Cornus Officinalis herb information, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
April 3 2014

Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit -- Corni Fructus. Asiatic Dogwood. Latin name: Cornus officinalis. Other name: Shan Zhu Yu. Asiatic Dogwood is a common remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. For a list of herbs used in Chinese medicine.

Composition of cornus officinalis
Cornusiin A, cornusiin B and cornusiin C, cornuside, are dimeric, monomeric and trimeric hydrolyzable tannins, loganin, morroniside, Dimethyltetrahydrofuran cis-2,5-dicarboxylate a furan derivative, gallic acid, 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, butyl 2-methylpropyl ester, isopropyl myristate, anthocyanins.

Benefits and uses

Blood sugar and diabetes
Corni fructus as the major herb of Die-Huang-Wan for lowering plasma glucose in Wistar rats.
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2004.
Die-Huang-Wan is a mixture of six herbs used to lower plasma glucose by increasing insulin secretion in normal rats. Die-Huang-Wan contains the herbs dioscorea (Dioscoreae rhizoma), cornus (Corni fructus), alisma (Rhizoma alismatis), holelen (Poria), rehmannia (Rehmanniae radix) and tree peony bark (Moutan radicis cortex). The present study was designed to clarify the major herb contributing to the plasma glucose-lowering action of Die-Huang-Wan in rats. A decrease in plasma glucose was not observed in Wistar rats treated with the cornus-deleted formula of Die-Huang-Wan; however, the action was retained in the other herb-deleted formulas containing cornus. In normal rats, the decrease in plasma glucose and increase in plasma insulin concentrations were dependent on the dose of cornus and were similar to those produced by Die-Huang-Wan. Treatment of Wistar rats with each of the other five herbs separately did not result in a decrease in plasma glucose. Moreover, the increase in plasma insulin or reduction in plasma glucose resulting from cornus treatment was blocked by atropine or 4-diphenylacetoxy-N-methylpiperidine methiodide mustard, indicating mediation of muscarinic M(3) receptors similar to that caused by Die-Huang-Wan. These results suggest that cornus is the major contributor to the plasma glucose-lowering action in Die-Huang-Wan in normal rats.

Effect of alcohol extract of Cornus officinalis on GLUT4 expression in skeletal muscle in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic mellitus rats.
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001.
Based on its effects of decreasing postprandial plasma glucose and increasing insulin level in non-insulin-dependent diabetic mellitus (NIDDM) rats, we studied the effects of Alcohol extract of Cornus officinalis on the GLUT4 expression in NIDDM model rats. This experiment demonstrated that alcohol extract of Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc can increase GLUT4 mRNA and its protein expression in NIDDM rats through promoting proliferation of islet and increasing postprandial secretion of insulin and therefore accelerate glucose transport.

Erectile dysfunction
J Sex Med. 2012. In vivo and in vitro animal investigation of the effect of a mixture of herbal extracts from Tribulus terrestris and Cornus officinalis on penile erection. Department of Urology, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Jinju, Korea. This study examined the effects of Tribulus terrestris Exract and Cornus officinalis extracts on relaxation of the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum (CC), their mechanisms of action, and the effects of oral administration of a mixture of the herbal extracts on penile erection. The relaxation effects and the mechanisms of action of T. terrestris extract, C. officinalis extract, and the mixture of both extracts on the rabbit CC were investigated in an organ bath. To evaluate whether the relaxation response of the CC shown in an organ bath occurs in vivo, intracavernous pressure (ICP) was calculated in rats after oral administration for a month. Additionally, adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) and guanosine 3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) in the CC were measured using immunoassay. T. terrestris extract, C. officinalis extract, and the mixture of both extracts showed concentration-dependent relaxation effects of the CC. In both the endothelium-removed group and N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester pretreatment group, T. terrestris extract inhibited relaxation. ICP measured after oral administration of the extract mixture for a month was higher than that measured in the control group, and a significant increase in cAMP was observed in the mixture group. T. terrestris extract and C. officinalis extract exhibited concentration-dependent relaxation in an organ bath. In the in vivo study of the extract mixture, ICP and cAMP was significantly potentiated.

Cornus Officinalis has been tested in liver cancer.
Chemoprevention against hepatocellular carcinoma of Cornus officinalis in vitro.
Am J Chin Med. 2004.
The water extracts of Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zuce against hepatocellular carcinoma was studied for its chemopreventive potential. Three HCC cell lines (HepG2, SK-Hep1 and PLC/PRF/5) and three leukemic cell lines were tested with XTT assay. Extracts of Cornus officinalis inhibited all these liver cancer cells and leukemic cells at a concentration of 100 microg/ml and was dose-dependent. P53 and Ras significantly affected its activity against HCC. Extracts of C. officinalis also possessed the anti-oxidant activity through free radicals scavenging activity at a concentration of 50 microg/ml. In summary, our experiment implied that C. officinalis might be a candidate for chemopreventive agent against liver cancer through the antioxidant and anti-neoplastic effects.

Sperm health
A substance isolated from Cornus officinalis enhances the motility of human sperm.
Am J Chin Med. 1997.
The effects of a Chinese herb, Cornus officinalis, on the motility of human sperm was studied. An aqueous extract was prepared from the dried fruits of the herb and used in this study.

Rehmannia Endurance, 637 mg, 150 Tabs - With Cornus fruit
Planetary Herbals
Planetary Formulas Rehmannia Endurance is based on the classic Chinese tonifer Rehmannia Six: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, one of the most strengthening tonics of Chinese herbalism. Traditionally it was used for those who are tired and run down from overwork and inadequate rest due to a fast paced-lifestyle.

Supplement Facts:
Serving Size 1 Tablets

Amount Per Serving:
Calcium - 128 mg - 15%DV
Rehmannia Root - 320 mg
Poria Cocos Sclerotium - 160 mg
Tree Peony Root Bark - 160 mg
Dioscorea Root - 160 mg
Alisma Rhizome - 160 mg
He Shou Wu Root (Fo Ti) - 80 mg
Chrysanthemum Flower - 64 mg
Ligustrum Seed - 64 mg
Saw Palmetto Berry - 48 mg
Lycii Fruit Extract - 40 mg also known goji berry and available as a supplement.
Cornus Fruit - 18 mg

Characterization, quantification, and bioactivities of anthocyanins in Cornus species.
J Agric Food Chem. 2002.
Bioactive Natural Products and Phytoceuticals, Department of Horticulture and National Food Safety, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Cornus mas, Cornus officinalis, Cornus controversa, and Cornus kousa (Cornaceae) bear edible fruits that are consumed in parts of Europe and Asia. This study undertook the investigation of the presence and levels of anthocyanins in the fruits of these Cornus species by HPLC. The anthocyanins present in Cornelian cherries, C. mas, are delphinidin 3-O-beta-galactopyranoside (1), cyanidin 3-O-beta-galactopyranoside (2), and pelargonidin 3-O-beta-galactopyranoside (3). C. officinalis contains only anthocyanins 1-3, similar to C. mas, but in different proportions. However, C. controversa contains anthocyanins 1-3 among other anthocyanins, but Chinese dogwood, C. kousa, did not contain 1-3. The contents of pure anthocyanins 1, 2, and 3 in 1 kg of fresh fruits of C. mas, C. officinalis, and C. controversa were 280, 1079, and 710 ppm; 11, 77, and 230 ppm; and 600, 1000, and 700 ppm, respectively. In cyclooxygenase (COX)-I and -II enzyme inhibitory assays, anthocyanins 1-3 showed activities of 9 and 11%; 7 and 12%; and 5 and 7%, respectively, compared to Naproxen (54 and 43%), ibuprofen (47 and 39%, Celebrex (46 and 66%), and Vioxx (23 and 88%). In the antioxidant assay, anthocyanins 1-3 showed activities of 70, 60, and 40%, respectively. At 10 microM concentration, commercial synthetic antioxidants tert-butylhydroquinone, butylated hydroxytoluene, butylated hydroxyanisole, and vitamin E gave 83, 79, 82, and 10% of antioxidant activity, respectively.

I have discovered your web site and have enjoyed reading your interesting -- and cautious -- comments about supplementation. I have a general question about "cornus oficialis" -- Asiatic cornelian cherry fruit. I have read all manner of comment about what physical troubles this substance has been used for. The information is mind boggling on the Internet. If you or your research staff can answer my simple question, I would be very happy. I am not asking for medical advice or dosage, quality, etc. I would just like to know what this substance has traditionally been used to address. The information you have on this page shows that the substance has shown positive effects against certain cancers, with sperm motility, in laboratory rats, and as an antioxidant against free radicals. That's the sum of it. I had read elsewhere that cornus officinalis had shown good results with urinary incontinence (a pretty general reference term, I know) but there's no mention of anything like that in the reference you gave me. Is that the last word at this time, as far as is known about this substance?
    A Medline review in April 2010 does not show any human studies so it is not easy to know the conditions this herb is effective for without clinical trials.