Exploring the TCM herb “zhi shi zhi zi chi tang” and its anti-inflammatory activity


Image: Exploring the TCM herb “zhi shi zhi zi chi tang” and its anti-inflammatory activity

(Natural News) In this study, researchers from Zhejiang University identified which active ingredients in the herbal formula Zhi-Shi-Zhi-Zi-Chi-Tang (ZSZZCT) had anti-inflammatory properties. Their findings were published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.

  • Researchers used a multipronged approach that involved liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), semi-preparative LC, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for their experiment.
  • Using liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS) and liquid chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry (LC-IT-MS), they analyzed a whole ZSZZCT extract.
  • From the extract, the team detected 79 constituents. Among these, they identified – unambiguously or tentatively – 39 constituents.
  • After the whole extract was separated into components, the team used the activity index method to determine the index values of the constituents. These integrated the chemical and pharmacological information of the components.
  • The team identified four polymethoxyl flavones as potentially major active constituents.
  • Three polymethoxyl flavones were prepared using semi-preparative LC and LC-MS to validate their anti-inflammatory activities.
  • The researchers identified three polymethoxyl flavones with high positive index values, namely, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 3?, 4?-heptamethoxyflavone, 3-hydroxynobiletein, and tangeretin. These compounds were found to have significant anti-inflammatory effects.

The researchers concluded that the activity index method can accurately predict the active ingredients of ZSZZCT and other formulae used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Journal Reference:

Wang HQ, Zhu YX, Liu YN, Wang RL, Wang SF. RAPID DISCOVERY AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY CONSTITUENTS IN ZHI-SHI-ZHI-ZI-CHI-TANG. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. 7 May 2019; 17(4):308–320. DOI: 10.1016/s1875-5364(19)30035-4.


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