In China, rhubarb (da-huang in Chinese; daiou in Japanese) has been processed with liquor, e.g., liquor-dipping (LDi), liquor-soaking (LSo), and heated after being processed with liquor (LH) since ancient times. We previously found that LH rhubarb was used as a substitute for LDi rhubarb, a purgative, or LSo rhubarb, a remedy against blood stasis described in the ancient Chinese medical literature. Now, liquor-sprayed and heated (LSpH) rhubarb, called 'liquor-rhubarb' is used due to its expected effects against blood stasis. However, the characteristics of LH rhubarb have not been elucidated scientifically. In this report, we prepared LDi, LSo, liquor-sprayed (LSp), LDi and heated (LDiH), LSo and heated (LSoH), and LSpH rhubarb using 16% ethanol (as a substitute for huangjiu) and compared the contents of their principal compounds. The sennoside (a purgative) contents of LDiH, LSoH, and LSpH were significantly decreased, while the anthraquinone (an anti-inflammatory) contents of LSoH and LSpH increased to the same level as LSo, and the lindleyin contents of LSoH and LSpH were greater than that of LSo. Therefore, we found that LH rhubarb does not have an increased purgative effect and that the LSoH and LSpH processes may produce greater anti-inflammatory effects than LSo.
To examine the anti-influenza effect of maoto, a traditional Japanese herbal medicine, it was administered orally to adults with seasonal influenza A and compared with oseltamivir, a neuraminidase inhibitor, in the 2008 winter season. Of 20 patients (male 13, mean age 28.4), 12 were administered maoto and 8 were administered oseltamivir for five days. Symptom scores and body temperatures were recorded three times a day by the patients. We investigated the febrile/symptom duration, daily symptom score, body temperature, and dosage time of acetoaminophen. The mean febrile duration (21.4 hours) and the mean symptom duration (80.8 hours) in the maoto group did not differ significantly from those (20.0 and 84.4 hours, respectively) of the oseltamivir group. Mean body temperature on the first day (day 1) of administration of patients with maoto (37.6°C) was significantly lower than that of patients given oseltamivir (38.4 °C). Headache scores of the maoto group on day 1, 2, and 3 were significantly less than those of the oseltamivir group. Mean dosing time of acetaminophen, in case of high fever, of the maoto group (0.6 times) was less than that of the oseltamivir group (2.4 times). These results suggest that maoto relieves the fever and symptoms of patients with seasonal influenza A as well as oseltamivir, especially in the early phase of illness.
It is well known that obesity is a crucial risk factor to cause insulin resistance and to develop type 2 diabetes. Recently, thiazolidinediones (TZDs), which promote adipocyte differentiation and decrease blood glucose levels by improving insulin sensitivity, have been developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, body weight gain has often been observed, especially in effective cases, after long-term treatment with TZDs, raising the problem that the hypoglycemic effects of TZDs might be reduced by such body weight gains. In the present study, the effects of pioglitazone (PIO), a representative TZD, on body weight and blood glucose levels in KKAy mice, an animal model of type 2 diabetes, were investigated when PIO was administered for 4 weeks either alone or in combination with bofutsushosan (BOF), a Kampo medicine used to treat obesity. Although the body weight of the group treated with PIO alone was already significantly higher than that of the control group after 1 week of treatment, the serum glucose level of the PIO-treated group was still significantly lower than that of the control group at this time point. However, the body weight increased further and the hypoglycemic effect was lost in the group treated with PIO alone after 4 weeks of treatment. On the other hand, in the group treated with PIO in combination with BOF, such body weight gain was inhibited and the hypoglycemic effect was maintained throughout the 4-week treatment period. These results suggest that the hypoglycemic effect of PIO can be maintained for a long period without body weight gain if PIO is used in combination with BOF.
Pharmacological effects of two grades of Japanese Angelica radixes were compared by global transcriptional analysis in humans, and the differences were revealed by alterations in gene expression. An excellent-grade radix of Angelica acutiloba Kitagawa (Yamato-toki), produced in Nara, Japan, and a low-grade radix produced in China were dispensed to tokishakuyakusan formulation. These formulations were administered to separate groups of female participants for 4 weeks. Excellent-grade and low-grade Angelica radix were administered to 24 and 18 subjects, respectively. A global transcriptional dataset was obtained by cDNA microarray using RNA from peripheral blood nuclear cells of subjects. Partial least squares discriminant analysis and Student's t-test were combined to extract the transit data: (1) genes altered by the administration of both types of tokishakuyakusan and (2) genes altered by either type. Transients in (1) were categorized to have protein transport and transcription functions, with significance determined by the z-test for comparing two proportions. Transients in (2) were categorized to have translation, metabolic process, transcription, and ion transport functions. Results of (2) suggest that the difference exist in the protein level, metabolism, and cell regulation. Estrogen-related genes are included in the transcription category of (1), and neuronal-related genes are included in the metabolic process and ion transport categories of (2). These transitions may be related to the positive effect of each preparation in alleviating complaints.
Since cholic acid (CA) has been demonstrated to suppress triglyceride (TG) synthesis, cattle bile (CB) constituted mainly of CA may exert a TG-lowering effect. However, harmful effects of CB such as elevation of cholesterol (Cho) levels and hepatotoxicity are also assumed to be induced. In this study, we demonstrated that diets containing CB at 0.5 and 1.0 % (w/w) reduced TG levels in blood and liver of mice, which was associated with the elevation of Cho levels in blood and liver and liver injury. Our results suggest that practical use of CB as a TG-lowering agent is not recommended.