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What Is Sabah Snake Grass? – Physiotherapy & Alternative Medicine

What Is Sabah Snake Grass?

Sabah Snake Grass, also known by its scientific name Clinacanthus Nutans, is native to South East Asia. It has been widely used in Malaysian traditional medicine for thousands of years, primarily as a cure against snake bites. Unsurprisingly this is where it got its name.

It has a range of alleged health benefits; the most notable being that it can be used as a cure for cancer. It’s also believed to have beneficial properties for the kidneys, along with general restorative properties.

Although it’s been used in Asian medicine for a long time, it’s still quite unknown in the Western world. This article looks at some of its health benefits, and the best ways to consume the plant.

Sabah Snake Grass Health Benefits

One of the most important and proven health benefits of Sabah Snake Grass is its use as an antioxidant. It has been compared to green tea leaves in its look, taste, and composition, and apparently functions like green tea too.

Sabah Snake Grass, like other antioxidants, works by ridding your body of free radicals and so keeps your body in good working order.

Free radicals are present in everyone’s body, but are made worse through an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. They are essentially molecules with outer shells that aren’t full. This means they have spare electrons that can bond with other molecules in your body.

When oxygen molecules are split into single atoms they react quickly with surrounding molecules, and start a process called oxidative stress.

Also known as oxidation, this process is harmful to the cells in your body and can cause a breakdown of DNA within your cells. This in turn can lead to a whole range of problems, including the onset of diseases such as cancer, and other issues such as wrinkles.Antioxidants vs. free radicals

Antioxidants work by trapping and eliminating your body of free radicals, and so will help lower your chances of illnesses associated with this problem.

Along with powerful antioxidant properties, Sabah Snake Grass is also known for the following health benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties (helps with arthritis, gout, etc.)
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Slows down the aging process, both inside and out
  • Lowers the chances of stroke and cardiovascular disease
  • Improves skin appearance and health
  • Lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure, and uric acid levels
  • Improves kidney, prostate, and lung health, and may have benefits for reproductive systems too
  • Possible cancer curing properties
  • Assists with weight loss (through appetite suppression and fat burning)

Although many Malaysian people would swear to these properties, and more, very little research has been done in Western society, so these health benefits should be taken with a pinch of salt. Like with other antioxidant products, it should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Sabah Snake Grass Dosage and Side Effects

Just as with many other herbal or medicinal plants, Sabah Snake Grass is best consumed as either a tea, juice or in tablet form. Eating the leaves raw is possible, but you’re more likely to experience side effects consuming them unprocessed.

Unless you live in Asia, or know someone that does, it might be difficult to get hold of the plant in its fresh form. If this is the case, then tea would be your best option.

However, if you’re able to find some fresh, or you can grow it yourself, then experiment with different juices and shakes to find what works best for you.

There isn’t necessarily a set dosage of Sabah Snake Grass, although it’s recommended that you start with a smaller dose and work up. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll do any damage to yourself by ingesting large quantities, but just as with any new food or herbal medicine, it’s best to start with a small dose.

You might find your body doesn’t react well to the taste, and so minor illness can be avoided by starting with a small amount.

How To Consume Sabah Snake Grass

Here is a basic recipe for tea and juice. Once you’ve sorted the base recipe, feel free to add other flavorings, such as fruit.


  • Pick around 30 fresh Sabah Snake Grass leaves and wash well
  • Add to a liter of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Alternatively, steep in boiled water for around 20 minutes
  • Allow the tea to cool before drinking, and then consume a cup at a time throughout the day


  • Add half a cup of water to a blender with ice
  • Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon
  • Add 30 washed Sabah Snake Grass leaves
  • Flavor with fruit to taste
  • Blend and drink

As stated, there isn’t a recommended dosage, but feel free to add as much as you want to your tea. The more you add however, the more likely you are to come up against the side effects. While these aren’t debilitating, they can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain, including backache and knee pain
  • Insomnia

Don’t let these side effects put you off trying the grass, these are likely to hit if you consume it in very large quantities.

They’re also not dissimilar side effects to what you’d experience consuming any other herbal medicine, but if you do notice them developing then stop using the leaves immediately, or cut down on your dosage.

In Tablet Form

Can Sabah Snake Grass Cure Cancer?

Sabah Snake Grass became known in the Western world in 2008 after a Malaysian man suffering from Stage 4 thyroid cancer apparently cured himself by consuming the leaves.

He had apparently been given only months to live, and after trying all other treatments, turned to a traditional medicine as his last hope.

After consuming the leaves for 5 months his cancer apparently disappeared completely, and he was still in remission 5 years later.

The story was widely reported in both local and international news, and has created something of a cult following for the plant ever since.

If you do a quick Google of Sabah Snake Grass the first articles to show up are about its cancer-curing properties.Cancer cells

Many of the articles feature anecdotal accounts of people whose neighbors or family members have cured their cancer by consuming the plant. Oddly enough, none of the information seems to come from legitimate medical sources.

Many of the statements online claim they had to consume somewhere in the region of 200-250 leaves a day, which would be both time-consuming and expensive.

Unless you can grow the plant yourself, it would be incredibly difficult to get hold of the quantity needed to keep up with this kind of intake.

So for emphasis, Sabah Snake Grass likely benefits cancer patients through its use as an antioxidant, as this helps to curb the levels of free radicals in your body.

This is one of the main sources of cancer, as the free radicals bond with cells and cause them to mutate.

This is the main reason people believe it can be used as an alternative treatment for cancer – because its health benefits seem to skirt around the issue but aren’t directly related.


As it currently stands, there is no reputable or legitimate scientific information that justifies Sabah Snake Grass as a cure for cancer. Until more scientific studies have been done in controlled environments, it’s no more than conjecture or hearsay.

If you choose to enjoy the plant, that’s fine, but there is currently no scientific basis for its use as a cancer treatment. Also, this information isn’t a substitute for seeing a medical professional about any health issues you have.


Sabah Snake Grass has been used in traditional Malaysian medicine for a long time, primarily as a treatment for snake bites. Like many other traditional medicines, it’s likely that there is some scientific basis behind this use.

For example, traditional Western medicines knew to use certain trees for their pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, many of which are still used today. However, until more research has been done on the plant it’s unfair to claim it definitely benefits people.

There is evidence that the leaves have antioxidant properties, and so can be consumed for these benefits. However, it’ll still be quite difficult to buy in Western countries and there are plants that do the same job and are much easier to buy.

If you can get hold of some Sabah Snake Grass, consider finding a way to grow your own. This is possibly the best way to guarantee having a good supply of it.

The most important thing to remember about the plant is that there’s currently no scientific evidence for it being a cure for cancer.

Many people have claimed it cured their illness, but until controlled studies have been done we can never know for sure. Don’t let this put you off getting hold of the plant though, because it’s always worth trying if you’re interested.