A review of the anticancer and immunomodulatory effects of Lycium barbarum fruit

Inflammopharmacology. 2012 Dec;20(6):307-14. doi: 10.1007/s10787-011-0107-3. Epub 2011 Dec 22.


The anticancer effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have attracted the attention of the public vis-à-vis existing cancer therapies with various side effects. Lycium barbarum fruit, commonly known as Gou Qi Zi in China, is a potential anticancer agent/adjuvant. Its major active ingredients, L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), scopoletin and 2-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-L-ascorbic acid (AA-2βG), are found to have apoptotic and antiproliferative effects on cancer cell lines. Moreover, LBP also contributes to body's immunomodulatory effects and enhances effects of other cancer therapies. It is not known whether there are any undesirable effects. Further studies on its pharmacological mechanisms and toxicology could facilitate a safe usage of this TCM herb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Lycium / chemistry*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Plant Preparations