Pathogenic recognition in Kampo (Japanese traditional) medicine is based on the diagnosis of individual pathogenic alterations, so-called "Sho", consisting of the symptoms and constitution or responder/ non-responder of patients with different diseases. Symptoms are epigenetically influenced by disease progression and environmental factors, including psychological stress. On the other hand, responder/ non-responder is influenced by genetic factors underlying the development of the disease, including genetic polymorphism. Holistic patterns of individual pathogenic alteration "Sho" are investigated by genomics and proteomics using the blood of patients with different diseases. It is important to investigate the expression of genes and proteins associated with various diseases in order to clarify the scientific basis of Kampo medicine and to characterize the symptoms and constitution (responder/non-responder) for Kampo medicines. It is also necessary to introduce bio-informatics for clinical study of the time-relapse state of diseases as well as to properly elucidate the evidence-based efficacy of Kampo medicines and their mechanism of action.
In China, rhubarb (da-huang in Chinese; daiou in Japanese) is processed with liquor. There are two liquors that are commonly used for rhubarb preparations, huangjiu, which contains a small amount of alcohol and baijiu, which contains a large amount of alcohol. Commonly, rhubarb is processed with huangjiu rather than baijiu. However, there is little evidence concerning why huangjiu is used. In this report, we processed liquor-soaked rhubarb using four liquids, distilled water; 16% ethanol; 50% ethanol; and shaoxingjiu, a kind of huangjiu, and compared the amounts of the following principal compounds in the processed rhubarb: sennoside A, sennoside B, aloe-emodin, rhein, emodin, chrysophanol, physcion, lindleyin, isolindleyin, and total tannin. We found that the changes in the amounts of the principal compound in the processed rhubarb mostly depended on the alcohol concentration of the soaking solution. Sennosides content decreased while anthraquinones content increased in a balanced manner when the rhubarb was processed with 16% ethanol or shaoxingjiu. Therefore, rhubarb is processed with liquors that contain a small amount of alcohol as preparing liquor-soaked rhubarb in this manner may decrease its purgative effect and enhance its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.
"Yamato-toki" is a well-known brand of ANGELICAE RADIX, which is prepared only from Angelica acutiloba roots cultivated in Nara and Wakayama Prefectures in Japan and is prepared with traditional processing steps. In order to compensate for the production of Yamato-toki, an exploration of a site which is suitable for the cultivation of A. acutiloba was performed extensively. In the survey, the northern Sichuan province of China was discovered as a candidate and the pilot production of A. acutiloba using Japanese seeds and traditional processing steps was started in 2003. From 2007, Yamato-toki has been produced on a productive scale. The A. acutiloba roots cultivated in the northern Sichuan province were conformed to the Japanese Pharmacopoeia XV standards tests. Three dimensional-HPLC profiles and the amount of some active constituents including (Z)-ligustilide, (Z)-butylidenephthalide and adenosine contained in Yamato-toki produced in China were similar to those of Yamato-toki produced in Japan. The production of A. acutiloba roots at northern Sichuan province in China will be a promising resource to meet the shortage of Yamato-toki supply in Japan.
We have examined a mass chromatographic fingerprint approach for quality evaluation and differentiation of herbal drugs and formulations using HPLC coupled with an ion trap-time of flight mass spectrometer (LC-IT-TOF-MS) and chemometrics. Six types of hochuekkito (HET) formulation prescribed in Japanese Pharmacopoeia were analyzed and 45 compounds were identified or tentatively characterized in the mass chromatographic fingerprints. By a chemometric approach, 9 compounds, namely, two acylsucrose derivatives, dihydroxyflavone-glucopyranoside, liquiritin, liquiritin apioside and neolicuroside, hesperidin, trihydroxyflavone-diglucopyranoside and cimicifugic acid F were detected as marker compounds amongst the chemical extracts in the samples, which had large variation in concentrations. The presented mass chromatographic fingerprint method provides comprehensive and simultaneous information on all the chemical constituents in the sample and can be utilized for quality control of Japanese traditional medicines (Kampo medicines).
The present study was designed to investigate the effect of an herbal medicine, goshajinkigan (GJ), on the regulation of triglyceride levels in rats fed a sucrose-rich diet (SRD). Normal Wistar rats were fed a SRD (80.3% energy from carbohydrates, 13.4% from proteins, and 6.4% from lipids) for 10 weeks; the rats had free access to the SRD containing 1% powdered extract of GJ. The control rats were fed a standard diet (60.5% energy from carbohydrates, 26.2% from proteins, and 13.3% from lipids). Nonfasting plasma glucose levels and the results of the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) were normal for the SRD-fed rats. In comparison with the control rats, the SRD-fed rats showed a significant increase in their plasma triglyceride levels at 6, 8, and 10 weeks. GJ treatment significantly reduced the elevated plasma triglyceride levels. These results suggest that GJ may have the potential to alleviate hypertriglyceridemia in subjects with the long-term consumption by high sucrose diet.