterial effects

Animal/In vitro data

Sha ren essential oil obtained by hydrodistillation inhibited growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes.Natta 2008

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for its antibacterial effects.

Antioxidant effects

Animal/In vitro data

In one study, 16 Chinese medicinal herbs were extracted and prepared as tonic soups to investigate antioxidant activity compared with ascorbic acid and butylated hydroxytoluene. Sha ren was among 3 herbs possessing the highest antioxidant activity as measured in 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrozil and ferric reducing antioxidant power assays.Guo 2008

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for its antioxidant effects.

Diabetes

Animal/In vitro data

One study investigated the protective effect of sha ren extract against alloxan-induced diabetes in mice. The results indicate that the extract provides a protective effect against nuclear factor kappaB activation, which is considered a primary determinant in the progression of diabetes.Park 2001 In a toxicology study, male rats given 450 and 1,500 mg/kg/day had dose-related decreases in glucose with prolonged treatment; however, effects were not noted in female rats.Ilic 2010

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for diabetes.

Estrogenic effects

Animal/In vitro data

The plant extract of sha ren was found to possess estrogenic effects at a concentration of 0.1 mg/mL in an in vitro yeast model system.Kang 2006

Clinical data

No clinical data exists regarding the use of sha ren for its estrogenic effects.

Gastritis/Gastric cancer

Animal/In vitro data

In a murine model, the ethanolic extract of sha ren inhibited ethanol-induced gastric lesion as well as the growth of Helicobacter pylori. The butanol fraction at 350 mg/kg and a subfraction were the most effective at inhibiting gastric lesions, also causing a dose-dependent reduction in cell viability in gastric cancer cell lines.Kim 2007

Clinical data

Results of a randomized controlled comparator trial in 80 Chinese adults with H. pylori-positive mild to severe chronic gastritis showed comparable and significantly improved clinical efficacy of sha ren-treated patients compared to those treated with triple therapy (amoxicillin, bismuth, tinidazole); 88.1% vs 78.9% treated, respectively (P<0.01). Sha ren volatile oil extract was administered orally as 0.5 mL (0.1 g crude drug/mL) 3 times daily. After 4 weeks of therapy, 33% versus 23% of patients were cured with sha ren volatile oil vs triple therapy controls, respectively. H. pylori sero-negative conversion was not significantly different between the 2 groups 76% vs 66%. Analysis of the expression of mastocarcinoma-related peptide (PS2), platelet activating factor, and gastric membrane phospholipids revealed significant improvements with sha ren extract compared to controls (P<0.01 each).Huang 2008

Hepatic fibrosis

Animal/In vitro data

A methanol fraction of A. xanthoides (MFAX) attenuated elevated bilirubin, liver tissue hydroxyproline, and malondialdehyde levels in a rat model of thioacetamide-induced liver fibrosis. Additionally, MFAX attenuated the expression of platelet-derived growth factor-beta, inducible nitric oxid synthase, inducible nitric oxid synthase, and heptocyte growth factor.Wang 2011

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for hepatic fibrosis.

Obesity/Weight loss

Animal/In vitro data

In a murine model, sha ren extract as well as 6-paradol, the pungent component of sha ren, activated thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. Additionally, 6-paradol was absorbed in the intestines of rats without desensitization to the effects. Thus, the authors concluded that 6-paradol could be considered a lead molecule for weight loss indications.Iwami 2011

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of sha ren for weight loss effects.

Dosing

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

Information regarding adverse reactions with the use of sha ren is limited.

Toxicology

In a toxicology study in rats, absolute and relative liver weights increased in a dose-related manner. A subsequent increase in alkaline phosphatase occurred in rats receiving 1,500 mg/kg/day of sha ren on test day 29. There was no steatosis or cirrhosis.Ilic 2010

References

Apel U. Traditional Village Forest Management: The Village Forest of Moxie, Southwest-China. Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation; 2000.
Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. Andover, England: Intercept; 1995.
Chopra R, Chopra I, Handa K, Kapur L. Chopra's Indigenous Drugs of India. Calcutta, India: Academic Publishers; 1982.
Evans W. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. 15th ed. New York, NY: WB Saunders; 2002.
Fan X, Du YC, Wei JX. Chemical constituents of roots, rhizomes, and stems of Amomum villosum Lour [in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1994;19(12):734-736,762.7718134
Guo DJ, Cheng HL, Chan SW, Yu PH. Antioxidative activities and the total phenolic contents of tonic Chinese medicinal herbs. Inflammopharmacology. 2008;16(5):201-207.18815744
Huang GD, Huang YH, Xiao MZ, Huang DF, Liu J, Li JB. Effect of volatile oil of amomum on expressions of platelet activating factor and mastocarcinoma-related peptide in the gastric membrane of chronic gastritis patients with helicobacter-pylori infection. Chin J Integr Med. 2008;14(1):23-27.18568325
Ilic N, Schmidt BM, Poulev A, Raskin I. Toxicological evaluation of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) [Roscoe] K. Schum. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127(2):352-356.19883745
Iwami M, Mahnoud FA, Shiina T, et al. Extract of grains of paradise and its active principle 6-paradol trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue in rats. Auton Neurosci. 2011;161(1-2):63-67.21185236
Kang SC, Lee CM, Choi H, et al. Evaluation of oriental medicinal herbs for estrogenic and antiproliferative activities. Phytother Res. 2006;20(11):1017-1019.16906642
Kim SH, Lee S, Kim IK, et al. Suppression of mast cell-mediated allergic reaction by Amomum xanthiodes. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007;45(11):2138-2144.17602813
Lawless J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism. Rockport, MA: Element; 1996.
Lawrence BM, Hogg JW, Terhune SJ. Terpenoids of two Amomum species from Thailand. Phytochemistry. 1972;11(4):1534-1535.
Lawrence BM. Terpenes in two Amomum species. Phytochemistry. 1970;9(3):665.
Lee, YS, Kang MH, Cho SY, Jeong CS. Effects of constituents of Amomum xanthioides on gastritis in rats and on growth of gastric cancer cells. Arch Pharm Res. 2007;30(4):436-443.17489359
Liao JP, Qi-Gen W. A preliminary study of the seed anatomy of Zingiberaceae. Bot J Linn Soc. 2000;134(1-2):287-300.
Natta L, Orapin K, Krittika N, Pantip B. Essential oil from five Zingiberaceae for anti food-borne bacteria. Int Food Res J. 2008;15(3):337-346.
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(2):64-68.11460883
Reid DP. Chinese Herbal Medicine. Boston, MA: Shambhala; 1993.
Wang JH, Shin JW, Choi MK, Kim HG, Son CG. An herbal fruit, Amomum xanthoides, ameliorates thioacetamide-induced hepatic fibrosis in rat via antioxidative system. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;135(2):344-350.21419209

Disclaimer

This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide