Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 9+) of Germination: Moderate
(Xi Shu, Happy Tree, Tree of Life) Chinese tree with proven anti-cancer properties. The bark, stem and leaves contain camptothecin, an alkaloid effective against leukemia, colon cancer and other tumours, and it blocks the replication of the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Drugs derived from the tree are ringing up sales in excess of $1 billion. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used for the treatment of colds, psoriasis, cancers and leukemia of the liver, gallbladder and stomach. Due to overharvesting in China it is endangered in the wild, but it is now in cultivation in India and Japan. It was introduced to America in 1930s and is growing in Florida and Georgia. The tree reaches 20m/65ft.
The seeds are large.
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.