Oldenlandia diffusa, also called snake-needle grass or Bai Hua She She Cao, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating a variety of conditions, namely cancer and viral infections such as hepatitis. Unlike many traditional herbs, this treatment has been used with frequency only since the early 20th century, according to the Institute for Traditional Medicine. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer reports that studies have shown it might fight cancer in various ways, including promoting self-destruction of cancer cells and increasing the immune system's ability to destroy tumors. Not enough evidence exists, however, to confirm its benefit for treating cancer or any other condition. This herb might have some adverse reactions; check with your doctor for guidance on safe and proper use.
According to the Asian Anti-Cancer Materia Database, oldenlandia diffusa might rarely cause certain side effects. They include difficulty breathing, rash and intense itching particularly in the upper extremities.
Effects on Sperm
Sloan Kettering reports that a study noted in the 2004 edition of "Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology'' found oldenlandia diffusa interfered with sperm production by reducing it, which could affect fertility.
Oldenlandia diffusa does not have any documented medication interactions, but this does not mean they do not potentially exist. The Institute for Traditional Medicine notes a lack of information about this herb in standard training materials for Chinese medicine. Coupled with limited research, fully knowing the potentially adverse effects of this herb, including medication interactions, is difficult. If you take any sort of medication, particularly ones for treating cancer, talk to your doctor about the appropriateness of using this herb along with your other treatments.
Other Safety Concerns
If you are pregnant or nursing or have liver or kidney disease, your body has a particular vulnerability to the drugs and supplements you consume. You should always talk to your doctor before using any sort of supplement. Whether or not the use of this herb proves inappropriate in any circumstance is not clear, so it is equally prudent to check with your doctor before using this supplement if you have any sort of health condition.
If you begin treatment with this herb, pay close attention to how your body responds and to any unusual symptoms.