A literature survey was conducted on herbs, their preparations and ingredients with reported liver protection activities, in which a total of 274 different species and hundreds of active ingredients have been examined.

by Rubin Wang12, John Kong1, Dali Wang1 Linda Lin-min Lien1 and Eric Jung-chi Lien1

Abstract

A literature survey was conducted on herbs, their preparations and ingredients with reported liver protection activities, in which a total of 274 different species and hundreds of active ingredients have been examined. These ingredients can be roughly classified into two categories according to their activities: (1) the main ingredients, such as silybin, osthole, coumarin, glycyrrhizin, saikosaponin A, schisandrin A, flavonoids; and (2) supporting substances, such as sugars, amino acids, resins, tannins and volatile oil.

Among them, some active ingredients have hepatoprotective activities (e.g. anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, immunomodulating and liver cirrhosis-regulating effects). Calculation of physicochemical parameters indicates that the main ingredients with negative and positive Elumo values possibly display their hepatoprotective effects through different mechanisms, such as antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects. As the combination of herbs may achieve some treatment effects synergistically and/or additively, it is common in Chinese medicine to use mixtures of various medicinal herbs with pharmacologically active compounds to have synergistic and/or additive effects, or to reduce harmful effects of some pharmacologically active compounds. In particular, the active compounds with Clog P around 2 are suitable for passive transport across membranes and accessible to the target sites. Thus, Elumo and Clog P values are good indicators among the calculated parameters.

Seven different physicochemical parameters (MW, Clog P, CMR, μ, Ehomo, Elumo and Hf) and four major biological activities (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral/antitumor and immunomodulating) are discussed in this review. It is hoped that the discussion may provide some leads in the development of new hepatoprotective drugs.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Chin Med. 2007; 2: 5.

Published online 2007 May 10. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-2-5.

© 2007 Wang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Articles from Chinese Medicine are provided courtesy of BioMed Central

Footnotes

1. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, 1985 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9121, USA

2. Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc, 9360 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA