Several species of the botanical genus Achillea L. (Asteraceae), which are commonly known as the Achillea millefolium group, comprise the crude drug Herba Millefolii. The essential oil-bearing plants are collected and used in Middle and Southeastern Europe, mainly for possessing anti-edematous, antiphlogistic and spasmolytic activities. Medicinal indications of Herba Millefolii, which include digestive disorders and inflammations of skin and mucosa, are referred to essential oil, sesquiterpenes, alkamides and flavonoids. The chemical composition varies strongly due to widespread geographical and ecological occurrence, different ploidy levels (di-, tetra-, hexa-, octoploid) and frequent hybridizations within the group but also with species from other Achillea sections. This paper reviews research on bioactive compounds of species from the Achillea millefolium group, including remarks on botany, ploidy and use in folk medicine.
Fifty-two articles on clinical studies of Kampo medicine published in various journals from 2000 to 2002 were reviewed and analyzed to clarify the trends of clinical studies. Most of the reports concern Obstetrics/Gynecology, Orthopedics, and Respiratory disease. One of the characteristics of Kampo clinical studies in Japan is that most of them are rather small. Seventy-one percent of the studies enrolled up to 50 patients. It is important to explain why a certain Kampo formula is indicated for a certain patient. About 75% of the articles included an explanation in some form. Sixty-three percent of the reports studied the presence of adverse reactions during treatment and/or anomalous test values. Seven articles were difficult to evaluate because of errors in methodology or unscientific description.
The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of the traditional Japanese medicine Sairei-to (TJ-114) on edema in mice with anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis. Sairei-to (0.38-1.5 g/kg/day) and furosemide (50mg/kg/day) were orally administered consecutively for 4 days from day 6 after an anti-GBM serum injection. Plasma volume (PV) was determined with Evans blue dye and extracellular fluid volume (ECFV) was measured using a single-injection potassium bromide technique. In the nephritic control mice, proteinuria and hyponatreuria were induced and PV, ECFV and calculated interstitial fluid volume (ISFV) were increased. Sairei-to significantly decreased ECFV and ISFV in a dose-dependent manner, but did not change PV or urinary protein excretion. A similar result was observed in the furosemide-treated mice. These results suggest that the treatment with Sairei-to was useful against nephrotic edema.
Anti-inflammatory effects of Brazilian licorice (Periandra mediterranea or P. dulcis, local name: aracacuz da terra) extract on animal models for inflammatory or autoimmune diseases were examined comparing them to those of Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) extract. Brazilian licorice extracts potently inhibited the elevation of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 concentrations, and glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase activity in the sera of mice treated with P. acnes and lipopolysaccharide. Brazilian licorice extracts apparently inhibited the clinical symptom and bone destruction associated with the induction of arthritis in mice, and the body weight change in mice treated with Brazilian licorice extract was minimal. Brazilian licorice extracts apparently inhibited the clinical symptom and inflammatory cell accumulation in the parenchyma of spinal cord in rats immunized with bovine myelin basic protein. The inhibitory effects of Chinese licorice extract on these disease models were apparently less pronounced than those of Brazilian licorice extract. Furthermore, the IC50 value of Brazilian licorice extract against 11β-hydoxysteroid dehydrogenase activity, one of the metabolizing enzymes for corticosteroids, was more than 3 times of Chinese licorice extract. These results clearly indicate that Brazilian licorice possesses potent anti-inflammatory activities with little adverse effect when compared to Chinese licorice.
In Japan, wood creosote pills containing four herbal drugs have been used to treat food poisoning and diarrhea. It was previously reported that among the four herbal drugs used, Citri Unshiu Pericarpium (CUP2, Chinpi in Japanese) plays an important role in sustaining the dissolution of the active constituents of wood creosote (guaiacol) from the pill. To clarify the pharmaceutical role of CUP2 in these pill, pharmacokinetic interactions between CUP2 and guaiacol were examined after oral administration of a wood creosote pill containing four herbal drugs (P4R) to rats. The mean residence time (MRT) of guaiacol in the P4R-treated rats was significantly longer than that of the rats treated with a variant pill (P4R with a reduced amount or without CUP2). There were no significant differences in the area under the mean concentration versus time curve from zero to 5 h (AUC0-5 h) between the two groups. The prolongation effect of CUP2 on the MRT of guaiacol was thought to be partly due to the mean dissolution time (MDT) of guaiacol from the pill. Since a long MRT and MDT are indexes of the duration effects of drugs, CUP2 might be a good adjuvant for prolonging anti-diarrhea effects after oral administrations of wood creosote pills.
Anti-allergic effects of 9 Kampo medicines containing Ephedrae Herba on dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-induced triphasic skin reaction were investigated. In the animal model, it was found that Kakkon-To, Sho-Sei-Ryu-To, Shimpi-To and Mao-Bushi-Saishin-To inhibited the ear swelling of IPR (immediate phase response), LPR (late phase response) and vLPR (very late phase response). Eppi-Ka-Jutsu-To, Dai-Sei-Ryu-To and Keishi-Syakuyaku-Chimo-To inhibited the swelling of IPR and LPR. Mao-To and Ma-Kyo-Kan-Seki-To showed the inhibitory effect on IPR only. The water extract from Ephedrae Herba inhibited the triphasic skin reaction, but the water extract from the mixture of Ephedra Herba and Armeniacae Semen did not. These findings indicate that Kakkon-To, Sho-Sei-Ryu-To, Shimpi-To and Mao-Bushi-Saishin-To are useful for the inhibition of cutaneous inflammatory diseases, and that the inhibitory effect is partly attributable to Ephedra Herba. Also, it was suggested that Armeniacae Semen plays some important role on the occurrence of efficacy of Ephedra Herba.
In the present study, we examined the effect of buckwheat polyphenols (BWP) on cell death induced by glutamate and kainate in primary cultures of hippocampal neurons by assay of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) released out of cells. BWP (100 μg/mL) could significantly prevent cell death induced by 100 μM, but not that induced by 300 μM of glutamate, whereas MK-801, a N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, remarkably inhibited cell death induced by either concentration of glutamate. BWP (100 μg/ml) and 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo(F)quinoxaline (NBQX), an α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist, showed a protective effect on cell death induced by kainate (1 and 3 mM). These results suggest that BWP exhibits the neuroprotective action by inhibiting the AMPA receptor activity.