An experimental study on providing a scientific evidence for seven-time alcohol-steaming of Rhei Rhizoma when clinically usedReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

, 15:388

First Online: 27 October 2015Received: 25 May 2015Accepted: 19 October 2015


BackgroundRhei Rhizoma RR has been widely used as laxative and processed to alter its therapeutic actions or reduce its side effects. In this study, we evaluated experimentally the clinical application guideline that RR should be alcohol-steamed seven times before being used in elderly patients, as described in Dongeuibogam, the most famous book on Korean traditional medicine.

MethodsUnprocessed RR RR-U was soaked in rice wine, steamed and then fully dried RR-P1. The process was repeated four RR-P4 or seven times RR-P7. Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography was used to determine the RR-U, RR-P1, RR-P4 and RR-P7 RRs constituents. To evaluate the effect of RRs on liver toxicity, human hepatoma cells HepG2 were treated with RRs at 100 μg-mL for 4 h and then cell viabilities were measured using the 3-4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide method. To confirm the effects in vivo, 5-week-old male Sprague–Dawley rats were treated with RRs at 3 g-kg-day for 21 days. Body weight and serum biochemical parameters were measured and liver histology was assessed.

ResultsThe levels of sennosides decreased in processed RRs in an iteration-dependent manner, while the emodin level was unaffected. In HepG2 cells, cell viability was reduced with RR-U, while the toxicity decreased according to the number of processing cycles. The changes in body weight, relative liver weight and liver enzymes of RR-U-treated rats were reduced in processed RRs-treated rats. Histopathological analysis indicated swelling and cholestasis improved following seven times alcohol-steaming cycles.

ConclusionsThese results provide experimental evidence that RR-P7 almost completely reduces RR hepatotoxicity.

KeywordsRhei Rhizoma Alcohol-steaming Hepatotoxicity Dongeuibogam Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12906-015-0922-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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