Skip to content

Dogwood (Cornus spp.)

Alternate Title

  • Cornus spp.

Related Terms

  • Cornus controversa, Cornus kousa, Cornus macrophylla, Cornus nuttallii, Cornus officinalis, Cornus officinalis Sieb et Zucc, Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zuce, Cornus stolonifera, Cornus stolonifera Michx, dandi tablet, dogwood fruit, red-osier dogwood, zuo-gui-wan.

Background

  • Dogwood (Cornus spp.) is a deciduous tree that has showy, four-petal flowers in early spring. The indigenous peoples of the boreal forest in Canada traditionally used Cornus stolonifera for diabetes or its complications. Elders of the Saanich and Cowichan Coast Salish people of the southern Vancouver Island used Cornus nuttallii bark to treat respiratory ailments.
  • There is limited human evidence about the use of dogwood for use in cancer and as an antioxidant. However, future studies may investigate these areas further. Dogwood has been studied with other herbs to see its effects on hormone levels in postmenopausal and infertile women, although currently, there is a lack of strong evidence for these conditions.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    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.

    C Fertility

    A traditional Chinese combination of herbs seems to have helped a woman with postmenopausal levels of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone to become pregnant. Although this result is interesting, further research is needed in this area.

    C Postmenopausal symptoms

    There is currently insufficient available evidence to recommend dogwood for or against the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms. More studies are needed in this area.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    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 (over 18 years old)

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for dogwood in adults.
  • Children (under 18 years old)

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

Safety

    Disclaimer

    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 individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to dogwood (Cornus spp.) or its constituents.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Use cautiously in patients taking aldose reductase inhibitors, as dogwood may inhibit these enzymes.
    • Use cautiously in patients taking antineoplastic (anticancer) agents, as dogwood may have antineoplastic activity.
    • Use cautiously in patients with HIV, as dogwood may inhibit virus replication.
    • Use cautiously in patients attempting to become pregnant or who are postmenopausal, as dogwood may alter hormone levels.
    • Avoid in patients who are using birth control pills, as dogwood may alter hormone levels.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Dogwood is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
    • Dogwood should be used cautiously with estrogens, fertility agents, and birth control pills.
    • Dogwood fruits may increase sperm motility.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    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

    • Dogwood may protect against diabetic complications. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Dogwood fruit may alter cholesterol levels in the body. Use with caution.
    • Dogwood may have anticancer activity. Use cautiously with anticancer agents due to possible additive effects.
    • Dogwood may have antioxidant activity. Use cautiously with antioxidants due to possible additive effects.
    • Use dogwood extracts (stem and leaf) cautiously with antiretroviral agents due to possible additive effects.
    • Dogwood fruit may alter hormone levels and may increase fertility in infertile women. Use cautiously with estrogen, fertility agents, and birth control pills.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Dogwood fruit may alter cholesterol levels in the body. Use with caution.
    • Dogwood may have antineoplastic activity; use cautiously with anticancer herbs and supplements due to possible additive effects.
    • Dogwood may have antioxidant activity. Use cautiously with antioxidants due to possible additive effects.
    • Use dogwood extracts (stem and leaf) cautiously with herbs and supplements with antiviral activity due to possible additive effects.
    • Dogwood fruit may alter hormone levels and may increase fertility in infertile women. Use cautiously with fertility herbs and supplement and phytoestrogens.
    • Dogwood may protect against diabetic complications. Patients taking herbs or supplements for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Dose adjustments may be necessary.

Attribution

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

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    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 . Selected references are listed below.

  • Chang JS, Chiang LC, Hsu FF, et al. Chemoprevention against hepatocellular carcinoma of Cornus officinalis in vitro. Am J Chin Med 2004;32(5):717-725.
    View Abstract
  • Chao SL, Huang LW, Yen HR. Pregnancy in premature ovarian failure after therapy using Chinese herbal medicine. Chang Gung Med J 2003;26(6):449-452.
    View Abstract
  • Jeng H, Wu CM, Su SJ, et al. A substance isolated from Cornus officinalis enhances the motility of human sperm. Am J Chin Med 1997;25(3-4):301-306.
    View Abstract
  • Kim HY, Oh JH. Screening of Korean forest plants for rat lens aldose reductase inhibition. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999;63(1):184-188.
    View Abstract
  • Liang R, Chen MR, Xu X. [Effect of dandi tablet on blood lipids and sex hormones in women of postmenopausal stage]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 2003;23(8):593-595.
    View Abstract
  • McCune LM, Johns T. Antioxidant activity in medicinal plants associated with the symptoms of diabetes mellitus used by the indigenous peoples of the North American boreal forest. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;82(2-3):197-205.
    View Abstract
  • Min BS, Kim YH, Tomiyama M, et al. Inhibitory effects of Korean plants on HIV-1 activities. Phytother Res 2001;15(6):481-486.
    View Abstract
  • Nishino C, Kobayashi K, Fukushima M. Halleridone, a cytotoxic constituent from Cornus controversa. J Nat Prod 1988;51(6):1281-1282.
    View Abstract
  • Renault S, Croser C, Franklin JA, et al. Effects of consolidated tailings water on red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera Michx) seedlings. Environ Pollut 2001;113(1):27-33.
    View Abstract
  • Turner NJ, Hebda RJ. Contemporary use of bark for medicine by two Salishan native elders of southeast Vancouver Island, Canada. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;29(1):59-72.
    View Abstract
  • Xu HQ, Hao HP, Zhang X, et al. Morroniside protects cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells from damage by high ambient glucose. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2004;25(4):412-415.
    View Abstract