Obesity, the most common metabolic disease, and its associated disorders are reaching epidemic proportions in the modern and industrialized world. Abdominal obesity in particular has been linked with elevations in total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triacylglycerol (TG), and apolipoprotein-B, as well as with decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).1) It is also associated with elevated blood pressure. It denotes that excessive fat tissues in and around the abdomen lead to metabolic syndrome, which has become increasingly common not only in the United States of America but also in Japan, however, relevant prophylactic agents and methods have not been discovered. In this environment, herbal weight-loss supplements have been marketed with claims of effectiveness, although adverse events, including hepatic injury and death, have been reported with the use of herbal supplements. While Japanese already know about traditional herbal medicines - called Kampo medicines -, they may have a place in modern medicine. A formula, Bofutsushosan (BF) was selected for treatment as an antiobesity drug to improve metabolic disorders. BF was introduced in the Chinese classic "Xuan Ming Lun" written in around 1200 as a medication which acted to remove heat after influenza and to promote bowel movement. Japanese specialists of Kampo medicine prescribed BF for "Himan-Shou" by applying their own Kampo diagnosis of "Shou", but not the Western style method for disease diagnosis, therefore, they have never diagnosed Himan-Shou as the same disease as the worldwide - prevalent obesity. In order for BF to be accepted in modern medicine as an antiobesity drug, however, more data must be collected on the mechanism of reducing fat and safety. Furthermore, ethical guidelines for its use as an antiobesity drug in modern medicines should be shown. First, basic experiments with obese mice were tried; second, clinical trials were conducted double-blind, randomized controlled trials in an obesity clinic. The aim of this review was to indicate whether BF could be effectively applied to obesity with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), which increased the risk of cardiovascular events compared to normal individuals, under Western medical methods and evaluations. Finally, we will briefly discuss, comparing with other drugs, the relative benefits and drawbacks of using currently available Kampo medicine in the Western clinical management of visceral obesity.
A single subcutaneous injection of indomethacin (INDO) in mice induced enteropathy characterized as ulceration in small intestine, which was associated with the elevation of fecal hemoglobin (Hb) content and the decrease in Hb and total protein concentration in blood. Oral administration of Scutellariae Radix (SR) (500 mg/kg) enhanced fecal Hb excretion but did not affect the decrease in blood Hb and total protein concentration in INDO-treated mice. In contrast, administration of two SR-containing kampo formulas, Orengedokuto (OGT) and San'oshashinto (SST) at 1100 mg/kg, which contained nearly the same amounts of baicalin as SR extracts at 500 mg/kg, markedly suppressed INDO-induced intestinal bleeding and blood loss. Plasma INDO concentration was not changed by the administration of SR, OGT or SST. The present study suggests that OGT and SST are useful for limiting complications such as intestinal bleeding and blood loss associated with INDO-induced enteropathy. However, possible harmful effects of other SR-containing kampo formulas on INDO-induced enteropathy remain to be investigated.
The effect of Fuscoporia obliqua (Fuscoporia Murr.) was investigated on KK-Ay exercised mice, an animal model with type 2 diabetes with hyperinsulinemia. A water extract of Fuscoporia obliqua (FO) with exercise reduced the blood glucose of KK-Ay mice after a single oral administration. FO with exercise reduced the blood glucose of KK-Ay mice, and also significantly lowered the plasma triglyceride of KK-Ay mice 3 weeks after repeated oral administrations. The plasma triglyceride of FO with exercise is lower than that of exercise only 3 weeks after the administration. These results suggest that FO with exercise is useful for a type 2 diabetic treatment.
Human intestinal bacteria hydrolyze ginsenosides, triterpenoid glycosides of Panax ginseng C. A. MEYER (Araliaceae) to the active metabolites. M1 (20S-protopanaxadiol 20-O-β-D-glucopyranoside) is the final metabolite of protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides. In the present study, we explored the dominant bacterial species involved in metabolism of ginsenosides by means of M1-producing activity assay and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis. Results from M1-producing activity assay of fecal specimens from 17 adults revealed remarkable individual differences in the activity. T-RFLP patterns of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) PCR products from 5 of the 17 specimens, which showed the ability to produce M1, showed that the genus Bacteroides spp. were present among M1-producers. Then, type strains of the genus Bacteroides spp. including B. acidofaciens, B. caccae, B. fragilis, B. intestinalis, B. ovatus, B. stercoris, B. thetaiotaomicron, B. uniformis and B. vulgatus were assayed for M1-producing activity. All the strains tested, except B. uniformis JCM 5825T, produced no or less M1. Moreover, 11 reference strains of B. uniformis also produced M1. These results suggest that B. uniformis may act as the dominant bacterial species capable of producing M1 in human intestines.
We investigated the effects of Hachimijiogan (Ba-Wei-Di-Huang-Wan) (HJ) on polyol pathway and blood coagulation in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. After STZ was administered, rats had free access to pellets containing 1% HJ extract powder for four weeks. There were significant increases in red blood sorbitol levels in STZ-treated rats, but they did not decrease by HJ administration. HJ suppressed the increasing of renal aldose reductase activity in STZ-induced diabetic rats at four weeks after the start of administration. Next, in order to investigate the effects of HJ on blood coagulation, normal prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time were measured. Normal prothrombin time was decreased by STZ but there was no significant change by HJ. Activated partial thromboplastin time did not change in STZ and STZ+HJ rats significantly. In conclusion, HJ normalizes aldose reductase activity in the kidneys of the STZ diabetic rats, suggesting that HJ administration may be a therapeutic approach to improving diabetic nephropathy.