Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
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.
The gardenia family (Rubiaceae) contains 10,200 species. The most commonly used species in medicine is Gardenia jasminoides (Cape jasmine).
Gardenia has been used in Asian traditional medicine for centuries. It is believed to have sedative, laxative, and fever-reducing effects, and it has also been used to treat bacterial infections, diabetes, liver disease, gallbladder disease, and some skin disorders. However, more human clinical trials are needed to confirm these effects.
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:
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.
- Analgesic (pain relief), antibacterial, antihypertensive (reduces blood pressure), anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic (treats muscle spasms), antiviral, anxiety, asthma, astringent (tightens skin or muscles), atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), bleeding, burns, cancer, cardiovascular disease (heart disease), choleretic (bile flow stimulant), constipation, delirium, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive disorders, dyspepsia (indigestion), expectorant (thins mucus), fever, gallbladder disorders, gallstones, headache, hepatic diseases (liver diseases), hepatic fibrosis (liver disease), hepatitis, hepatoprotectant (liver health), hypertension (high blood pressure), immunomodulator (affects immune system), influenza (flu), insect bites, jaundice, larvicidal (antilarva), laxative, mastitis (breast infection), neonatal jaundice (childhood jaundice), nosebleed, palpitations (irregular heartbeat), pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas), sedative, smallpox, snakebites, sores, ulcerative colitis (bowel disease), vitiligo (skin coloring disorder), wound healing.
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)
To treat stomach disease, 3-12 grams of gardenia fruit has been taken by mouth daily.
To treat vitiligo (skin pigmentation disorder), ground gardenia fruit has been applied to the skin several times daily.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for gardenia in children.
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.
Avoid in people who are allergic or sensitive to gardenia, its parts, or any member of the Rubiaceae family. Exposure to gardenia may result in skin reactions.
Side Effects and Warnings
Gardenia is considered safe in doses of 3-12 grams taken by mouth daily or when applied to the skin.
Gardenia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
Use cautiously in people who have autoimmune disorders or diarrhea.
Use cautiously in people who are taking immunosuppressants.
Gardenia may cause diarrhea and skin reactions.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of gardenia during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
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
Gardenia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Gardenia may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Gardenia may also interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antimalarial agents, antiretroviral agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, immunosuppressants, and laxatives.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Gardenia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Gardenia may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
Gardenia may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antiparasitic herbs and supplements, antiviral herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that may affect the immune system, and laxatives.
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).
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.
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Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
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.