Research and application of Radix Glycyrrhizae

Abstract and Figures

Radix Glycyrrhizae is the rhizome of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., Glycyrrhiza inflata Bat. or Glycyrrhiza glabra L. They are widely distributed in the northeast and northwest of China. The pharmacological activities of licorice are mainly represented by the main triterpene saponins, glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhizic acid, 18-β-glycyrrhetic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid and its aglycone, glycyrrhetinic acid. Licorice root possesses wide broad pharmacological actions. According to literature reports, its pharmacological activities include the following aspects: effects on central nerve system; cardiovascular system and endronic system; liver, renal and pancreas functions, anti-ulcer action, anticancer action, anti-allergic and anti-iflammatory effects, anti-virus and antibacteria activities, and effect on immune function and so on. Pharmacokinetics of the active principles of Radix Glycyrhizae was studied in rats. After intravenos injection at doses of 20, 50 and 100 -1 of glycyrrhizin, as shown in Table 1, the half-life was 1.78, 3.72 and 4.68 h, respectively. The result indicated non-linear kinetic nature. The pharmacokinetics of 18-α-and 18-β-glycyrrhetic acid was studied in rabbits following intravenous injection at dose 20 -1 . The half-life was 1.22 and 2.85 h, respectively. It is used as a tonic, antiphlogistic, mucolytic, expectorant, anagesic for the treatment of gastroinstinal and respiratory diseases, and also used to alleviate the toxicity of some drugs.
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Asian Journal of Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics Paper ID 1608-2281-2007-07030181-20
Copyright by Hong Kong Medical Publisher Received April 10, 2007
ISSN 1608-2281 2007; 7(3): 181-200 Accepted July 2, 2007
Research and application of Radix Glycyrrhizae
Xiu-Ping Shen1Pei-Gen Xiao2 , Chang-Xiao Liu1*
1 Tianjin Research Center for New Drug Evaluation, Tianjin State Key Laboratory of Pharmacodynamics
and Pharmacokinetics, Tianjin Institute of Pharmaceutical Research, Tianjin, 300193, China
2 Institute of Medicinal Plant, Chinese Academia of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
Abstract Radix Glycyrrhizae is the rhizome of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., Glycyrrhiza inflata Bat. or Glycyrrhiza
glabra L. They are widely distributed in the northeast and northwest of China. The pharmacological activities
of licorice are mainly represented by the main triterpene saponins, glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhizic acid,
18-β-glycyrrhetic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid and its aglycone, glycyrrhetinic acid. Licorice root possesses wide
broad pharmacological actions. According to literature reports, its pharmacological activities include the
following aspects: effects on central nerve system; cardiovascular system and endronic system; liver, renal and
pancreas functions, anti-ulcer action, anticancer action, anti-allergic and anti-iflammatory effects, anti-virus
and antibacteria activities, and effect on immune function and so on. Pharmacokinetics of the active principles
of Radix Glycyrhizae was studied in rats. After intravenos injection at doses of 20, 50 and 100 of
glycyrrhizin, as shown in Table 1, the half-life was 1.78, 3.72 and 4.68 h, respectively. The result indicated
non-linear kinetic nature. The pharmacokinetics of 18-α- and 18-β-glycyrrhetic acid was studied in rabbits
following intravenous injection at dose 20 The half-life was 1.22 and 2.85 h, respectively. It is used
as a tonic, antiphlogistic, mucolytic, expectorant, anagesic for the treatment of gastroinstinal and respiratory
diseases, and also used to alleviate the toxicity of some drugs.
Key Words Radix Glycyrrhizae; Glycyrrhiza uralensis; Ethnopharmacology; Chemistry; Pharmacological actions;
Clinical application
Chinese materia medica is an important part of
traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese civilization.
In the history, Chinese traditional medicine arose
from mythical medicine to a system of Chinese drugs
and herbal medicine. The first book on materia
medica "Shen-nong Bencao Jing" known as "the
canon of materia medica" was compased in the
second century BC by the folk under the pseudonym
of Shennong, the Holy Farmer. Chinese medicinal
plants are today playing an outstanding role within
the framework of official health services. China is
endowed with an abundant resource of medicinal
plants, more than five thousand plants have been
identified as medicinal plants. The 2005 edition of
The Chinese Pharmacopoeia recorded about 700
items of Chinese drugs originating from medicinal
In Chinese traditional medicine, licorice is one
of herbs that tonify vital energy ("Qi") is used for
deficient "Qi" syndrome. It is employed the most
frequently as a component of various prescriptions of
Chinese medicine. Licorice root is not only used in
Chinese traditional medicine and pharmaceutics, but
also used in cosmetic, food, ink and cigarette
industries. In 2001, we collected some information
and published a review paper about basic research
and application, and introduce to the
ethnopharmacology, chemistry, pharmacological
actions and clinical application of licorice root[1].
Based on above review, we finished this review
Plant Origin
Radix Glycyrrhizae is the rhizome of
Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., Glycyrrhiza inflata
Bat. or Glycyrrhiza glabra L. They are widely
distributed in the northeast and northwest of China.
The original plants of licorice are also distributed in
the dry regions on the northern hemisphere from
Spain in the West to Mongolia in the East. Russian
licorice is originating from Glycyrrhiza glabra var.
glandulifuera, Siberia licorice and Mongonia licorice
mainly from Glycyrrhiza ulalensis Fisch.. Iranian
licorice from Glycyrrhiza glabra var. b-violacea,
Iraqui licorice and Spaish licorice from Glycyrrhiza
glabra var. typica.
Ethnopharmacological actions
Licorice root (Radix Glycyrrhizae), is
well-known herb in the East and West, and has been
used since ancient times as a useful drug in
traditional and folk medicine. It constsis of the dried
rhizome of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., Glycyrrhiza
inflata Bat. or Glycyrrhiza glabra L (Leguminosae).
Radix Glycyrrhizae was earliestly recorded in
Shengnong Materia Medica (Shennong Bencao Jing).
Fig 1. Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.
Fig 2. Glycyrrhiza glabra
Fig 3. Radix Glycyrrhizae
It is a sweet and mild drug. It enters the heart,
lung, spleen and stomach meridians. The functions
are to tonify the spleen and replenish vital energy, to
moderate the lungs and stop coughs, to relax spasms
and stop pain, to moderate the action of herbs and to
reduce fire and release toxins. It is used to invigorate
the functions of the heart and spleen for the treatment
of sympotoms due to deficiency of vital energy of
these viscera; as a spasmolytic and antitussive for
peptic ulcers and cough; as an anti-phlogistic for sore
throat, boils and carbuncles; and as an antitoxicant to
drug poisoning.[2,3]
Chemical Constituents
The pharmacological activities of licorice are
mainly, if not all, represented by the main triterpene
saponins, glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhizic acid,
18-β-glycyrrhetic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid and its
aglycone, glycyrrhetinic acid in the root of
Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Addition to glycyrrhizic acid
and glycyrrhetic acid, other main chemical
constituents are galbrolide, 18-α-
hydroxy-glycyrrhetic acid, 23-hydroxy- glycyrrhetic
acid, 24-hydroxyglabrolide, uralsaponin A and B,
liquiritigenin, isoliquiritigenin, isoliquiritin
neoliquitin, neoliquiritin, licoricidin, licoricone,
formononetin, licuraside, uralenolide,
licroricesaponin A3, B2, C2, D3, E2, F3, G2, H2,
J2,and K2, 5-O-methyllicoricidin, liquiritigenin-4’-
apyrosyl(1-2)glucoside, liquiritigenin- 7,4’-digluco-
side, uralwnol, neouralenol, uralenin,
uralenol-3-methylether, uralene, uralenneoside,
glycycoumarin, glycyrol, isoglycyrol, neoglycyrol,
5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-4-methylquinoline, 5,6,7,8-tetra-
hydro-2,4-dimethylquinoline.Besides the tripene
compounds, a number of flavone, isoflavone,
chalcone and related compunds were isolated from
licorice plant. About 30 non-glycosidic flavonoid
compounds have been isolated from licorice. These
compounds involve flavones, flavanones chalcones,
isoflavones, isoflavanones, isoflavn, isoflavene,
pterocarpan, coumestan and 3-arylcoumarin.
RP-HPLC method was developed to analyze
the chromatographic profiles of natural components
in all combinations. Areas (corrected by weighting
amounts) of chromatographic peaks were collected as
chemical data. The pharmacological and chemical
data were correlated by chemical statistical methods,
and then the therapeutic material basis (thirteen
chemical constituents with sedative and hypnotic
effects among forty-eight chromatographic peaks) of
Suanzaoren decoction were elucidated. Spinosin from
Semen Ziziphi Spinosae, ferulic acid from Rhizoma
Chuanxiong, mangiferin from Rhizoma Anemarrhenae
and glycyrrhizic acid from Radix Glycyrrhizae were
selected as quality control indices. This paper
provided a new methodology for elucidating the
therapeutic material basis and quality control indices
for TCM. It is instructive for modernization of
Chinese herbs and its compound preparations.[4]
A simple capillary-zone electrophoresis (CZE)
method for the analysis of plant specimens,
Glycyrrhiza glabra L., G. uralensis Fisch. and G.
inflata Bat. (Leguminosae) as well as commercial
licorices from Europe and China was developed.
Contents of glycyrrhizin (GL), glycyrrhetic acid
(GA), glabridin (GLAB), liquiritin (LQ) and
licochalcone A (LCA) in ethanolic extracts were
investigated. Optimum separation was achieved with
sodium tetraborate buffer (pH 9.22; 70 mM); voltage,
25 kV. Recovery rate for GL was found to be
101.90±2.54%. Adequate correlation was observed
between GL contents measured by CZE and HPLC
(r=0.977). Advantages over conventional HPLC
analysis of Glycyrrhiza species are short analysis
time (<15 min), simple running buffer preparation
and the none-use of organic solvents. Using the
present CZE method, it was demonstrated that (1) G.
glabra was distinguished from G. uralensis especially
by phenolic compounds GLAB (G. glabra:
0.19±0.11%; n=53) and LQ (G. uralensis,
1.34±0.34%, n=10); (2) on average, GL contents
were higher in Chinese commercial licorices; (3)
relatively high LCA contents were especially detected
in a Chinese commercial licorice (origin estimated as
G. inflata); (4) Glycyrrhiza species were also
distinguished by applying PCA on the basis of CZE
peak area data of GL, GLAB, GA, LQ and LCA; and
(5) liquiritin apioside was found in all samples.[5]
The HPLC fingerprint including glycyrrhizin
(GL) of the cultivated roots was similar to that of
medicinal Glycyrrhiza, but different from that of
non-medicinal Xinjiang-Gancao (Shinkyo Kanzo in
Japanese). Similarity between the cultivated roots and
two medicinal Glycyrrhiza cultivated in eastern
Nei-Meng-Gu was confirmed quantitatively by
hierarchical cluster analysis on the basis of
HPLC-7-peak-area data. Moreover, the 4-year-old
adventitious roots conformed to the five standards
described in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia XIV (JP
XIV). The 4-year-old adventitious roots had similar
pharmaceutical properties to those of medicinal
Dongbei Glycyrrhiza (Tohoku Kanzo in Japanese) as
determined by examining IgE-mediated triphasic skin
reaction in mice and pharmacokinetic profile of
glycyrrhetic acid, an anti-allergic metabolite of GL.
The present pharmaceutical study suggests that the
4-year-old adventitious roots of G. uralensis
cultivated in eastern Nei-Meng-Gu of China are
comparable to medicinal Glycyrrhiza conforming to
the JP XIV, and may be a potential medicinal source
to compensate for the insufficiency of wild
Glycyrrhiza plants caused by collection restriction in
Pharmacological Activities
Licorice root possesses wide broad
pharmacological actions. According to literature
reports, its pharmacological activities include the
following aspects: effects on central nerve system;
cardiovascular system and endronic system; liver,
renal and pancreas functions, anti-ulcer action,
anticancer action, anti-allergic and anti-iflammatory
effects, anti-virus and antibacteria activities, and
effect on immune function and so on.
Effect on central nerve system
In neuropharmacological screening test found
that a licorice mixture including three Chinese herbs
lengthened the hexobarbital sleeping time, showed a
marked prolonation of time to death in
pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsoions, and
locomotor activity was inhibited by the mixture. The
results suggested that licorice had a sedative effect on
the nervous system[7,8]. This herb had anxiolytic and
psychomotor effect, It found that the drug decreased
the accompanying sympathetic systems and improved
psychomotor performance[9].
Glycyrrhetinic acid and derivatives of
glycyrrhetinic acid were examined the antinoceptive
activity on writhing and vascular permeability
induced by acetic acid and antitype-IV allergic
effects in mice[1-,11]. A mixture including licorice root
showed marked effects on insomnia, infantile
convulsions and emotional irritability. It showed an
inhibition of sodium, calcium and potassium currents
in snail neurons. It also showed an inhibitory effect
on pentyenetetrazole-induced bursting activity and
local anesthetic action on form nerve fibers. These
results suggest that the drug produces inhibition on
hyperexcitability or the neuronal membrane and the
main cause of the sedative effect[8]. In writhing test
induced by 0.7% of acetate acid in mice,
glycyrrhitinic acid exhibited the antionciceptive
activity[12]. FM-100, an extract of licorice roots, had
been shown to have significant analgesic and
anticonvulsant actions.[13]
Glycyrrhizic acid increased Na+, K+-ATPase
and Mg++-ATPase and LDH activities, and the
outcome of CNS function in dog reperfusion in
canine cerebral tissue.[14]
Ginseng Radix, Atractylodis Macrocephalae
Rhizoma, Poria, Glycyrrhizae Radix, Angelicae
Gigantis Radix, Ligusticum Rhizoma, Rehmanniae
Radix, Paeoniae Radix, Acori Graminei Rhizoma,
and Polygalae Radix have been widely used as herbal
medicine against ischemia. In order to test the
neuroprotective effect of a novel prescription, Yun et
al study examined the effects of
Palmul-Chongmyeong-Tang (PMCMT) consisting of
these 10 herbs on learning and memory in the Morris
water maze task and the central cholinergic system of
rats with cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal and
cognitive impairments. After middle cerebral artery
occlusion (MCAO) for 2 h, rats were administered
with saline or PMCMT (200, p.o.) daily for 2
weeks, followed by their training to the tasks. In the
water maze test, the animals were trained to find a
platform in a fixed position during 6 d and then
received a 60 s probe trial on the 7th day following
removal of the platform from the pool. Rats with
ischemic insults showed impaired learning and
memory of the tasks and treatment with PMCMT
produced a significant improvement in escape latency
to find the platform in the Morris water maze.
Consistent with behavioral data, treatment with
PMCMT also reduced the loss of cholinergic
immunoreactivity in the hippocampus induced by
cerebral ischemia. These results demonstrated that
PMCMT has a protective effect against
ischemia-induced neuronal and cognitive
impairments. The present study suggested that
PMCMT might be useful in the treatment of vascular
Misellaneous actions
Subcutaneous injection of glycyrrhitinic cholate
at the dose of 1 suppressed 80% of the
incidence of cough elicited by ammonia water
aspiration in guines pigs. significant hypolipidemic
activity was obtained in experimental hypertipidemic
rabbits after im injection of glycyrrhizic acid at the
doese of 10 once daly for 5 days.
Glycyrrhitic acid and its derivative 3-oxy-18-
glycyrrhetinic aicd (18-GT) 80, once daily,
inhibited the growth tansplanted oberling-guerin
myeloma in rats [13].
Anticarcinogen and antituomr actions
Glycyrrhetinic acid on the metabolic cooperation
between 6-thioguanine-resistant (6TGR) and
6-thioguanine-sistigated (6TGS) Chinese hamster
V79 H3 cells was studied. Because Glycyrrhetinic
acid has been to inhibit tumor formation in mouse
skin induced by carcinogens in the presence of tumor
promoters, it was expected that glycyrrhetinic acid
might rector the metabolic cooperation inhibited by
tumor promoters[16]. Glycyrrhetinic acid inhibited
tumor promoting stage in two-stage carcinogenesis.
Some related compounds were found to be more
potent activity than glycyrrhtinic acid in inhibiting
tumor promoter-induced phenominon in vitro[17].
Glycyrrhizin inhibited 12-O-tetradecanony-phorbol-
13-acetate (TPA) -induced inflammation and
markedly suppressed the promoting effect of TPA on
skin tumor formation in mice initiated with
7,12-dimethylben anthracene[18]. When BALB/c mice
immunized with EL-4 tumor cells were treated with a
20 i. p. dose of glycyrrhizin 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9
days after immunization, no suppressor cell activity
was detected in their spleens. In irraadited these mice
injected with normal mice splenic mononuclear cells
the growth of inoculated solid tumors increased
significantly[19]. 18-GT also has anti-leukemic
activity in mice. This is probably due to an
adrenocoticominetic action. glycyrrhizic acid and
liquiritin were able to elecit morphological changes
on tumor cells in ascetic carcinoma of the rat liver
and Ehrtich ascites carcinoma in mice. Glycyrrhizic
acid was also found to inhibit the subcutaneously
transplanted Jitan sarcoma, prevent the development
of polyoxybenzidine-induced liver carcinoma in mice
as well as the liver carcinoma induced by 0.05%
Sodium glycyrrhetinate showed antitumor
activity in animal transplanted tumors. The inhibition
rate of this compound at dose of 10 per day
for 10 days were 47-53% for S180 and 40-45% for
hepatoma in mice. Whereas, EAC was less sensitive.
The inhibition rate of mitotic indices of hepatoma
cells were moderately increased after ip
administration of this compound with 37% for 1 h
and 43% after 24 h. The mitochondrince of hepatoma
cells showed swelling, dissolution and disapperance
of cristae, vacuolations were found inside the
cytoplasm of tumor cells. The mitrovilli of cell
membrane were diminished. The antitumor
mechanism of this compound seemed to be in close
relation to these morphlogical findings.[20]
The popularity of traditional herbal medicine
(THM) being used as complementary medicines or
alternative medicines is increasing. On the other hand,
the development of multidrug resistance (MDR)
remains a major hurdle to successful cancer
chemotherapy. Some THMs capable of reversing
MDR may contribute to the improvement of clinical
outcomes in cancer chemotherapy. Herein, 19 kinds
of herb were chosen from the ingredients of major
THMs, and their effects on the sensitivity to
anticancer drugs of tumor cells were investigated
using the human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells.
Focusing on the major mechanism for MDR, i.e.,
MDR1/P-glycoprotein, the effects of herbal extracts
on its transport function were also examined using a
MDR1 substrate Rhodamine123. Glycyrrhizae Radix,
Rhei Rhizoma, Scutellariae Radix, Poria, Zizyphi
Fructus, Zingiberis Rhizoma (dry), Coptidis Rhizoma,
Ephedrae Herba and Asiasari Radix significantly
enhanced the sensitivity to a MDR1 substrate
paclitaxel, whereas none of the herbal extracts used
had any effect on the sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil,
which is not a substrate for MDR1. Rhodamine123
uptake was significantly increased by Rhei Rhizoma,
Poria or Ephedrae Herba among nine herbal extracts
sensitized to paclitaxel. This suggests that the
increase in paclitaxel sensitivity by Glycyrrhizae
Radix, Rhei Rhizoma, Poria or Ephedrae Herba was
caused, in part, by the inhibition of MDR1 function,
and the change in paclitaxel sensitivity by the other
herbal extracts was not always dependent on this.
Collectively, these findings indicate that the
combination of anticancer drugs with some herbal
extracts contributes to the enhancement of clinical
outcomes in cancer chemotherapy.[21]
Niwa et al have previously reported on the
inhibitory effect of Glycyrrhizae radix (Gl radix) on
mouse endometrial carcinogenesis. Their present
study was performed to clarify the effects of Gl radix
and glycyrrhizin (GL), the main part of Gl radix, on
estradiol (E2)-related endometrial carcinogenesis.
Both Gl radix and GL exerted a significant decrease
in the COX-2, IL-1 α and TNF-α mRNA expressions.
GL generated a significant decrease in the incidence
of endometrial adenocarcinoma. Accordingly, the
preventive effects of Gl radix may be attributable to
GL, thus being related with the suppression of
COX-2, IL-1α and TNF-α. Gl radix and GL could
therefore be a promising formula for the
chemoprevention of human endometrial cancer.[22]
Kim et al study showed that liquiritigenin (LQ),
an aglycone of liquiritin in G. radix, exerts
cytoprotective effects against heavy metal-induced
toxicity in vitro. This study investigated in vivo
protective effects of LQ against acute liver injuries
induced by acetaminophen (APAP) or APAP plus
buthionine sulfoximine (BSO). Liver injuries were
assessed by blood biochemistry and histopathology in
rats administered with LQ purified from the acid
hydrolyates of liquiritin singly (p.o. or i.v., 2-4 days)
or in combination with
dioxybiphenyl-2,2'-dicarboxylate (DDB), a synthetic
derivative of Schisandrin C in Fructus shizandrae,
and exposed to APAP or APAP and BSO. LQ
treatments (oral) effectively decreased liver injuries
induced by a single dose of APAP, as evidenced by
decreases in hepatic necrosis and inflammation as
well as plasma alanine aminotransferase and lactate
dehydrogenase activities. LQ, when intravenously
applied, enhanced hepatoprotective effect with a
greater potency. APAP and BSO led to severe liver
injuries, resulting in lethality. LQ pretreatments
significantly reduced the potentiated liver necrosis,
decreasing mortality. In spite of the improvement in
blood biochemistry, DDB failed to protect the liver
from injuries induced by APAP or APAP + BSO.
Combined treatments of rats with LQ and DDB
showed some additive protective effect. The present
study demonstrates that LQ efficaciously protects the
liver from acute injuries induced by APAP or from
APAP-induced severe injuries during GSH
deficiency, indicating that LQ is one of the principal
cytoprotective components comprised in G. radix.[23]
The effects of herbal medicines that constitute
Gam-du-tang and Gung-gui-tang on cytokine-induced
cytotoxicity and thyroid major histocompatibility
complex (MHC) class II antigen expression in FRTL
rat thyrocytes were investigated. No effect on cell
growth was found with interferon IFN-γ. However,
tumor necrosis factor TNF-α was cytotoxic, and this
was increased by preincubation with IFN-gamma.
Ethanol extract of Glycyrrhizae Radix, black beans,
Angelicae Radix, and Cnidii Rhizoma (0.3-15 mg/ml)
in both regimens significantly inhibited IFN-γ and
TNF-α-mediated cytotoxicity of rat thyroid cells
(p<0.05, p<0.01). In addition, IFN-γ (1-100
treatment induced class II antigen expression in up to
60% of FRTL cells, as detected by a murine
monoclonal antibody to rat MHC class II antigen
(FITC-OX6). Aberrant thyroid cell MHC class II
antigen expression induced by IFN-γ is suppressed by
the extract of herbal medicines. These results indicate
that herbal medicines inhibit cytokine-induced
thyroid cell destruction, therefore, may have
therapeutic potential in the treatment of autoimmune
thyroid disease.[24]
Glycyrrhizae radix has been popularly used as
one of the oldest and most frequently employed
botanicals in herbal medicine in Asian countries, and
currently occupies an important place in food
products. Cadmium (Cd) induces both apoptotic and
non-apoptotic cell death, in which alterations in
cellular sulfhydryls participate. In the present study,
we determined the effects of G. radix extract (GRE)
and its representative active components on cell death
induced by Cd and explored the mechanistic basis of
cytoprotective effects of G. radix. Incubation of
H4IIE cells with GRE inhibited cell death induced by
10 microM Cd. Also, GRE effectively blocked Cd (1
microM)-induced cell death potentiated by
buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) without restoration of
cellular GSH. GRE prevented both apoptotic and
non-apoptotic cell injury induced by Cd (10 µMol) or
Cd (0.3-1µMol) + BSO. Inhibition of Cd-induced cell
injury by pretreatment of cells with GRE suggested
that the cytoprotective effect result from alterations in
the levels of the protein(s) responsible for cell
viability. GRE inhibited mitochondrial Bad
translocation by Cd or CD+BSO, and caused
restoration of mitochondrial Bcl(xL) and cytochrome
c levels. Cd-induced poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase
cleavage in control cells or in cells deprived of
sulfhydryls was prevented by GRE treatment. Among
the major components present in GRE, liquiritigenin,
but not liquiritin, isoliquiritigenin or glycyrrhizin,
exerted cytoprotective effect. These results
demonstrated that GRE blocked Cd-induced cell
death by inhibiting the apoptotic processes involving
translocation of Bad into mitochondria, decreases in
mitochondrial Bcl(xL) and cytochrome c, and
poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase cleavage.[25]
To develop safe and effective anti-RSV new
medicine from Radix Glycyrrhizae. The anti-RSV
effect of Radix Glycyrrhizae in Hela cell culture was
observed by means of the inhibition of cytopathic
effect. In Hela cell culture, Radix Glycyrrhizae was
found to be a inhibitor of RSV in a
concentration-dependent manner. The median toxic
concentration (TC50) of Radix Glycyrrhizae was 3.43
g/L, the median effective concentration (EC50) of
Radix glycyrrhizae against replication of the Long
strain of RSV in Hela cells were 0.2535 g/L, the
selectivity index (TI = TC50/EC50) is 13.53. In time
of addition experiment, Radix Glycyrrhizae inhibited
the effect of RSV in Hela cells when it was added at
0 h, 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, 8 h after virus infection. In Hela cell
culture, Radix Glycyrrhizae was found to be a
inhibitor of RSV, there are many ways in the
Anti-inflammatory effect
Inflammation was induced by subcutanous
injection of carrageenan into the palm of the hind
paw of rats. The extract of radix Glycyrrhezae
equivalent to 100, 200 or 500 of glycyrrhizin,
or the same doses of glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic
acid were used to treat the ucler. It was found that
carraheen induced edema was not affeted by 100, attenuated by 200, and potentated by
500 of these the tested drug.[27] Glycyrrhhizin
inhibited to some extent prostaglandin E2
biosynthesis by the activated rat peritoneal
macrophage, whereas in the cell-free experiment
glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid showed little
effect on the inhibition of cyclooxygenase.
Deoxoglycyrrhetol and its devatives have been
demonstrated to inhibit significantly the activities of
lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase.[28]
The anti-inflammatory action of the resembles
that butazone or hydrocortisone. The
anti-inflammatory principles were found to be
glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhitic acid. Cotton
pledgel-induced granulema, formaldehyde-induced
rat paw swelling and subcutaneous granulomalcus
inflammation in albino rats were inhibited by
glycyrrhitic acid, its anti-inflammatory potency was
about one-tenth that of cortixsone or hydrocortisone.
In agari-induced paw swelling of albino rats, if the
effeicacy of hydrocortisone was rated as one then,
that of glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhitic acid would
be 0.14 and 0.13, respectively[13]. Glycyrrhizic acid
25 or 50 given by iv injection to mice
inhibited passive cultaneous anaphytazoxis response.
Glycyrrhizic acid antagonized the contractionof
isolated rabbit illum and guinea pig trachea induced
by histamine acetylcholine or slow reacting substance
of anaphytaxis in a concentration dependent
fashion[29]. The anti-inflammatory effects of
glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives on
TPA-induced mouse ear edema were studied.
Glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives examined strongly
inhibited ear edema.[30] The mechanism of the
anti-inflammatory effect was to a certain degree
related to the adrenal cortex, suppression of vascular
permeability and antagonism to inflammation as
well[20]. Sodium glycyrrhinic acid (SGA) inhibited
significantly paw edema of rats with ajuvant arthritis
(AA), reduced proliferation of synovial cells and
pannus formation, and eleminated the destruction of
articular cartilage in inflammed joints of AA rat.
T-lymphocyte ratio was increased in normal mice and
decreased in rats with ajuvant arthris by SGA. The
result showed that SGA possesses two-way
regulating activity for immune functions.[31]
CML-1 is a purified extract from a mixture of 13
oriental herbs (Achyranthis Radix, Angelicae
Gigantis Radix, Cinnamomi Cortex Spissus,
Eucommiae Cortex, Glycyrrhizae Radix, Hoelen,
Lycii Fructus, Paeoniae Radix, Rehmanniae Radix
Preparata and Atractylodis Rhizoma, Zingiberis
Rhizoma, Zizyphi Semen, Acori Graminei Rhizoma)
that have been widely used for the treatment of
inflammatory diseases in Asia. The previous study
has been shown to have the anti-inflammatory
activity of CML-1 in vivo and the upregulation of
adhesion molecules in response to numerous inducing
factors is associated with inflammation, Mo et al
study examined the effect of CML-1 on the
expression of adhesion molecules induced by
TNF-alpha in cultured human umbilical vein
endothelial cells (HUVECs). Preincubation of
HUVECs for 20h with CML-1 (1-100µ.ml-1)
dose-dependently inhibited TNF-α (10 adhesion of THP-1 monocytic cells,
as well as mRNA and protein expression of
E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1
(VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1
(ICAM-1). CML-1 was also shown to inhibit NK-kB
activation induced by TNF-α. Furthermore, CML-1
inhibited TNF-α-induced IkB kinase activation,
subsequent degradation of IkBα, and nuclear
translocation of NK-kB. Evidence presented in this
report demonstrated that CML-1 inhibited the
adhesive capacity of HUVEC and the
TNF-α-mediated induction of E-selectin, ICAM-1
and VCAM-1 in HUVEC by inhibiting the
IkB/NF-kB signaling pathway at the level of IkB
kinase, which may explain the ability of CML-1 to
suppress inflammation and modulate the immune
response. [32]
CML-1 is a purified extract from a mixture of 13
Oriental herbs (Achyranthis Radix, Angelicae
Gigantis Radix, Cinnamomi Cortex Spissus,
Eucommiae Cortex, Glycyrrhizae Radix, Hoelen,
Lycii Fructus, Paeoniae Radix, Rehmanniae Radix
Preparata and Atractylodis Rhizoma, Zingiberis
Rhizoma, Zizyphi Semen, Acori Graminei Rhizoma)
that have been widely used for the treatment of
inflammatory diseases in Asia. The aim of this study
was to investigate the anti-inflammatory and
analgesic potential of CML-1. The animals used in
this study were administered either vehicle or CML-1
(30, 100, 300 and 600 orally. The vascular
permeability induced by acetic acid was significantly
reduced by CML-1 in all doses. The swelling of the
rat's hind paw induced by carrageenan was
significantly inhibited by CML-1 in doses of 100,
300 and 600 mg·kg-1. In the case of rheumatoid
arthritis induced by complete Freund's adjuvant in
rats, the treatment with CML-1 at a dose level of 300
mg·kg-1 inhibited edema. CML-1 at a dose level of
600 mg·kg-1 inhibited acetic acid-induced writhing
syndrome, however it did not have any
anti-nociceptive action in the Randall-Selitto assay or
the hot plate test. Our findings suggest that CML-1
has a potent anti-inflammatory activity.[33]
Anti-ulcer effect
In cases of acetic acid-induced chronic gastric
ulcer in rats, oral administration of glycyrrhizic acid
afforded a cure rate of 97.7%, glycyrrhizic acid not
only decreased gastric acidity but also promoted
healing of ulcers. glycyrrhrtic aicd given ig at the
dose of 300 mg·kg-1 to rats did not affect adenyl
cyclase activity of the gastric mucous but inhibited
phosphodiesterase activity, thereby, increasing cAMP
level of the mucous of the pylorus and cardisa, and
suppressng gastric acid secretion. The pylorus of rats
was completely inhibited by ip injection of total
flavones of licorice (FM-100) at dose of 100 mg·kg-1,
the total flavone minus glycyrrhizinic acid infected ip
injection at the dose of 100 to rats with
ligated pylorus completely inhibited ulcer formation.
Gastric acid serection induced by ig administration of
actylcholine or im injection of histamine was also
significantly inhibited FM-100 at the concentration of
200µ exerted spasmolytic action on the isolated
intestinal tract of the guinea pig. Inhibition of the
concentration of isolated intestinal tract of the
animals was achieved with FM-100 and
isoquiritigenin at the concentration of 10 µ, by
agents were also found to relieve intestinal spasms
elicited by acetycholine, barium chloride, and
histamine. But, no inhibitory action on the smooth
muscles was detected for glycyrrhizic acid and
glycyrrhetic acid. To obtain a better therapeutic effect
and reduced side effect, glycyrrhizic acid may be
removed from the Kan-Tsao preparations or use the
isolated flavonids clinically.[13]
Glyccyrrhiza root extract showed significant
therapeutic effect against chronic gastric ulcer
induced by acetic acid in rats treated at doses of
200-400 But pure glycyrrhizin showed no
effect on the ulcer.[34, 35]
Glycyrrhizin or glycyrrhetinic acid, which is the
main pharmacological activite principle of licorice, is
a lead compound having therapeutical applicabilities.
The anti-stress ulcerogenic activity of deoxoglycy-
rrhhetol, a reducted compound of glycyrrhetinic acid,
was studied by the experiment of restraint water
immersion using mice and rats. This compound was
administered orally to the animals. It was effective to
inhibit stress-induced ulcer in mice at 200 It
was noted that the molecular modified compounds
brought a remarkable enhancement of therapeutic
The origins of gastric hyperacidity, gastric and
duodenal ulcer appearance includes genetic
predisposition, incorrect diet and unbalanced lifestyle,
e.g. increased stress level, cigarette smoking. Herbal
drugs have been proved to be very effective in
treatment of hyperacidity, gastric and duodenal ulcer.
They can be applied as drugs supplementing or
enhancing the activity of synthetic medicines.
Moreover, herbal drugs have been successfully
applied inprophylactic of hyperacidity, gastric and
duodenal ulcer. Herbal therapeutic preparations are
administered as infusions from individual herbs, from
mixtures of herbs, tinctures, herbal preparations. The
most often used herbs include mucus: Lini semen,
Psylli semen, Foenugraeci semen, Althaeae
radix/folium, Sinapis albae semen; antiphlogistic
volatile-oils: Chamomillae anthodium, Millefolii
herba, moreover Glycyrrhizae radix, Aloe gel.[36]
Anti-allergic action
Glycyrrhizin showed an anti-allergic activity. It
inhibited the passive cultaneous anaphylaxis response
in rats. It inhibited the contraction of rabbit ileum and
guinea pig trached induced by histamine,
acetylcholine or slow-reacting substances of
anaphylaxis[10, 23]. Glycyrrhizin has clinically been
employed as an anti-allergic agent. Thus it can be as
a lead compound, and modified its molecule to study
the anti-allergic actions of the modified compunds on
Type I, II and IV allergy in experimental animals.
The effect of deoxoglycyrrhetol and its devatives
against the type IV allergy in mice was studied in the
passive cutaneous anaphyaxis test. The preventing
effective dose of 25-200[15]
Anti-virus and antibiotica activities
Glycyrrhizin achieved a dose-dependent
inhibition of the replication of human
immunomoduficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in
mot-4 cells within the concentration range of 0.075
to 0.6 mmol. Within this concentration range,
glycyrrhizin also effected a dose-dependent reduction
in the protein kinase D activity of Mot-4 cells.
Glycyrtrhizin sulfate completely inhibited
HIV-induced plaque formation in mot-4 cells at a
concentration of 1, the 50% inhibitory dose
was 0.055 Glycyrrhizin was foud to be an
effectient inhibitor for reverse transcriptase. The
effect of glycyrrhizin sulfate was 4 times stronger
than that of glycyrrhizin in molar terms[37]. When
human embryonic fibroblast (HEF) cells were treated
with glycyrrhizin after inoculation of virus, the
average 50% inhibitory dose for fire varicella-zoster
virus (VZV) stains was 0.71 mMol, and the
selectivity index was 30. Glycyrrhizin was also
effectve against VZV replication when HEF cells
were treated 24 h before the inoculation[38].
The increase of glycyrrhizin (GL) and
beta-glucuronidase paralleled the growth of the
Eubacterium stain in pure culture. The increase in GL
beta-glucuronidase activity in the presence of GL was
observed during the cultivation of human intestinal
flora in a general anaerobic medium. During mixed
cultivation of the Eubacterium stain with
Streptococcus faecalis, which does not increased by
GL, but not by glycyrrhetic acid. It is suggested that
GL stimulates the growth of stain GLH even in the
mixed culture[39]. The effect of the
glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer on the adherence of
Escherichia coli to the bladder urothelium of rats has
been studied. The study was performed by
destroying , the GAG layer and the changes were
observed using the electron microscope. Bacterial
adherence to the badder with a destroyed GAG layer
was much higher than to the normal bladder.
Following the destruction of the GAG layer, the
instillation of sodium pentosanpolysulphate
significantly reduced the adhesion of bacteria.
Prophylactic intramuscular administration of
carben-oxolone increased the speed of regeneration
of the destroyed GAG layer[40]. 18-β-glycyrrhzic acid
had antibiotical activity, The MIC were 1.6× 10-4,
6.3× 10-4, 6.3×10-4, 1.6 ×10-4 and 4 ×10-5 mmol.L-1 to
aurococcus, α-streptococcus, β-streptococcus and
acidici lactici bactericem, respectiviely[41].
By using lambda-lysogen as a model, the
inhibitory effects of anti-severe acute respiratory
syndrome (SARS) traditional Chinese medicines
(TCMs) prescription I on the UV irradiation were
investigated in this present study. It was found that
the prescription I possessed obvious inhibitory effects
on the UV induction of lambda-lysogen, the
inhibitory rate reaching 83.87%. Among five
medicinal herbs prescribed in that formula, Herba
Patriniae, Radix Astragali and Radix Glycyrrhizae
played important roles. When these three herbs were
eliminated from the recipe separately, the inhibitory
effects were prominently decreased. If only one of
these five medicinal herbs was added into the
medium of lambda-lysogen, the inhibitory rates
ranged from 27.0% approximately 45.0%. By
electron spin resonance (ESR) detection, we found
that the prescription I, Herba Patriniae and other main
herbs in that recipe, could quench effectively the free
radicals generated in the process of lambda-lysogenic
cells by UV. These results provide a novel idea for
further studying the pharmacology of TCM and
exploring the mechanism of SARS virus infection.[42]
Effect on cardiovascular system
Carbenoxolone (43, 3 and oleanoc acid
sodium hydrogen succinate (66, 6 were
orally given to rats twice daily for 4 weeks. The
systolic blood pressure was elevated already after the
first week of treatment. The hypertension was
accompanied by bradycardia, which increased with
the time of treatment. In the blood an increase in the
creatinine level, a decrease in the urea level, and a
sight elevation in sodium concentration during the
treatment period remained unchanged. Although the
principlal aldosterone-like effects of carbenoxolone
were attributed to the oxygen presence in position 11
of the glycyrrhetinic acid ring, the absence of an
oxygen at that position on oleanoic acid sodium
hydrogen succnate did not cause the loss of the
adverse circulatory effect.[43]
The hypolipidemic effects of Glycyrrhiza root
and isolated glycyrram, glycyrrhizic acid
monoammonium salt and glycyrrhethinate sodium,
were tested in rats with hyperlipemia induced by ip
tween-80 or hypervitaminosis D2. All agents had
stronger hypolipidemic effects than polysaponin[44].
In rabbits maintained on an atherogenic diet, blood
activity of superoxide dismutase did not change
during early stages of hyperholesterolemia
development, but then increased as a result of an
adaptive process directed at increased free radical
activity, but 3-amino-3-deoxy-glycyrrhetic acid
markedly stimulated it.[45]
Total flavones of licorice at doses of 25-50 was effective against oubain-induced
tachyarrhythmias in genuia pigs and at doses of
50-100 was effective against aconitine- or
chloroform-induced arrhythmias in mice.[46]
Glycyrrhiza decoction 100g.L-1 and glycyrrhinic
acid 2.5 mmol.L-1 can reduce the transmural potential
of recerted mouse in vivo test[47]. SGA 0.1, 0.2 and
0.4 mmol.L-1 reduced the release of lactate
dehydrogenase (LDH) from myocardial cells injured
by deprivation of oxygen and glucose at 6 or 9 h.
The chloropromazine-demaged and xathine-xanthin-
codase injured myocardial cells could be protected by
treating with 1, 0.2 and 0.4 mmol.L-1 at 6 or 9 h.[34]
Glycyrrhiza saponins had significant protective
effect on the reduction of Na+, K+-ATPase activity
induced by oxygen free radicals, the activity
increased by 27.9% at 0.2 mg.L-1 and 46.6% at 0.8
Effect on endocrine system
Glycyrrhizin and paeoniflorin exhibited similar
steroid-binding behaviors in rabbits. They bound
minimally to estrogen and androgen receptors, but
not to the progesterone receptor in uterine cytysol and
exhibited a moderate binding activity to
glucocorticoid receptors in liver cytosol, and
exhibited weak binding activity to both
cortico-steroid-binding globulin and sex-hormone-
binding globulin.[39]
Oral administration of baicalin and licorice
dramatically reduced sorbitol levels in red blood cells
without affecting blood glucose levels. The sorbitol
level was restored to its original levels one week after
discontinuing the treatment. It was deminstrated that
the effectiveness of baicalin and licorice in reducing
sorbitol levels in red blood cells of diabetic rats. The
mechanism is presumably through inhibition of
aldose reductase.[50]
Carbenoxolone significantly decreased the
glucose uptake and the oncorporation of glucose into
triglycerides and CO2 in rats. The effect produced by
insulin on these metabolic pathways was reduced
when adipose tissue was incubated with insulin in the
presence of carbenoxolone.[51] Nasal absorption
of lnsulin in rats was enhanced by addition of sodium
glycyrrhetinate, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate and
carbenoxolone (glycyrrhetinic acid hydrogen
succinate) disodium salt. The latter agent was
effective. It suggested that the latter agent is an useful
promoter which does not irritate the nasal mucosal
membrane or degrade insulin.[52]
Aluminum glycyrrhizinate inhibited PEGα and
PEG2 α formation by mouse lung and kidney in vivo
and in vitro. It suggests that glycyrrhizin has an
inhibitory action on PG-cyclo-oxyenase.[53]
Glycyrrhizin inhibited zymosan-stimulated PEG2
production by rat macophages and decreased cAMP
levels in macrophages stimulated glycyrrhizin may be
mediated through effects on PEG2 formation and
effects on the macrophage response to various factors.
Glycyrrhizin also slightly enhanced phagecytosis, but
had no effect on lymphocyte proliferation.[54]
Oxidative stress plays a key role in the
pathophysiologic process of acute and chronic renal
diseases. Intracellular component such as lipids,
proteins and nucleic acids are easily and rapidly
oxidized by excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS),
and such reactions lead to increased levels of lipid
peroxide. Rhyu et al study examined the antioxidant
effects of Wen-Pi-Tang and its component crude
drugs on 2,2'-azobis(2-amidino- propane)
dihydrochloride (AAPH)- or 2,2'-azobis(2,4-
dimethyl-valeronitrile) (AMVN)-induced ROS
generation and lipid peroxidation of linoleic acid. As
a result, Wen-Pi-Tang significantly decreased AAPH
or AMVN-induced ROS in renal mitochondrial
particles. For the components in Wen-Pi-Tang's
prescription, Rhei Rhizoma and Glycyrrhizae Radix
extracts strongly inhibited peroxide levels, but
Ginseng Radix, Aconiti Tuber and Zingiberis
Rhizoma extracts were comparably low. Rhei
Rhizoma extract showed the strongest inhibitory
activity on oxidative injury, and two of its tannin
compounds, (-)-epicatechin 3-O-gallate and
procyanidin B-2 3,3'-di-O-gallate, inhibited AAPH or
AMVN-induced ROS significantly. The data suggest
that Wen-Pi-Tang and its component crude drugs
effectively prevent biological toxicity on oxidative
stress through potent antioxidant and anti-lipid
peroxidation activities.[55] Glycyrrhizae radix is used
to treat abdominal pain as a component of
Shaoyao-gancao-tang (SGT), a traditional Chinese
medicine formulation. Previously, Sato et al have
reported the isolation of glycycoumarin as a potent
antispasmodic with an IC50 value of 2.93±0.94 mM
for carbamylcholine (CCh)-induced contraction of
mouse jejunum from an aqueous extract of
Glycyrrhizae radix (licorice), and clarified that its
mechanism of action involves inhibition of
phosphodiesterase 3. The purpose of the present
study was to examine an antispasmodic principle of
licorice other than glycycoumarin. Isoliquiritigenin
was isolated from an aqueous extract of licorice as a
potent relaxant, which inhibited the contraction
induced by various types of stimulants, such as CCh,
KCl, and BaCl2 with IC50 values of 4.96±1.97 mMol,
4.03±1.34 mMol and 3.70±0.58 mMol, respectively,
which are close to those of papaverine. However, the
amount of isoliquiritigenin in the aqueous extract of
licorice was very small. When the aqueous licorice
extract was treated with naringinase, the amounts of
glycosides such as isoliquiritin, which were abundant
but had much less potent relaxant activity, were
decreased while isoliquiritigenin was increased. At
the time, the relaxant activity of the treated sample
was increased significantly, shifting the IC50 from
358±104 to 150±38 µ for CCh-induced
contraction. Isoliquiritigenin also showed the most
potent inhibition of mouse rectal contraction induced
by CCh with an IC50 value of 1.70±0.07 mMol. These
results suggest that isoliquiritigenin acts as a potent
relaxant in the lower part of the intestine by
transformation from its glycosides.[56] Paeoniflorin
(PF), an active glycoside of SGT, is metabolized into
the antispasmodic agent paeonimetabolin-I (PM-I) by
intestinal bacteria after oral administration. The
objective of the present study was to investigate
whether the co-administered laxative (sodium
picosulfate) influences the metabolism of PF to PM-I
by intestinal bacteria. We found that the
PF-metabolizing activity of intestinal bacteria in rat
feces was significantly reduced to approximately
34% of initial levels by a single sodium picosulfate
pretreatment and took approximately 6 days to
recover. Repeated administration of SGT after the
sodium picosulfate pretreatment significantly
shortened the recovery period to around 2 days.
Similar results were also observed for plasma PM-I
concentration. Since PM-I has muscle relaxant
activity, the present results suggest that repetitive
administration of SGT after sodium picosulfate
pretreatment might be useful to relieve the pain
associated with colonoscopy.[57]
Effects on liver, renal and pancreas functions
Glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhitic acid were
shown to prevent the development of experimental
cirrhesis. In carbon tetrachloride intoxicated rats, the
elevation of SGPT was impeded significantly by
glycyrrhizic acid but not by glycyrrhitic acid.
Glycyrrhizic acid was found to be able to decrease
the accumulation of triglycerde in the liver.
histopathological investigation revealed that
lessions of the liver of glycyrrhizic acid and
glycyrrhitic acid treated rats were esssevere than
those of carbon tetrachloride controls. Histochemical
observation indicated that the liver glycogen in the
glycyrrhizic acid treated rats was increased
significantly. The number of AFP positive rats of
glycyrrhizic acid treated groups was also higher than
that of the control group. They did not exert any
effect on collagenolytic activity and collagen
resorption[58]. Liver cell damage is induced when
isolated liver cells coated with specific antibody
against the liver cell membrane are cultured with
peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These cell
injuries caused by either ADCC or macrophage
culture supernatants were significantly reduced by
pretreatment of the isolated liver cells with
glycyrrhizin before the addition of the cytotoxic
culture supernatants. These results suggest that
glycyrrhizin may protect liver cells from
immunological injuries[59]. The patients with chronic
liver disease were treated with the immunoprotector,
interferon, glycyrrhizin and adenine arabinoside, the
HBeAg became negiative, natural killer activity
elevated during the treatment.[60]
After oral administration of glycyrrhizic acid to
rats, 11-β-dehydrogenase inhibition, and not intrinsic
mineralocorticoid activity, is the primary mechanism
of licorice induced pseudoaldosteronism. Glycy-
rrhizic acid inhbited renal 11-β-dehydrogenase. The
antimineralo-corticoid effects of dexamethasone in
licorice excess states are not mediated through a
derect effect on 11-betadehydrogenase activity. The
effects of licorice on corticosteroid metabolism in the
kidney are based on its inhibition of 11-β-de-
hydrogenase [61]. Glycyrrhetinic acid inhibited the
activity of the Na-pump enzyme dose-dependently,
but had no effect on that of the Ca-pump enzyme of
kidney. Glycyrrhizin also inhibited the Na-pump
enzyme activity but had lest effect. The effects of
these compunds were due to competitive inhibition
with ATP binding to the enzyme and so were
different from that of ouabain. The direct effect of
glycyrrhetinic acid on the membrane may be
important role in the multiple actions of licorice.[62]
Intraduodenal administration of licorice extract
in 3 doses, 0.5, 1 and 2g, to dogs resulted in
significant increases of both plasma secretion
concentrations and pancreatic bicarbonate secretion
in a dose-related manner. Intragastric administration
of licorice extract at dose of 2 g resulted in significant
increases of both plasma secretion and pancreatic
bicarbonate output. The study indicates that the
endogenous release of secretion is involved in a
mechanism off an increase in exocrine pancreatic
secretion induced by this licorice extract[63].
Yokozawa et al investigated the protective
effects of Glycyrrhizae Radix extract against
peroxynitrite (ONOO-)-induced oxidative stress
under in vivo as well as in vitro conditions. The
extract showed strong ONOO- and nitric oxide (NO)
scavenging effects under in vitro system, in particular
higher activity against ONOO-. Furthermore,
elevations of plasma 3-nitrotyrosine levels, indicative
of in vivo ONOO- generation and NO production,
were shown using a rat in vivo ONOO(-)-generation
model of lipopolysaccharide injection plus ischemia-
reperfusion. The administration of Glycyrrhizae
Radix extract at doses of 30 and 60 mg/kg body
weight/day for 30 days significantly reduced the
concentrations of 3-nitrotyrosine and NO and
decreased inducible NO synthase activity. In addition,
the nitrated tyrosine protein level and
myeloperoxidase activity in the kidney were
significantly lower in rats given Glycyrrhizae Radix
extract than in control rats. However, the
administration of Glycyrrhizae Radix extract did not
result in either significant elevation of glutathione
levels or reduction of lipid peroxidation in renal
mitochondria. Moreover, the in vivo ONOO-
generation system resulted in renal functional
impairment, reflected by increased plasma levels of
urea nitrogen and creatinine, whereas the
administration of Glycyrrhizae Radix extract reduced
these levels significantly, implying that the renal
dysfunction induced by ONOO- was ameliorated.
The present study suggests that Glycyrrhizae Radix
extract could protect the kidneys against ONOO-
through scavenging ONOO- and/or its precursor NO,
inhibiting protein nitration and improving renal
dysfunction caused by ONOO-.[64]
Immunopharmacological activity
Immune effects have been observed in some
compounds of licorice. glycyrrhizin inhibited to some
extent prostaglandin E2 bio-synthesis by the activated
rat peritoneal macrophage, whereas in the cell-free
experiment glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid
showed little effect on the inhibition of
The in vitro immunomodulatory activities of a
number of saponins and glycyrrhizic acids are
described. Addition of these saponin preparations to
mouse spleen cell cultures resulted in significant cell
proliferation. B-cells were inducedto proliferate in
the presence of the saponin. On the other hand,
glycyrrhizic acid stimulated both T- and
B-lymphocytes esually. The selective proliferation of
subtypes of lymphocytes correlated with
restimulation responses by polyclonal mitogens. In
comparison, similar exposure of lymphocytes to
glycyrrhizic acid prodiced markedly increased
responses to PHA, Con A, PWM and LPS.
Imcubation of lymphocytes in the presence of
saponins caused effector cell generation as
determined in a one-way mixed lymphocyte reaction.
In the case of lymphocytes cultured in the presence of
saponins or glycyrrhizic acid, the supernatants
contained active soluble factors. It was demonstrated
by the observation that glycyrrhizic acid has the most
profound immunomodulatory activity in vitro. [65]
Biochemical pharmacological studies
Glycyrrhizic amide is a derivative of
glycyrrhizin. The influence of glycyrrhizic amide on
immunoregulation and PGE2 and cAMP levels of the
spleen of mice was investigated. This compound
significantly increased spleen weight of mice, tissue
mg·g-1 body weight was to be from 4.3 to 5.50;
phagocytotic index of phagocytosis carbon particle
was to be from 1.23 to 4.4; and the number of
leucocytes in peripheral circulation was to be from
5.87 to 10.1. It also ignificantly increased PGE2 and
cAMP levels of spleen in mice. The PGE2 levels of
spleen was from 17.7 to 31.8 tissue, and the
cAMP levels were from 0.56 to 1.12 tissue
of spleen. There were no significant differences of
PGE2 levels in peripheral circulation. This compound
stimulated PGE secretion and increased spleen
lymphocytes, while indomethacin inhibited it. These
studies suggest that glycyrrhizic amide has
immuno-regulatory function, and the change in PGE2
and cAMP levels may be its pharmacological mode
of action.[66]
Aluminum glycyrrhizinate is the amide of
glycyrrhetinic acid which derives from glycyrrhiza.
Using ammonium glycyrrhizinate at oral dose of 100 for 7 days in mice showed inhibiting the
biosyntheses of PGE2 and PGF2, blocking the release
of cAMP whereas stimulate release of cGMP.
Prostaglandins and cyclic nucleotides participate in
many bodily functions. It is suggested their levels
may be of importance as a possible mechanism by
which ammonium glycyrrhinate acts in diseases,
especially as a prospective therapeutic regimen for
the treatment of acquired immune deficiency
Radix Glycyrrhizae (RG) is a medicinal herb
extensively utilized in numerous Chinese medical
formulae for coordinating the actions of various
components in the recipes and strengthening the body
functions. In this report, we demonstrate that the
aqueous extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae is capable of
stimulating the c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38
subgroups of mitogen-activated protein kinases
(MAPKs), and the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) in
Jurkat T-lymphocytes. The activation magnitudes of
MAPKs and NF-κB were dose-dependent (EC50
approximately 1 mg·ml-1) and time-dependent
(maximal around 15-30 minutes). Stimulations of
MAPKs and NF-κB were not associated with changes
in intracellular Ca++ mobilization. Similar activation
profiles of MAPK and NF-κB were obtained from
THP-1 monocytes treated with the extract. In terms
of chemotactic activity, the SDF-induced chemotaxis
of Jurkat cells and THP-1 cells were inhibited by RG
extract at 1-10 mg·ml-1, while a lower RG
concentration (0.1-0.3 mg·ml-1) potentiated the
SDF-induced chemotaxis for the former, but not the
latter cell type. Given the fact that MAPKs and
NF-κB are important signaling intermediates for
lymphocyte activities, our results suggest that Radix
Glycyrrhizae may contain active constituents capable
of modulating immuno-responses through various
intracellular signaling pathways.[68]
The present study investigated whether
Jakyak-Gamcho-Tang (JGT, Shaoyao-Gancao-tang)
and its constituents have the protective effect against
tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP)-induced
cytotoxicity on hippocampal HT22 cell line. JGT
consists of two medicinal herbs, Paeoniae Radix (PR)
and Glycyrrhizae Radix (GR). In contrast to treating
with t-BHP alone, pre-treatment of HT22 cells with
JGT, PR and GR (50-400 µg·ml-1) for 3 hours
significantly increased the cell viability in a
concentration-dependent manner. In addition, JGT,
PR and GR exhibited the scavenging activity in both
1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical and
superoxide anion assays. Among the tested extracts,
PR showed the most potent protective and
antioxidative activities. These results suggest that PR
acts as an antioxidant and this property may
contribute to the neuroprotective activity of JGT
Glycyrrhizae Radix is used to treat abdominal
pain as a component of Shakuyaku-kanzo-to, a
traditional Chinese medicine formulation. We aim at
clarifying the antispasmodic principles of
Glycyrrhizae Radix, and consequently isolated
glycycoumarin as a potent relaxant on the
carbamylcholine (CCh)-induced contraction of mouse
jejunum. In this paper we investigated the effects and
the action mechanism of glycycoumarin on the
contraction of mouse jejunum. Glycycoumarin
inhibited the contraction induced by various types of
stimulants, such as CCh, KCl, BaCl2, and A23187
(calcium ionophore III) with IC50 values of 2.93±0.94
micromol/l (1.08±0.35µg·ml-1), 2.59±0.58 µmol·L-1
(0.95±0.29µg·ml-1), 4.09±1.82µmol·L-1 (1.51±0.67
µg·ml-1) and 7.39±5.19µmol·L-1 (2.72±1.91 µg·ml-1),
respectively, with a potency similar to that of
papaverine (a representative antispasmodic for
smooth muscle). Furthermore, pretreatment with
glycycoumarin enhanced the relaxation induced by
forskolin on CCh-evoked contraction, similar to that
by pretreatment with IBMX, a non-specific inhibitor
of phosphodiesterases (PDEs). Pretreatment with
glycycoumarin also enhanced the relaxation effect of
rolipram, a specific inhibitor of PDE isozyme 4, as
pretreatment with milrinone, a specific inhibitor of
isozyme 3, did. Moreover, the effect of
glycycoumarin was associated with dose-dependent
accumulation of cAMP, but not cGMP, in mouse
jejunum. These results indicate that glycycoumarin
has an inhibitory effect on smooth muscle contraction
induced by various types of stimulants through the
inhibition of PDEs, especially isozyme 3, followed
by the accumulation of intracellular cAMP.[70]
Due to the severe damage caused by free
hydroxyl radicals (OH.) to cells and tissues, there is
much interest in finding and studying effective and
non-toxic OH. scavengers, including traditional
Chinese herbs. In this paper, the simple and
highly-sensitive technique of capillary zone
electrophoresis with amperometric detection
(CZE-AD) was used to study the OH. scavenging
activities of aqueous extracts from some traditional
Chinese herbs. Salicylic acid (SAL) was used as an
OH. trap, and the content of OH. It could be
determined by assaying their products,
2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,3-DHBA) and
2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,5-DHBA). The
optimum conditions for CZE-AD for the
determination of 2,3-DHBA and 2,5-DHBA were
explored. The linearity ranges of 2,3-DHBA and
2,5-DHBA were 1.0 x10-7 approximately 1.0 x10(-4)
mol L-1, and their detection limits were as low as 2 x
10-8 mol L-1, which were much better than the
CE-UV method often used. The traditional Chinese
herbs studied included Radix angelicae sinensis,
Rhizoma coptidis, Ligustrum lucidum, Ligusticum
wallichii, Radices glycyrrhizae and Semen
plantaginis. The experiments showed that the
aqueous extracts from all of the above traditional
Chinese herds had free OH. scavenging activities,
although to different degrees.[71]
Antidiabetic effect
Radix Glycyrrhiza was found to exhibit
markedly inhibitory effect on aldose reductase. The
IC50 was 16.3 µ g.mL-1. .It suggests that this herb
used in the control of diabetic complication may act
through the pharmacological action of inhibiting
aldose reductase. This herb can inhibit aldose
reductase in steptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Licorice markedly reduced sorbitol levels in red
blood cells and without affecting blood glucose.[72,73]
When the extract of licorice was given orally at dose
of for one week in diabetic rats, licorice
extract reduced sorbitol levels in WBC without
affecting blood glucose level. [72]
Wen-Pi-Tang, an Oriental medical prescription
composed of Rhei Rhizoma, Ginseng Radix, Aconiti
Tuber, Zingiberis Rhizoma and Glycyrrhizae Radix,
is used clinically as a medicine to treat renal failure.
This study was conducted to examine the inhibitory
activity of the five crude drug components of
Wen-Pi-Tang and several pure compounds isolated
from Rhei Rhizoma and Glycyrrhizae Radix against
the protein glycation reaction. Rhei Rhizoma exerted
the most potent activity, Zingiberis Rhizoma and
Glycyrrhizae Radix showed relatively moderate
activity, whereas Aconiti Tuber and Ginseng Radix
showed weak activity. On the other hand, of 20
compounds obtained from Rhei Rhizoma and
Glycyrrhizae Radix, tannins, especially rhatannin,
RG-tannin and procyanidin B-2 3,3'-di-O-gallate,
showed significantly strong activities that were more
effective than the positive control, aminoguanidine.
Some flavones such as licochalcone A and
licochalcone B, and anthraquinones such as emodin
and aloe-emodin, also showed inhibitory activity.
These findings may help to explain, at least in part,
certain pharmacological activities of Wen-Pi-Tang,
whose clinical efficacy against renal failure is already
Detoxifying effect
Experiments on mice revealed that extract of
Licorice roots and glycyrrhizic acid have significant
detoxifying actions against chloral hydrate,
strychning, urethane, cocaine, arsenobenzene and
mercurous chloride. They also exhibited detoxicate
actions, though at lower potency, against picrotoxin,
inactive against atropine, sulfanal, scopolamine,
morphine, and antimony. Conversely, they increased
the toxicity of ephedrine and epunephedrine,
glycyrrhizic acid also detoxified tetrodoxin and snake
venom. As a nonhemolytic saponin, glycyrhizic acid
prevented the hemolysis of erythrocytes by other
saponinis in vitro. [13]
Pharmacokinetics of the active principles of
Radix Glycyrhizae was studied in rats. After
intravenos injection at doses of 20, 50 and 100 of glycyrrhizin, as shown in Table 1, the
half-life was 1.78, 3.72 and 4.68 h, respectively. The
result indicated non-linear kinetic nature. The
pharmacokinetics of 18-α- and 18-β-glycyrrhetic acid
was studied in rabbits following intravenous
injection at dose 20 The half-life was 1.22
and 2.85 h, respectively[75]. To mice at doses of 25,
50 and 100 after intravenous injection, the
plasma glycyrrizin concentration-time curves were
fitted by two-compartment model, and the t1/2αand
t1/2βwere 2.58-9.51 and 49.3-55.1 min, respectively;
the clearance were 0.0033-0.0047, and
volume of distribution were 0.1443-0.1954 .
The plasma protein binding ratio was 92.7-96.0% at
the concentrations of 50-300 mg.L-1 [76].
Table 1. Pharmacokinetic parameters of glycyrrhizin in rats
Dose( 20 50 100
t1/2(h) 1.78 3.72 4.68
Cl ( 1.98 0.84 0.63
Vd ( 0.33 0.27 0.26
AUC (µ 1.78 10.57 2645
In order to investigate the pharmacokinetic
behavior of Glycyrrhizin GLY in human after oral
administration of GLY or licorice root, a liquid
chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry
(LC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated
for the simultaneous determination of GLY and its
major metabolite glycyrrhetic acid (GA) in human
plasma. The method involved a solid phase extraction
of GLY, GA, and alpha-hederin, the internal standard
(IS), from plasma with Waters Oasis MCX solid
phase extraction (SPE) cartridges (30 mg) and a
detection using a Micromass Quattro LC liquid
chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry system
with electrospray ionization source in positive ion
mode. Separation of the analytes was achieved within
5min on a SepaxHP CN analytical column with a
mobile phase of acetonitrile:water (50:50, v:v)
containing 0.1% formic acid and 5mM ammonium
acetate. Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) was
utilized for the detection monitoring 823 453 for
GLY, 471 177 for GA and 752 456 for IS. The
LC-MS/MS method was validated for specificity,
sensitivity, accuracy, precision, and calibration
function. The assay had a calibration range from 10
to 10,000 ng.mL-1 and a lower limit of quantification
of 10 ng.mL-1 for both GLY and GA when 0.2 mL
plasma was used for extraction. The percent
coefficient of variation for accuracy and precision
(inter-run and intra-run) for this method was less than
11.0% with a % Nominal ranging from 87.6 to
106.4% for GLY and 93.7 to 107.8% for GA.
Stability of the analytes over sample processing
(freeze/thaw, bench-top and long-term storage) and in
the extracted samples was also tested and
Ichikawa et al reported that the plasma decay in
normal rats following an iv dose of 100 of
glycyrrhizin was generally bi-phase. The secondary
peaks were observed in all rats in the elimination
phase to be 0.5 to 12 h. The bile excretion was 80.6%
of the administered dose[78]. Disposition of
glycyrrhetic acid in healthy subjects and patients with
psecudoaldosteronism was studied by an enzyme
immuno-antobody technique. The serum glycyrrhetic
acid levels in two cases who presented
pseudoaldosteronism by licorice containing
formulations were as high as 70-80 ng.mL-1, with
glycyrrhetic glycoside levels being very low. The
utinary excretion of glycyrrhetic acid was about 2%
of the total dose of glycyrrhizin administered [79].
Liu et al evaluated the potential of 15 herbal
medicines (HMs), commonly used in Korea, to
inhibit the catalytic activities of several cytochrome
P450 (CYP) isoforms and microsomal NADPH-CYP
reductase. The abilities of 1-1000 µg.mL-1 of
freeze-dried aqueous extracts of 15 HMs to inhibit
phenacetin O-deethylation (CYP1A2), tolbutamide
4-methylhydroxylation (CYP2C9), S-mephenytoin
4'-hydroxylation (CYP2C19), dextromethorphan
O-demethylation (CYP2D6), chlorzoxazone
6-hydroxylation (CYP2E1), midazolam
1-hydroxylation (CYP3A4) and NADPH-CYP
reductase were tested using human liver microsomes.
The HMs Epimedii herba, Glycyrrhizae radix and
Leonuri herba inhibited one or more of the CYP
isoforms or NADPH-CYP reductase. Of the three
HMs, Epimedii herba extracts were the most potent
inhibitors of several CYP isoforms (IC50)
67.5µg.mL-1 for CYP2C19, 104.8 µg.mL-1 for
CYP2E1, 110.9 µg.mL-1 for CYP2C9, 121.9
microg/mL for CYP3A4, 157.8 µg.mL-1 for CYP2D6
and 168.7µg.mL-1 for CYP1A2) and NADPH-CYP
reductase (IC50) 185.9 µg.mL-1). These results
suggest that some of the HMs used in Korea have the
potential to inhibit CYP isoforms in vitro. Although
the plasma concentrations of the active constituents
of the HMs were not determined, some herbs could
cause clinically significant interactions because the
usual doses of those individual herbs are several
grams of freeze-dried extracts. Controlled trials to
test the significance of these results are necessary. [80]
TJ-8117 (Onpi-to) is a herbal medicine extracted
from mixture of five crude drugs (Rhei Rhizoma,
Glycyrrhizae Radix, Ginseng Radix, Zingiberis
Rhizoma and Aconiti Tuber), which has been
developed as a drug for chronic renal failure.
(-)Epicatechin 3-O-gallate (ECG), one of the active
compounds of TJ-8117, was labeled with tritium and
spiked to TJ-8117. Effects of food, renal failure and
repeated administration to pharmacokinetics of
ECG-related radioactivity in the plasma were
investigated after oral administration of TJ-8117
containing 3H-ECG (3H-TJ-8117) in male rats. After
oral administration of 3H-TJ-8117, the radioactivity
in the plasma in non-fasted rats was higher than that
in fasted rats. AUC0-72 h and Cmax in the non-fasted
was 123% and 248% of those in the fasted. After oral
administration of 3H-TJ-8117, the radioactivity in the
plasma in 5/6 nephrectomized rats was higher than
that in sham-operated rats. AUC0-72 h and Cmax in 5/6
nephrectomized was 332% and 236% of those in
sham-operated. After repeated administration of
TJ-8117 for 6 days, 3H-TJ-8117 was administered on
7th day. Radioactivity in plasma in first day was
similar to that in 7th day. The pharmacokinetic
parameters were not significantly different between
single and repeated administration.[81] Kamei et al
examined the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic
properties of liquiritin apioside, a main antitussive
component of Glycyrrhizae radix (licorice), with
regard to its antitussive effect in guinea pigs. The
peak plasma concentration of the unchanged
compound was observed 15 min after the
administration of liquiritin apiosaide. The plasma
concentration then gradually decreased and was
almost undetectable 4 h after administration.
Liquiritigenin, a des-glycoside of liquiritin apioside,
appeared in the plasma 2 h after the administration of
liquiritin apioside and remained for more than 6 h
after administration. The plasma concentration of
unchanged liquiritigenin was observed 15 min after
administration and then gradually increased for more
than 6 h after administration. When the antitussive
effects of liquiritin apioside, liquiritin and
liquiritigenin, at respective doses of 30 mg/kg, p.o.,
were examined 1 h after administration, liquiritin
apioside and liquiritigenin caused a significant
reduction in the number of capsaicin-induced coughs.
However, at the same dose, liquiritin had no
significant effect on the number of capsaicin-induced
coughs. On the other hand, when the antitussive
effects of liquiritin apioside, liquiritin and
liquiritigenin, at doses of 30, p.o., were
examined 4 h after administration, each caused a
more than 40% reduction in the number of
capsaicin-induced coughs. The present results suggest
that G. radix (licorice) may produce a persistent
antitussive effect, and that liquiritin apioside plays an
important role in the earlier phase, while
liquiritigenin, which is a metabolite of liquiritin
apioside and liquiritin, plays an important role in the
late phase.[82]
Shaoyao-Gancao-Tang (SGT), a traditional
Chinese formulation composed of Shaoyao (Paeoniae
Radix) and Gancao (Glycyrrhizae Radix), is
frequently used in conjunction with laxatives such as
sodium picosulfate in colonoscopy to relieve
abdominal pains. We have investigated the alterations
of the bioavailability of glycyrrhizin when SGT was
co-administered with sodium picosulfate and we tried
to identify a regimen that might minimize the
alterations. Glycyrrhizin is one of the active
glycosides in Gancao and SGT and is hydrolysed into
the bioactive metabolite, 18 β-glycyrrhetic acid (GA)
by intestinal bacteria following oral administration.
We found that the maximum plasma concentration
(Cmax) and the area under the mean concentration vs
time curve from zero to 24 h (AUC0-24 h) of GA from
a single dose of SGT administered 5 h after a single
pretreatment with sodium picosulfate were
significantly reduced to 15% and 20% of the control
level in rats, respectively. These reductions were still
significant four days after sodium picosulfate
pretreatment, but were restored by repetitive
administration of SGT following sodium picosulfate
pretreatment. Similar reductions and recovery were
observed for the glycyrrhizin-metabolizing activity of
intestinal bacteria in rat faeces. The results warrant
clinical studies for co-administration of laxatives
such as sodium picosulfate and SGT.[83]
The LD100 of the extract of Radix Glycyrrhizae
in mice by subcutaneous injection was found to be
3.6 The MLD of glycyrrhizic acid in mice by
subcutaneous injection was 1 The LD50 of
glycyrrhitic hemisuccunate in mice was found to be
101 by ip injection and 430 by iv
injection. The LD50 of FM-100 in mice was 760 by ip injection. .Subcutaneous injection of
glycyrrhitic hemisuccunate at the dose of 500
to cats and 2.5 to rabbits for 30 days did not
result in changes in body weight or caused any
mortality. Glycyrrhizic acid at the low doses from 20
to 30 for more than one week produced
edema. At high dose (1250, glycyrrhitic
acid caused respiratory inhibition and weight less in
mice [13].
Intragastric administration of extract of licorice
root for 6 months in doses of 100 and 250 per
day produce in animal functional changes of the liver
and kidneys, which one should take into
consideration when prescribing the preoaration to
patients suffering from diseases of these organs[84].
Glycyrrhiza extract inhibited the mutagenicity of
activated Trp-P-1. It was clear that the inhibitory
effect was not due to inhibition of enzyme activity of
the S9 fraction[85].
Glycyrhiza extract has been shown to inhibit
mutagenic activity of ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)
and 2-(2-furyl)- 3- (5-nitro-2-furyl) acrylamide
(FNFA). Glycyrrhi-zinic acid decreased the the
mutagenicity of 3-amino-1- methyl- 5H- pyrido-
[4,3-β]ondole, 2-acetyl-aminofluorene and glucose
pyrolysate. 18α-glycyrrhetinic acid and
18β-glycyrrhetinic acid have been shown to inhibit
the mutagenicity of benzopyrene, 2-amino-flurene
and aflatoxin B1. Desmutagenic and antimutagenic
activities of glycyrrhizic acid were eveluated
bymeasuring the inhibition of Salmonella
typhimurium TA100 revertants induced by EMS,
N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (NNNG) and
riboselysine. The concentrations of the mutagens
used induce a limited number of revertants/plate. The
glycyrrhiza extract, glycyrrhizinic acid and 18α-and
18β-glycyrrhetinic acids showed desmutagenic
activity against riboselysine induced mutagents.
18β-glycyrrhetinic acid was the most effective
among these substances in inhibiting riboselysine
mutagenicity. At a concentration of 100 µg/plate, it
resulted in 79% inhibition of mutagenicity. The
different activities of the two stereoisomers may be
due to the different stereochemical structure of the
D/E ring conformation. Glycyrrhiza extract also
showed anti-mutagenic activity against riboselysine.
These studies suggest that compounds from
Glycyrrhiza roots nay be used as effecttive and
particle chemo-preventive agents to inhibit or to
reduce genotoxic effects, and to reduce cancer
frequency in humans[86].
Clinical therapeutics
Licorice root (Radix Glycyrrhizae) is officially
listed in the Chinese Pharmacopeia. It is used as a
tonic, antiphlogistic, mucolytic, expectorant, anagesic
for the treatment of gastroinstinal and respiratory
diseases, and also used to alleviate the toxicity of
some drugs. In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb
is one of herbs that tonify spleen and replenish "Qi".
The indications and combinations of this herb are the
following aspects: (1) Deficient "Qi" of the spleen
and stomach manifested as poor appetite, loose stool
and lassitude. Licorice root is used with White
atractylodes, Poria and Ginsng in the formula Sijunzi
decoction; (2) Cough and asthma. licorice root is
used with Apricot seed and Ephedra in the formula
Sanniu decoction; (3) Carbuncles, furuncles, sore
throat and swelling due to toxic heat. Licorice root is
used with Platycodon root, Scrophularia and Arctium
fruit for sore throat. Licorice root can also be used
with Honeysuckle flower and Forsythia fruit for
carbuncles, furucles and swellings; (4) Abdominal
pain due to spasms of the stomach or intestines,
licorice root is used with White peony root; (5)
Moderating the action of other drugs. Licorice root
with Prepared aconite root and dried ginger can
weaken the heating properties and lessen the side
effects of some herbs[87]. It counteracts Peking spurge
root, Genkwa flower, Kansui root and Seaweed.
Prolonged overdosing of the herb may cause edema.
Ingestionof licorice 100 g daily for 8 weeks
caused a rise in 81% in plasma atrial natriuretic
peptide concentration in 12 healthy volunteers. The
plasma concentrations of antdiuretic hormone,
aldosterone and plasma renin activity decreased. All
these hormonal effects, reflecting retention of sodium
and fluid volume were probably due to the known
mineralocorticoid properties of licorice. Blood
pressure increased transiently and two subjects
developed reversible hypertension. The rise in plasma
atriuretic peptide concentration during ingestion of
licorice may be considered a physiological response
to prevent fluid retention and development of
hypertension [88].
In clinical application, licorice extract and its
chemical constituents and preparations are used for
the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers,
inflammatory diseases, chronic hepatitis, Addison's
disease and other diseases.
The therapeutic efficiency of a new
formulation that incorporates 0.2% idoxuridine in
glycyrrhizin gel has been tested on patients who
suffer from herpes of the lips and nose. The
preparation was more effective than a commercial
0.5% idoxuridine oitment. It reduced the healing time
and produced an almost intanatnaeous relief from
pain. The higher efficacy of the new preparation may
be a scribed to the reported anti-inflammatory and
antiviral activities of glycyrrhizin together with an
enhanced permeation of the idoxuridine through the
skin[61]. 60 cases of perpetic keratitis, keratocon-
junctivitis, and fascicular keratitis had been treated
with eye drops of 5% sodium glycyrrhizinzte, or
8-125 suspension o glycyrrhitic acid, or the 10-30%
extract of the herb three to four times daily. 56 of the
cases so treated were cured after 2-7 days of
treatment [13].
In 10 carriers positive for chronic hepatitis B
surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B e-antigen
(HBeAg), and DNA polymerase, theefficacy of the
combination of therapy consisting of glycyrrhizin
with thedrawal and human fibroblast interferon.
Glycyrrhizin was given for 4 weeks. Glycyrrhizin
appeared to act as an antiviral agent in cases and had
cortecolid-like effect in 3 cases. DNA polymerase
decreased remarkedly after administration. no side
effects were observed inpatients recieving
glycyrrhizin. Thus this combination therapy seems
safe and effective[89].
Four cases of Addison's disease had been treated
with licorice extract 15 ml once daily. The patients
strengh was increased, the objective improvement
included increase of serum sodium, elevation of
blood pressure and decrease of skin pigmentation.
Glycyrrhizic acid was found to be useful for this
disease. The therapeutic and maintenance doses
varied with different individuals. The dosage was
gradually reduced after several weeks of continuous
administration. As patients developed increased
sensitivity to the drug, the maintenance dose
prescribed for some cases was reduced to only
one-tenth the initial dose.
Glycyrrhiza extract was used to treat 100 cases
with gastric and duodenal ulcers. To these patients,
the extract was used with 15 ml in 4 times per day for
6 weeks. Good effects wee achieved in 905 of the
treated cases. The herb power gave better effects as it
contains the complete components. Large doses or
long-term injection of low dose doses of the herb
produced the following reactions in 20% of patients,
edema, weak limbs, spastic numbness, dizziness,
headache, hypertension and hypokalemia. The herb
should be used with caution in elderly patients and in
those with cardiovascular and renal diseases because
of their susceptibility to hypertension and congestive
heart failure [13]. Glycyrrhizin tablets was officially
listed in therapeutic drugs for the treatment of chronic
hepatitis in 1992. Hayashi et al reported the results
on the combination therapy of glycyrrhizin with
dracial and human fibrolast interferon for chronic
Asian Journal of Drug Metabolism and
Pharmacokinetics had published in English a series
of reviews on the ehtnopharmacology,
pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and clinical
application of some traditional Chinese medicines
and herbs commonly used.[91-98] These literatures
will be helpful and valuable to readers and
researchers wishing to study and understand
traditional Chinese drugs and herbal drugs as well
as traditional Chinese medicine. In this paper, the
introduced information on Radix Glycyrrhizae will
also be helpful.
Acknowledgement This project was Supported
by National Natural Science Foundation of China (
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Fax +86-22-23006863; E-mail:
... Licorice has been used as a food sweetener and is one of the oldest and most frequently used crude drugs in traditional medicine, particularly in Asian countries. A variety of pharmaceutical functions, such as antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic activities have been reported for licorice constituents [5][6][7][8], and the antibacterial effects of licorice phenolics have been demosntrated for various bacterial species [9][10][11][12][13][14]. The effect of a compound isolated from licorice, gancaonin I (1), on VRE was also demonstrated in a previous study [15]. ...
... Content (% w/w) a Glycyrol (18) 0.54 ± 0.036 Gancaonin I (1) 0.49 ± 0.025 Isoangustone A (6) 0.34 ± 0.031 Glycyrin (20) 0.26 ± 0.015 Glycycoumarin (21) 0.24 ± 0.010 Glicoricone (22) 0.18 ± 0.023 6,8-Diprenylorobol (25) 0.094 ± 0.013 Licoriphenone (9) 0.082 ± 0.017 a The value was given as the mean ± standard deviation (SD) based on the triplicate experiments. ...
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Licorice, which is the underground part of Glycyrrhiza species, has been used widely in Asian and Western countries as a traditional medicine and as a food additive. Our continuous investigation on the constituents of roots and stolons of Glycyrrhiza uralensis led to the isolation of two new phenolics, in addition to 14 known compounds. Structural studies including spectroscopic and simple chemical derivatizations revealed that both of the new compounds had 2-aryl-3-methylbenzofuran structures. An examination of the effectiveness of licorice phenolics obtained in this study on vancomycin-resistant strains Enterococcus faecium FN-1 and Enterococcus faecalis NCTC12201 revealed that licoricidin showed the most potent antibacterial effects against both of E. faecalis and E. faecium with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1.9 × 10-5 M. 8-(γ,γ-Dimethylallyl)-wighteone, isoangustone A, 3'-(γ,γ-dimethylallyl)-kievitone, glyasperin C, and one of the new 3-methyl-2-phenylbenzofuran named neoglycybenzofuran also showed potent anti-vancomycin-resistant Enterococci effects (MIC 1.9 × 10-5-4.5 × 10-5 M for E. faecium and E. faecalis). The HPLC condition for simultaneous detection of the phenolics in the extract was investigated to assess the quality control of the natural antibacterial resource, and quantitative estimation of several major phenolics in the extract with the established HPLC condition was also performed. The results showed individual contents of 0.08%-0.57% w/w of EtOAc extract for the major phenolics in the materials examined.
... Nevertheless, medicinal plants have beneficial chemical constituents, Liquiritin (LT), Liquiritingenin (LTG), and Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), that produce physiological changes of various health benefits [151,162]. There are at least 400 different chemical compounds in RG along with triterpenoid saponins, flavanones, chalcones, coumarins, and their glycosides [151,158,163,164]. ...
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Background: Chinese herbal medicine is considered relatively safe, inexpensive, and easily accessible. Wen Dan Tang (WDT), a Jing Fang ancient classical Chinese herbal formula with a broad indication profile has been used for several centuries in China to treat various illnesses. Question: Are there evidence-based clinical trials that show that WDT has a significant impact on the treatment of various diseases, especially in patients with migraine and tension-type headaches (TTH)? Methods: This study is based on an online database search using PubMed, Medline, Cochrane Library, AcuTrials, Embase, Semantic Scholar, Jstor, internet research, and review of ancient and modern Chinese medical textbooks regarding WDT and its compounds. Results: There were no studies on WDT in migraine and TTH; therefore, this work gathers and describes data for every single compound in the formula. Conclusion: This study suggests that the bioactive compounds found in WDT composition show potential in treating patients with neurological, psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, and digestive disorders. Some coherence between WDT in headache reduction and improvements in the quality of life in patients with migraines and TTH could be evaluated, showing positive results of WDT in these patients.
... 67 Gan Cao has been shown to be effective against AIDS, herpes zoster, and SARS in many studies. 68 Gan Cao attaches itself to the cell membrane, preventing virus attachment and entry. 23 Furthermore, glycyrrhizin, a major active constituent in Gan Cao, was shown to inhibit replication of SARS clinical isolates. ...
Introduction: COVID-19, the infectious disease induced by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus-2, has caused increasing global health concerns, and novel strategies to prevent or ameliorate the condition are needed. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal formulas have been used in the treatment of epidemics in China for over 2000 years. This study investigated the therapeutic effects of Qu Du Qiang Fei I Hao Fang (QDQF1) "Eliminating Virus and Strengthening Lung-No.1 Formula," in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. QDQF1 consists of Shēng Huáng Qí, Běi Shā Shēn, Chuān Jié Gěng, Zhì Fáng Fēng, Qīng Lián Qiáo, Jīn Yín Huā, Bǎn Lán Gēn, Chǎo Cāng Zhú, Zǐ Huā Dì Dīng, and Shēng gān căo. Materials and Methods: A literature survey was performed by conducting systematic electronic searches in PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, and in books. Results: Each herb in this formula has long been used to treat various diseases due to their pharmacologic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects that inhibit microbial adherence to mucosal or epithelial surfaces, inhibit endotoxin shock, and selectively inhibit microbial growth. Conclusion: The herbs chosen for the QDQF1 formula have been historically paired, and cast a wide net over the potential COVID-19 symptomatology. Their combined functions provide comprehensive and balanced therapeutics from both TCM and allopathic perspectives. Individual herbs and herbal combinations are analyzed for their applicability to pertinent TCM patterns of COVID-19 presentations, including heat and cold patterns, damp and phlegm syndromes, toxicity, and deficiency patterns. A further study in a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial of QDQF1 is recommended to assess its therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19.
... It has shown to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of various diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, atherosclerosis, gastric ulcers, immunodeficiency, hepatitis, and bacterial infections. [11][12][13][14] The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has generally recognized liquorice as safe. Hence, it is considered safe for human consumption as long as it is consumed in small amounts and by individuals who are not sensitive to glycyrrhizin. ...
Aim: The present study was done to evaluate the in vivo cariostatic efficacy of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of liquorice to ascertain whether it could be developed into a caries-preventive regimen basically targeted for use in the pediatric population. Materials and methods: Thirty schoolchildren of 6-12-year-old were selected for the study. Powder of Glycyrrhiza glabra is used to prepare the gel with various concentration of aqueous and ethanolic liquorice gel. The preweighed dose was delivered through the vials. The drug concentrations were based on their respective minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) values against Streptococcus mutans, which were calculated earlier. And it is divided into three groups, i.e., group I: aqueous liquorice extract 1.75 g/10 mL saline, group II: ethanolic liquorice extract 350 mg/10 mL, and group III: hexidine (0.2% chlorhexidine, CHX). For statistical analysis, Tukey's post hoc with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t test were applied. Results: It was found that hexigel has a potential antibacterial activity against S. mutans, with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 3.14 ± 2.02. Ethanolic liquorice shows MIC of 2.15 ± 0.91 and aqueous liquorice shows MIC of 1.30 ± 1.08. Tukey's post hoc test showed statistically nonsignificant difference between hexigel and ethanolic liquorice against S. mutans. Conclusion: On conclusion, the present study found that hexigel was better than both the ethanolic and aqueous solutions of liquorice. And ethanolic liquorice was found to be better than aqueous solution, but it was not statistically significant, which could be due to the small sample size. Clinical significance: Dental caries is one of the most common infectious microbial diseases. Various steps have been taken to prevent dental caries, fluoride being the most common among them. Nowadays, G. glabra, commonly known as liquorice (mulethi), is one such medicinal plant used by various cultures for thousands of years to relieve coughs, sore throats, and gastric inflammation. This drug in our study demonstrated inhibitory effect on the growth of S. mutans.
... ! It have been reported that large doses or long-term injections of licorice sometimes produce an acquired form of apparent mineralocorticoid excess syndrome, expressed as sodium retention, hypokalemia, and high blood pressure [158,159]. According to a recent report, the medical records of patients treated with herbal complexes containing licorice from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 were examined. ...
Licorice is one of the oldest and most frequently used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains more than 20 triterpenoids and 300 flavonoids. In recent years, a lot of studies have reported that the active compounds isolated from licorice possess antitumor, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and several other activities that contribute to the recovery and protection of the nervous, alimentary, respiratory, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. In this paper, nine different pharmacological activities of licorice are summarized. The active compounds responsible for these pharmacological activities, the molecular mechanisms, and in vivo and in vitro studies are listed in detail. Furthermore, the clinical therapeutics and toxicity studies of licorice are also discussed. We hope this work can provide a basis for further studies concerning with the safe and effective use of licorice. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
The raw materials of “licorice root” in the commerce consist of roots and/or rhizomes (stolons) of different species of Glycyrrhiza . Licorice products and raw materials are frequently mislabeled and often have mixed, misidentified, or unidentified species and parts. This paper provides a detailed comparative analysis of the morpho-anatomies of the rhizomes and roots of five species of Glycyrrhiza , namely G. glabra , G. uralensis , G. echinata , G. inflata , and G. lepidota , by bright-field light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The studied species showed some similarities in their basic anatomical features due to the fact that they are phylogenetically closely related and belong to the same genus. However, differences in microscopic features such as the thickness of cork and medullary rays, pore frequency, and size of the vessels were observed. The rhizomes can readily be distinguished by the presence of a distinct pith. The roots lack a well-defined pith and instead have primary xylem in the center.
Nowadays, diseases of the respiratory system are a common problem for national and global healthcare. The drugs of synthetic and natural origin, intended for the prevention and treatment of these diseases, are available on the pharmaceutical market. The latter are mainly represented by herbal medicinal products, among which mixture herbal products occupy a special place. Pectoral species No. 2 is a multicomponent herbal medicinal products used for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, it includes coltsfoot leaves (40%), plantain leaves (30%), and licorice roots (30%). It is produced in the form of powder and is dispensed in packs and filter sachet. On the basis of information and analytical research, some approaches to the standardization of pectoral species No. 2 are developed in this study. Currently, the infusion is the main dosage form of pectoral species No. 2; water-soluble biologically active compounds are fully extracted by water and are responsible for the manifested pharmacological effects of pectoral species No. 2 (polysaccharides and triterpene compounds). The development of modern regulatory documentation for complex herbal preparations (mixture herbal products) should be carried out taking into account scientifically based data and harmonized requirements. Additional experimental studies are required to substantiate the indicators and standards of identity and good quality of pectoral species No. 2. Modern regulatory documentation for pharmaceutical substances of plant origin and mixture herbal products made of them (including pectoral species No. 2) should include sections that take into account the principle of raw material-to-drug standardization and methods that can be used in research laboratories with various material and technical support.
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Objective: Coronaviruses often cause acute complications in the respiratory system with cold-like symptoms. A number of them, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have killed thousands of people and have caused epidemics and pandemics. This review study aims to investigate the most common medicinal plants in Iran and introduce their natural products with antiviral effects on coronaviruses and strengthening the immune system in order to prevent and control them. Methods: In this review study, a search was conducted in national and international databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, SID, MagIran and IranMedex by using keywords such as COVID-19, Coronaviruses, SARS, MERS, SARS-CoV-2, PEDV in both Persian and English for studies published until 2020, and finally 51 articles were selected. Results: There are 10 plants with antiviral effects on members of the family Coronaviridae among which Ginger, Galangal, Cinnamon, Fennel flower, Grapefruit (peel), and Purple coneflower were effective on COVID-19. Elder, Ginseng, Aloe vera, Milkvetch, and Shirazi Thyme plants were effective in boosting the immune system and preventing viral diseases. Conclusion: Inhibiting the replication of viruses is the common mechanism in antiviral drugs, but natural compounds usually counteract it by disrupting key proteins and virulence factors of viruses. Therefore, the use of the antiviral components of reported plants can be useful in producing drugs for these viruses, especially the one causing COVID-19.
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Oral health influences general well-being and quality of life. Oral diseases can be debilitating and are amajor heath concern worldwide. Medicinal plants have been used for thousands of years for treatinghuman diseases. Considering the emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogens andfinancial difficultiesin developing countries, there is an urgent need for developing new antimicrobial compounds which aresafe, efficient and cost effective. Liquorice also known as yashtimadhu, sweetwood or mulhatti is onesuch herbal remedy which has shown to have immense potential in treatment of orofacial diseases.Liquorice is rich in secondary metabolites which are used in cosmetics, foods, traditional and modernmedicine. It has well known properties such as antiviral, glucocorticoid, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant,anti-ulcerative, anti-carcinogenic and many more. Liquorice extracts and liquorice bioactive ingredientssuch as glabridin, licoricidin, licorisoflavan A, licochalcone A, and glycyrrhizin have shown beneficialeffects in preventing and treating oral diseases. This paper reviews the effects of liquorice and its con-stituents on oral diseases such as dental caries, periodontitis, gingivitis, candidiasis, recurrent aphthousulcer and oral cancer and its use as a root canal medicament and summarizes the results of clinical trialsthat investigated the potential beneficial effects of liquorice and its constituents as a prevention andtreatment modality in oral diseases. Clinical trials, case reports and review of literature evaluating theeffect of liquorice on oral microorganisms and oral diseases are included. Literature pertaining to theeffects of liquorice on systemic diseases have been excluded from this review of literature.© (PDF) Therapeutic benefits of liquorice in dentistry. Available from: [accessed Nov 08 2018].
The beneficial effects of liquorice in treating chills, colds, and coughs have been fully discussed in Ayurveda, as well as in the texts of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The plant has been prescribed for dropsy during the period of famous Hippocrates. The reason being that it was quite helpful as thirst-quenching drugs (Biondi et al. in J Nat Prod 68:1099–1102, 2005; Mamedov and Egamberdieva in Herbals and human health-phytochemistry. Springer Nature Publishers, 41 pp, 2017). No doubt, the clinical use of liquorice in modern medicine started around 1930; Pedanios Dioscorides of Anazarba (Adana), first century AD-Father of Pharmacists, mentions that it is highly effective in the treatment of stomach and intestinal ulcers. In Ayurveda, people in ancient Hindu culture have used it for improving sexual vigor.
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Glycyrrhizin (GL) achieved a dose-dependent inhibition of the replication of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in MOLT-4 (clone No. 8) cells within the concentration range of 0.075 to 0.6 mM. Within this concentration range, GL also effected a dose-dependent reduction in the protein kinase C (PKC) activity of MOLT-4 (clone No. 8) cells. A well-known PKC inhibitor, 1-(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-methylpiperazine dihydrochloride (H-7), also proved inhibitory to HIV-1 replication in MOLT-4 (clone No. 8) cells. PKC inhibition may thus be considered as one of the mechanisms by which GL inhibits HIV-1 replication. In addition, GL may also owe its anti-HIV-1 activity, at least in part, to an interference with virus-cell binding, since the compound at 1.2 mM partially inhibited the adsorption of radiolabeled HIV-1 particles to MT-4 cells. At this concentration GL also suppressed giant cell formation induced by co-culturing MOLT-4 (clone No. 8) cells with MOLT-4/HTLV-IIIB cells, whereas the PKC inhibitor H-7 failed to do so.
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One of the plant extracts, glycyrrhizin (GL) was investigated for its antiviral action on varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in vitro. When human embryonic fibroblast (HEF) cells were treated with GL after inoculation of virus (post-treatment), the average 50%-inhibitory dose (ID50) for five VZV strains was 0.71 mM, and the selectivity index (ratio of ID50 for host-cell DNA synthesis to ID50 for VZV replication) was 30. GL was also effective against VZV replication when HEF cells were treated 24 h before the inoculation (pretreatment). Furthermore, at a concentration of 2.4 mM GL inactivated more than 99% of virus particles within 30 min at 37°C. In combination with other anti-herpes drugs (acyclovir, adenine arabinoside, bromovinyldeoxyuridine, and phosphonoformate) or human native beta-interferon, GL had an additive or slightly synergistic effect on VZV replication. The mechanism of anti-VZV action is still unclear. We postulate that GL inhibits the penetration, uncoating or release of virus particles.
The antiinflammatory and immune-regulating effect of sodium glycyrrhetinic acid (SGA) was studied by oral administration in mice and rats. The results showed that croton oil-induced mouse-ear-edema was not affected by a single dose but inhibited by repeated administration of SGA. Repeated treatment with SGA significantly inhibited paw edema of rats with ajuvant arthritis (AA), reduced proliferation of synovial cells and pannus formation, and eliminated the destruction of articular cartilage in inflammed joints of AA rat. Meanwhile, T lymphocyte ratio was increased in normal mice and decreased in rats with ajuvant arthritis by SGA, suggesting that SGA possesses two-way regulating activity for immune function.
The study showed that saponins of glycyrrhiza yunnanensis (SGY) had no significant effects on Na+,K+-ATPase activity in the normal sheep myocardial sarcolemma, but had a significant protective effect on the reduction of Na+,K+-ATPase activity induced by oxygen free radicals. With the increase of SGY concentrations, Na+,K+-ATPase activity was elevated. Compared with the control groups, the enzyme activity increased by 27.9% at 0.2 mg · L-1, and 46.6% at 0.8 mg · L-1.
The protective effect of sodium glycyrrhetinic acid (SGA) on injured myocardial cells from neonate rats was investigated. SGA 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mmol·L-1 reduced the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) from myocardial cells injured by deprivation of oxygen and glucose at 6 h or 9 h. So did SGA 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mmol·L-1 in myocardial cells injured by reoxygenation after anoxia at 6 or 9 h. The chlorpromazine-damaged and xathine-xanthineodase-injured myocardial cells could also be protected by treating with 0.1, 0.2 or 0.4 mmol·L-1 at 6 or 9 h. The same results were found in myocardial cells injured by mitomycine C at 24 h.
Ginseng, the root of Panax ginseng of the Araliaceae family, has been used in Oriental medicine since ancient times as stimulant and tonic agents. In this review, The plant, chemistry, pharmacological effects, clinical pharmacology, adverse effects, drug iInteractions, and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and clinical application of Panax ginseng. The chemical constituents of ginseng root have been investigated since the beginning of the 20th century, and several classes of compounds have been isolated: triterpene saponins; essential oil-containing polyacetylenes and sesquiterpenes; polysaccharides; peptidoglycans; nitrogen-containing compounds; and various ubiquitous compounds such as fatty acids, carbohydrates, and phenolic compounds. 31 ginsenosides have been isolated from the roots of white and red ginseng. Polyacetylenes, mainly panaxytriol, panaxynol, and panaxydol, were isolated from ginseng. The chemical active compounds possess pharmacological activities such asstimulation of immunological function; effects on the cardiovascular system, for example, lowering blood pressure; effects on lipid metabolism shown by decreases in serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and increases of serum level high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; effect on alcohol metabolism shown by the stimulation of alcohol dehydrogenase and the oxidation of alcohol in the liver; lowering of blood sugar levels; stimulation of the pituitary-adrenocortical system; and inhibition of tumor growth. Until recently, little was known about the absorption, distribution, excretion, and metabolism of ginseng saponins. Ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rc, and Rd, were investigated for their inhibitory effects on hepatic CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 catalytic activities in human liver microsomes. Panax ginseng generally is well tolerated, and its adverse effects are mild and reversible. Panax ginseng may interact with caffeine to cause hypertension, and it may lower blood alcohol concentrations. It also may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin. Concomitant use of Panax ginseng and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine may result in manic-like symptoms.
The enterohepatic cycling of glycyrrhizin was examined using rats with and without biliary fistulization. The plasma decay in the control rats without fistulization following an iv dose of 100 mg/kg of glycyrrhizin, was generally biphasic. However, secondary peaks were observed in all rats in the elimination phase, i.e., 0.5 to 12 h following dosing. The plasma concentrations in the rats with biliary fistulization administered the same dose showed a biexponential decline. The AUC and CLtot were significantly higher and lower in the control rats, respectively. The biliary excretion was 80.6 ± 9.9% of the administered dose, and intestinal absorption was confirmed by using the bile collected after iv dosing. From these results, we concluded that glycyrrhizin was predominantly secreted from the liver into the bile, and that the secondary peaks in the elimination phase, the higher AUC, and the lower CLtot in the control rats were due to the effects of enterohepatic recycling of glycyrrhizin. Furthermore, the transport of the drug from the liver to the bile appears to be a saturable process.
10 streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were treated with baicalin 150 mg/kg.d and liquid extract of licorice (LEL) 7.5 ml/kg.d (5 by each medicine) for a week. The results indicated that orally baicalin and LEL could dramatically reduce the sorbitol levels in red blood cells (123.7 +/- 28.6 to 72.5 +/- 21.8 and 116.9 +/- 25.2 to 80.5 +/- 23.8 nmol/g.Hb, respectively) without affecting blood glucose levels significantly. It is suggested that both medicines act by inhibiting aldose reductase.
Summary— The effect of the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer on the adherence of Escherichia coli to the bladder urothelium of rats has been studied. The study was performed by destroying the GAG layer and the changes were observed using the electron microscope. Bacterial adherence to the bladder with a destroyed GAG layer was much higher than to the normal bladder. Following the destruction of the GAG layer, the instillation of sodium pentosanpolysulphate significantly reduced the adhesion of bacteria. Prophylactic intramuscular administration of carbenoxolone increased the speed of regeneration of the destroyed GAG layer.