Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 2Alpha,3alpha,23-trihydroxyurs-12-en-24,28-dioic acid 28-beta-D-glucopyranosyl ester, 2alpha,3beta-dihydroxy-28-norurs-12,17,19(20),21-tetraen-23-oic acid, 3beta-[(alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl)oxy]-19alpha-hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid, 3beta-[(alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl)oxy]-19beta-hydroxyurs-12,20(30)-dien-28-oic acid, 3beta-[(alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl)oxy]-urs-11,13(18)-dien-28-oic acid beta-D-glucopyranosyl ester, 3beta-[(alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl)oxy]-urs-12,19(20)-dien-28-oic acid, 3beta-[(alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl)oxy]-urs-12,19(29)-dien-28-oic acid, di yu, ellagitannin, great burnet, Poterium
    officinale (L.) Gray, Rosaceae (family), sanguiin H-6, Sanguisorba
    microcephala K.Presl, Sanguisorba minor magnolii, Sanguisorba officinalis spp., tannins, triterpenoids.

Background

  • Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) is a member of the Rosaceae family and is native to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. It grows best in moist, grassy meadows and sandy, loamy, or dense soils.

  • The roots of Sanguisorba officinalis are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Referred to as di yu, it is used topically to treat burns and skin rashes and internally to treat diarrhea, duodenal ulcers, bloody stools, bloody cough, and heavy periods.

  • Anecdotally, burnet has been used as a source of food, as a substitute for tea, and for a variety of medicinal purposes due to its astringent, hemostatic (stops bleeding), pain-relieving, and healing properties. However, no available scientific evidence supports the use of burnet to treat any condition in humans.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Antineoplastic (anticancer), antipyretic (reduces fever), antiviral, astringent, bleeding (bloody stools, stops bleeding), bloody urine, burns, diarrhea, diuretic (increases urination), duodenal ulcers, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eczema (skin rashes), expectorant (bloody cough), food uses, hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus type 1, HIV, menorrhagia (heavy periods), menstrual disorders, pain relief, peptic ulcer, skin pigmentation disorders, skin sores, stomatitis (mouth inflammation), wounds.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • In traditional Chinese medicine, burnet is used topically to treat burns and skin rashes and internally to treat diarrhea, duodenal ulcers, bloody stools, bloody cough, and heavy periods. The standard dose for these treatments, based on tradition, is 4.5-15 grams in a prepared decoction, but the duration of treatment is undefined.

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for burnet in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for burnet in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in patients with known allergy or hypersensitivity to burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), its constituents, or members of the Rosaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Information on the adverse effects of burnet is lacking.

  • Burnet may reduce the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

  • Burnet is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

  • Avoid in patients with known allergy or hypersensitivity to burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), its constituents, or members of the Rosaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Burnet is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Burnet may reduce the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

  • Burnet may interact with anticancer drugs, antidiarrheals, antivirals, drugs for bleeding disorders, drugs that increase urination, and laxatives.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Burnet may reduce the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.

  • Burnet may interact with anticancer herbs and supplements, antidiarrheals, antivirals, herbs and supplements for bleeding disorders, herbs and supplements that increase urination, laxatives, and tannin-containing herbs and supplements.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Abad MJ, Guerra JA, Bermejo P,et al. Search for antiviral activity in higher plant extracts. Phytother Res 2000;14(8):604-607. View Abstract
  2. Bastow KF, Bori ID, Fukushima Y, et al. Inhibition of DNA topoisomerases by sanguiin H-6, a cytotoxic dimeric ellagitannin from Sanguisorba officinalis. Planta Med 1993;59(3):240-245. View Abstract
  3. Bedoya LM, Sanchez-Palomino S, Abad MJ, et al. Anti-HIV activity of medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;77(1):113-116. View Abstract
  4. Hachiya A, Kobayashi A, Ohuchi A, et al. The inhibitory effect of an extract of Sanguisorba officinalis L. on ultraviolet B-induced pigmentation via the suppression of endothelin-converting enzyme-1alpha. Bio Pharm Bull 2001;24(6):688-692. View Abstract
  5. Kim TG, Kang SY, Jung KK,et al. Antiviral activities of extracts isolated from Terminalis chebula Retz., Sanguisorba officinalis L., Rubus coreanus Miq. and Rheum palmatum L. against hepatitis B virus. Phytother Res 2001;15(8):718-720. View Abstract
  6. Liao H, Banbury LK, Leach DN. Antioxidant activity of 45 Chinese herbs and the relationship with their TCM characteristics. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2008;5(4):429-34. View Abstract
  7. Liu X, Cui Y, Yu Q, et al. Triterpenoids from Sanguisorba officinalis. Phytochemistry 2005;66(14):1671-1679. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.