Thursday, January 30, 2014

Camptotheca aka Cancer Tree

Scientific name: Camptotheca acuminate

Other names: Xi Shu, Cancer Tree, Tree of Joy, Happy Tree, Tree of Life


Camptotheca or the so called cancer tree is a deciduous tree native to Southern China and Tibet. It grows to a height of 20 to 25 meters tall and has a light grey bark and oval leaves with heavy pleated veining. The flowers are white to yellowish spherical clusters.

 There are two species:

    Camptotheca acuminata
    Camptotheca lowreyana

Parts used: Bark, Leaves(tender leaves), Roots, Fruit

Medicinal uses of Camptotheca acuminate (Happy Tree, Cancer Tree):

Camptotheca acuminate (Happy Tree) was first used traditional medicine (ancient Chinese) as a treatment for common colds, psoriasis, liver problems and digestive problems.

Scientific research has found the cancer-fighting properties in Camptotheca acuminate thus it is called a cancer-tree. It contains pentacyclic quinolines camptothecin and 10-hydroxycamptothecin which inhibits DNA topoisomerase I and is very effective against cancer cells.

The extract of tender are beneficial for brain tumors, liver cancer, cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, leukemia and other cancers.

The main compound -a pentacyclic quinoline alkaloid- are found mostly in the tender leaves but they are also present in the bark, root and seeds.

The fruit contains alkaloids (camptothecine, venoterpine, 10-hydroxy camptothecine), tannins(syringicacid, salicylic).

The root contains alkaloids (20-deoxycamptothecin, 20-hexanoylcamptothecine) as well as camptothecine, flavonoids, quercetin, and tannins(gallic acid and trifolin).

By decocting root, bark, fruit. It can be used to treat gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, carcinoma of bladder and other kinds of cancer.

The root or fruit of the camptotheca can be grounded into a powder and taken once a day.