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   Table of Contents - Current issue
October-December 2021
Volume 4 | Issue 4
Page Nos. 197-265

Online since Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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Overview of research trends in precious chinese medicines p. 197
Hong- Xi Xu, Zhi- Xiu Lin
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Chemistry Behind the Immunomodulatory Activity of Astragalus membranaceus p. 201
Mallique Qader, Jian Xu, Yuejun Yang, Xiaohua Wu, Yuancai Liu, Shugeng Cao
Huang Qi (黄芪 Astragalus membranaceus) is a well-known and widely used herb in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) tonic preparations. It has been used for many ailments over the last 2000 years. Flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides have been shown to be the main compounds responsible for the biological and pharmacological activities, especially the immunomodulatory properties, of such tonic preparations. This review summarizes the published data on Astragalus extracts and fractions and the natural compounds responsible for the immunomodulatory activity with special reference to the modulation of nuclear factor-kappa B and related pathways (e.g., Nrf2). In addition, this review highlights the importance of Astragalus membranaceus in TCM for treating patients with diseases related to immunocompromised conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.
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Rare and precious chinese materia medica: Pseudobulbus cremastrae seu pleiones p. 211
Hisayoshi Norimoto, Chiaki Murayama, Feng Zhao, Hong- Yan Wei
Shan Ci Gu (山慈菇 Pseudobulbus Cremastrae seu Pleiones), a rare and precious traditional Chinese medicine, has attracted attention for the treatment of various cancers and bacterial infections. According to the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China, Pseudobulbus Cremastrae seu Pleionesis sourced from the pseudobulbs of three plants in the Orchidaceae family: Cremastra appendiculata (D. Don) Makino, Pleione bulbocodioides (Franch.) Rolfe, and Pleione yunnanensis Rolfe. Extracts from Pseudobulbus Cremastrae seu Pleiones are used for the treatment of tumors, burns, and frostbite. The aims of this review are to provide information on the historical and herbological origins of Pseudobulbus Cremastrae seu Pleiones, to summarize research conducted on its phytochemical and biological activities over the last twenty years, and to detail planting efforts.
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Cultivated cordyceps: A tale of two treasured mushrooms p. 221
Anawinla Ta Anyu, Wen- Hui Zhang, Qi- He Xu
Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris both contain many bioactive compounds that confer potential therapeutic benefits. This review discusses the possible use of cultivated C. militaris as an effective substitute for native O. sinensis in the face of ever-increasing prices of O. sinensis because of its short supply. On the one hand, cultivated C. militaris contains higher levels of cordycepin when compared with that of wild-type O. sinensis and cultivation of C. militaris has been shown to be capable of reducing the risk of heavy metal contamination. On the other hand, there is a paucity of robust in vivo studies and randomized controlled tests comparing the pharmacology and use of C. militaris and O. sinensis. For extraction of cordycepin as western-style tablets, the use of cultivated C. militaris rather than O. sinensis represents the most appropriate future approach. For many other purposes, comparative pharmacology and clinical trials are in urgent needs.
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The history of saffron in China: From its origin to applications Highly accessed article p. 228
Rong- Chen Dai, Wan Najbah Nik Nabil, Hong- Xi Xu
Saffron (Stigma Croci) is an autumn-flowering perennial plant, and its use has a history of over 3500 years. Saffron has often been considered as the costliest medicinal plant, a premium spice, and the best dye with a golden yellowish color. Iran currently produces the finest quality saffron and dominates its global production (>90%). Other countries such as Australia, Canada, the USA, China, and some countries in Central Africa, produce saffron at a lower yield. In China, saffron is celebrated as “red gold” owing to the red stigmas of the flower and its price, which is comparable to the price of gold. Saffron has been one of the most attractive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs in the Zhong Guo Yao Dian (《中国药典》Chinese Pharmacopoeia) since its inclusion in the 2005 edition. The earliest use of saffron in TCM was recorded in the Ben Cao Shi Yi (《本草拾遗》Supplement to Materia Medica) written during the Tang dynasty (741 A.D.). However, saffron grown in inland China has been widely mistaken as originating from Tibet. This is because its Chinese name begins with “Xi” or “Zang,” which sounds similar to its Tibetan name (“Xi Zang”). In this review, we clarify the origin of saffron and its introduction to China and summarize its various applications.
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Dendrobium nobile lindl: A review on its chemical constituents and pharmacological effects p. 235
Juan Zhang, Hong- Xi Xu, Zhi- Li Zhao, Yan- Fang Xian, Zhi- Xiu Lin
Dendrobium nobile Lindl (D. nobile), a well-known precious herb, has a long history of use as a medicine and health food in China. Phytochemically, D. nobile has been found to contain various bioactive compounds, such as alkaloids, bibenzyl, phenanthrene, phenylpropanoids, and polysaccharides. Its medicinal applications are closely correlated to its diverse pharmacological activities, including antitumor, anti-inflammatory, nervous system protective, antifatigue, hypoglycemic, and hypolipidemic actions. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of the main chemical constituents and pharmacological activities of D. nobile, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms for its bioactivities. It is expected that this review will provide a helpful scientific reference for the development and use of D. nobile.
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Clinical research on cinnamomi cortex: A scoping review p. 243
Hsiewe Ying Tan, Wan Najbah Nik Nabil, Hong-Xi Xu
There are over 250 species of cinnamon. Each has its distinct morphology and phytochemical composition, which may result in varied therapeutic effects. However, clinical studies have rarely put emphasis on the species of cinnamon being investigated. This scoping review summarized the clinical evidence of Cinnamomum cassia (also known as Cinnamomum aromaticum), which is the species of cinnamon used in traditional Chinese medicine. Electronic searches were conducted on PubMed from its inception till August 2021. Clinical studies that were published in English, stating monotherapy with Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticum, or “Rou Gui” were included. The 15 included clinical studies investigated the effects of Cinnamomum cassia on type-2 diabetes patients (n=7), and healthy adults (n=8). In the type 2 diabetes population, Cinnamomum cassia supplementation of as low as 1 g/d seemed to improve HbA1c in only poorly controlled diabetes. In the healthy population, Cinnamomum cassia supplementation appeared to influence blood glucose response in a dose-dependent manner, with current studies indicating a minimum of 5 g/d to achieve significant improvement. Studies also showed potential improvement in insulin sensitivity with prolonged Cinnamomum cassia supplementation. However, there were apparent heterogeneity among studies and uncertainties regarding the accuracy of reported cinnamon species. Therefore, the therapeutic effects of Cinnamomum cassia remain inconclusive. Future larger scale and more rigorous clinical studies, with clear identification of Cinnamomum species used, are needed for more conclusive evidence of the clinical effects of Cinnamomum cassia.
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Botany, Traditional Uses, and Pharmacology of Polygonati Rhizoma p. 251
Xiao- Jing Chen, Ju- Feng Duan, Kai- Qi Liu, Ying- Ying Guo, Dong- Peng Wang, Ming Liu, Dan Zhao, Bei Li, Hong- Liang Li, Xuan- Bin Wang
Huang Jing (黄精 Polygonati Rhizoma, PR) was first documented as a herbal medicine in Ming Yi Bie Lu (《名医别录》 Miscellaneous Records of Famous Physicians) in China. However, there was no comprehensive review on the botany, traditional uses, and pharmacological effects of PR till now. In this study, the botany, traditional uses including Taoist medicine, and pharmacological effects of PR were reviewed and summarized to provide insights on drug development of PR. In Taoist medicine, PR maintains agerasia and helps prolong human life-span, and is used for fasting (Bigu). In the Zhong Guo Yao Dian (《中国药典》Chinese Pharmacopeia) version 2020, PR exerts replenishing qi and nourishing yin, invigorating the spleen, moistening the lung, and strengthening the kidney. Pharmacological studies show that PR has effects of anti-oxidation, anti-diabetes, anti-osteoporosis, anti-cancer, anti-hyperlipidemia, cardiomyocyte protection, immunomodulatory, and thus can be used for treatment of infertility, anti-microorganisms, and improving sleep and memory. In conclusion, PR may play a potential role for chronic disease management and health preservation and this very role deserves a more in-depth research.
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Medicinal uses of agarwood p. 260
Lertnimitphun Peeraphong
Agarwood from Aquilaria plants, also known as Chen Xiang (沉香), is traditionally used for the treatment of abdominal pain and as a sedative. Because of the great demand and the rareness of agarwood, extensive harvesting of Aquilaria plants has nearly led to the extinction of the species. To fully utilize this resource, the use of different parts of Aquilaria needs to be investigated. This article will focus on the pharmacological properties and the mechanism of action of different parts of Aquilaria plants.
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