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Capers (Capparis spinosa L.)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Alcaparra (Portuguese), alcaparro (Spanish), caparra (Spanish), caper, caperberry, caperbush, capres (French), caprier (French), cappariloside, cappero (Italian), capperone (Italian), fabagelle (French), glucocapperin, hydroxycinnamic acids, kabarra (Punjabi), kabra (Bengali), kaempferol glycoside, kapernstrauch (German), kapersy (Russian), kappar (Estonian), kapper (German), kappertjes (Dutch), kapricserje (Hungarian), kapris (Swedish and Finnish), kiari (Hindi), kobra (Hindi), lussef (Egyptian), mustard oil (methyl isothiocyanate), quercetin glycoside, rutin, tapana (French), torkav (Estonian).
  • Combination product examples: Liv-52® (Himalayan Co. India), consisting of Mandur bhasma (prepared from ferric oxide) and herbal extracts of Capparis spinosa, Cichorium intybus, Solanum nigrum, Terminalia arjuna, Achillea millefolium, and Tamarix gallica.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Capparis spinosa has traditionally been used for flatulence, rheumatism, liver function, arteriosclerosis, kidney disinfection, and as an antihelminthic and tonic. C. spinosa root bark extracts have been used traditionally for edema, anemia, arthritis, and gout. Capers have also been used for hypoglycemia in Israel (1).
  • In human clinical study, the combination therapy Liv-52® (Himalayan Co. India), containing ferric oxide and C. spinosa as one of seven herbal ingredients, has been indicated as a potentially effective treatment for cirrhosis. The efficacy of C. spinosa as the sole treatment for cirrhosis or other conditions remains unproven. C. spinosa contains significant amounts of the antioxidant flavonoid, rutin. Promising uses of C. spinosa for which there is still inconclusive in vivo evidence in humans include: antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and photoprotective indications.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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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.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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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.

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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.