Paris Polyphylla

The herb comes also with the names Rhizoma Paridis , Paris Polyphylla Smith var. chinensis (French) Hare (chin.: hua chong lou 華重樓), Paris polyphylla Smith (chin.: qi ye yi zhi hua 七葉一枝花). It belongs to trilliaceae family. Polyphylla is broad-leaved translates to “many leaves “many(poly) leaves(phyla) and is justified by its shape. It is a perennial plant that has a preference to woodlands, forests, bamboo forests, thickets, grassy or rocky slopes and streamside. The altitude ranges from 100 to 3500meters in western China. It is met in East Asia, China and Himalayas. The plant can reach up to 1m height. It brings hermaphrodite flowers (both male and female) but it is not self fertile. They bloom from July to August.

It is bitter, cold and slightly toxic.

Paris Polyphylla is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine, either primary or secondary, in numerous medical conditions. In this work more emphasis will be given at its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth.

Uses

The whole plant can be used as febrifuge, while the roots posses many healing properties. To mention a few, analgesic; antiphlogistic (removes heat), antispasmodic, antitussive, depurative, and narcotic.

A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of poisonous snake bites, boils and ulcers, diphtheria and epidemic Japanese B encephalitis.

The roots have shown antibacterial action against Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, haemolytic streptococci, Meningococci etc.

Epidemic encephalitis B, stomach ache, appendicitis, scrofula (lymphadenopathy), tonsillitis, parotitis, mastitis, poisonous snake bits, insect bites, boils.

It removes heat, counteracts toxicity, causes the subsidence of swelling, alleviates pain and relieves convulsions.

Boils, carbuncles, sore throat, venomus snake bit, traumatic pain, convulsions.

Anti-tumor action

Chinese scientists in Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology have isolated and studied anti-tumor active constituents from the rhizome of Paris polyphylla. The in vitro research have proven that all six compounds possess from medium to significant inhibition.

To complement the above the Beijing Institute of Radiation medicine, have managed to isolate tree new steroidal saponins from the rhizome of the plant.

Nanjing University in corporation with the oncology department of Drum Tower Hospital (China), conducted an in-vitro anticancer research to investigate the activity of aqueous extracts and ethanol extracts of fifteen traditional Chinese medicines on human digestive tumor cell lines. The outcome of this study suggested that traditional Chinese medicine, and Paris polyphylla Smith in particular, might have potential anticancer activity on digestive cancer and its mechanism needs further study.

Another study has justified the traditional use of the herb for insect bites, as it has proven the existence of tyrosinase inhibitory effect and antileishmanial constituents from the roots of the herb. Those are attributed mostly to diosgenin saponins.
A number of diosgenyl saponins of Paris polyphylla were explored in another research, which was found to possess immuno-stimulating properties. There was a significant enhancement in phagocytic activity for certain saponin concentration.

A different study shows how effective can be a synergy between Paris polyphylla and Panax ginseng. Two isolated oligosaccharides of the former herb presented stimulation in the saponin production of the other herb, enhancing thus its therapeutic value. The result also suggested that those two oligosaccharides could have plant growth-regulatory activity in plant tissue cultures.

The department of biochemistry in Hong Kong presented that the steroidal saponin of Paris Polyphylla, polyphyllin D, has effects in growth inhibition of human breast cancer cells and in xenograft. It was found that treatment of certain tumor cells with polyphyllin D resulted in the inhibition of viability and induction of apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The same authors published later on an improved article, where they concluded that polyphyllin D is a potent anticancer agent that can overcome drug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma cells and elicit programmed cell death via mitochondrial dysfunction. Both in dose and time dependent manner.

Researchers from Japan presented that the methanolic extract from the rhizomes of Paris polyphylla SM. var. yunnanensis (FR.) H-M. was found to potently inhibit ethanol(and/indomethacin )-induced gastric lesions in rats.

A research carried out by the Naujing Pharmaceutical University in China reported the analgesic and sedative actions of Rhizoma Paridis. All of the 6 experimented species and varieties in common use were effective. Among them Paris polyphylla var. chinensis, P. polyphylla var. yunnanensis had more potent analgesic action. Sedative action of P. fargesii, P. polyphylla var. chinensis, P. thibetica is also strong. In addition, pariphyllin A and gracillin were also used in the experiment.

In China a biochemistry research has exploited the antimutagenic activity of 36 herbal extracts from anticancer drugs in Chinese medicine. This work presented that along with other four herbs (Actinidia chinensis P., Artemisia lavendulaefolia DC., Prunella vulgaris L.,. and Ampelopsis brevipedunculata T), Paris polyphylla , contains antimutagenic factors against both picrolonic acid- and benzo[a]pyrene-induced mutation.

Paris polyphylla is used as a primary herb in the treatment of liver, stomach, nose and throat cancer in traditional Chinese medicine.  Secondary in lung cancer.
Action Mechanism

Roots ( rizhoma ) as well as stems contain various types of steroidal compounds like diosgenin, dioscin, .

Pariphyllin(polyphyllin) A, B, D

There are 10 main saponins and 2 non saponin ingredients extracted from Paris Polyphylla.
Glycosides are the bioactive components of many famous Chinese medicines. C27-steroid Hemostatic saponins were found in Paris polyphylla.

Mechanistically, polyphyllin D dissipates the mitochondrial membrane potential, induces a downregulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and an up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression, and activates caspase-9. These results suggest that polyphyllin D elicits apoptosis through mitochondria dysfunction. This action provides novel insights that polyphyllin D could serve as a candidate in breast cancer treatment. Paris Pollyphylla is being used in hospitals along with other herbs in conjunction with conventional drugs for the treatment of lung and breast cancers.

Dosage

If used internally use from 4.5 to 9grams daily in decoction form.

For external use, appropriate quantity to be ground into powder with water or apply mixed powder with vinegar and then apply to affected parts. 

Warnings – contraindications - reactions

Paris Polyphylla is generally safe. However, Pregnant or lactating women should refrain from using the herb unless otherwise stated by their GP.

As with all herbs and nutritional supplements, you should not try any of the above if you are on medical treatment unless you are told so by a professional healthcare provider.