March 28, 2023 8 min read

A Comprehensive Monograph on its Traditional and Scientific Significance

Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) This monograph explores the healing potential of A. lancea rhizome, delving into its traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological properties. The review of scientific studies unveils a range of therapeutic potentials, including immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and hepatoprotective properties. Further research is warranted to substantiate these claims and develop novel treatments based on the findings.

Introduction

Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC., also known as Cangzhu in Chinese, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Tibetan Plateau, China, Japan, Korea, and other parts of Asia (1). Its rhizome has been used for centuries in traditional Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine for its wide-ranging health benefits. A. lancea rhizome is a popular ingredient in many traditional herbal formulations known for its distinct aroma and bitter taste (2).

Botanical description

  1. lancea belongs to the Asteraceae family and is characterized by its long, slender, and fleshy rhizomes. The plant can reach a height of 60-150 cm and has large, broad leaves that are deeply lobed and toothed. The flowers are small, yellow, and arranged in dense clusters (3).

Traditional uses in Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine

In traditional Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, A. lancea rhizome treats various ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory infections, inflammation, and pain (4). It is believed to have a warming effect on the body. It is often used to treat cold and damp conditions (5). A. lancea is also an immune booster, improving circulation and enhancing overall vitality (6)

Phytochemistry

  1. lancea contains various active compounds that contribute to its medicinal properties. These include essential oils, sesquiterpenoids, polysaccharides, and other constituents.

2.1. Essential oils

lancea rhizome is a rich source of essential oils responsible for its distinctive aroma and flavor. The essential oils of A. lancea have been shown to possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties (7).

2.2. Atractylodin and other sesquiterpenoids

Atractylodin is a primary bioactive compound in A. lancea rhizome. It belongs to the class of sesquiterpenoids and has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial properties (8). Other sesquiterpenoids in A. lancea include β-Endemol, hinesol, and β-selinene (9).

2.3. Polysaccharides

  1. lancea contains a range of polysaccharides, which are complex carbohydrates that have been shown to have immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. These polysaccharides are believed to contribute to the immune-boosting effects of A. lancea (10).

2.4. Other constituents

  1. lancea also contains compounds such as β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and triterpenoids, which have been shown to possess a range of therapeutic activities (11).

Pharmacological properties

Scientific studies have investigated the pharmacological properties of A. lancea and have uncovered a range of potential therapeutic benefits.

3.1. Immunomodulatory effects

  1. lancea has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning it can modulate the immune system to enhance its function. A study found that A. lancea polysaccharides could significantly improve the proliferation and activation of immune cells, including T cells and B cells, and increase the production of cytokines (12). These results suggest that A. lancea could be a potent immune booster and may have applications in treating immune-related disorders.

3.2. Anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is a natural immune response that helps to protect the body from infections and injuries. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. A. lancea has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to alleviate inflammation-related conditions. A study found that A. lancea extract could reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in mouse macrophages and inhibit the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), a key transcription factor involved in inflammation (13).

3.3. Anticancer potential

  1. lancea has been investigated for its potential anticancer activity. A study found that A. lancea extract could inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (cell death) and suppressing the expression of genes involved in cancer cell proliferation (14). Another study showed that a compound isolated from A. lancea, called β-eudesmol, could induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human colon cancer cells (15). These findings suggest that A. lancea could be a potential candidate for developing novel anticancer treatments.

3.4. Hepatoprotective effects

The liver is an essential organ responsible for many vital functions, including detoxification and metabolism. A. lancea has been investigated for its potential hepatoprotective effects. It can protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and other harmful agents. A study found that A. lancea extract could protect liver cells from damage induced by alcohol and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in rats (16). The study also showed that A. lancea could enhance the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the liver, which may contribute to its hepatoprotective effects.

3.5. Anti-diabetic activity

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder with high blood glucose levels. A. lancea has been investigated for its potential anti-diabetic activity. A study found that A. lancea extract could significantly reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic rats (17). The study also showed that A. lancea could enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce oxidative stress in the liver, which may contribute to its anti-diabetic effects.

3.6. Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity

  1. lancea has been shown to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties, which may have applications in treating infectious diseases. A study found that A. lancea essential oil could inhibit the growth of several strains of bacteria and fungi, including Escherichia coli and Candida albicans (18).

3.7. Gastroprotective effects

  1. lancea has been investigated for its potential gastroprotective effects, meaning it can protect the gastrointestinal tract from damage caused by various agents. A study found that A. lancea extract could significantly reduce gastric lesions induced by ethanol and indomethacin in rats (19). The study also showed that A. lancea could enhance the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the stomach, which may contribute to its gastroprotective effects.

3.8. Other pharmacological properties

  1. lancea has been investigated for its potential effects on many other health conditions, including neuroprotection, cardiovascular, and skin health. A study found that A. lancea extract could protect neuronal cells from damage induced by oxidative stress and enhance cognitive function in mice (20). Another study found that A. lancea extract could improve endothelial function and reduce blood pressure in rats with hypertension (21). A. lancea has also been investigated for its potential skin-lightening effects. A study found that A. lancea extract could inhibit melanin production in human melanoma cells, suggesting that it may have applications in treating hyperpigmentation (22).

Safety and toxicity

  1. lancea has been traditionally used for centuries in Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine and is generally considered safe. However, like all herbal remedies, it is essential to use A. lancea with caution and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Limited toxicity studies have been conducted on A. lancea, but the available evidence suggests it has low toxicity and few adverse effects.

4.1. Acute toxicity studies

A study found that A. lancea extract had a high acute toxicity threshold in mice, with no observed toxicity at doses up to 16 g/kg body weight (23). Another study found that A. lancea extract had no significant adverse effects on rats at doses up to 5 g/kg body weight (24).

4.2. Chronic toxicity studies

Chronic toxicity studies on A. lancea are limited. One study investigated the effects of long-term A. lancea consumption in rats and found no significant adverse effects on body weight, organ weight, or biochemical parameters (25).

4.3. Safety considerations

Although A. lancea is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications and should be used cautiously in people with certain medical conditions. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid using A. lancea due to a lack of safety data.

Conclusion and Future Perspectives

  1. lancea has a long history of use in traditional Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, and scientific studies have begun to uncover its potential therapeutic benefits. The phytochemical profile of A. lancea is diverse, and its active compounds possess various pharmacological properties, including immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal effects. Further research is warranted to substantiate these therapeutic claims and to develop novel treatments based on the findings. The safety of A. lancea has been generally well-established, but more studies are needed to investigate its long-term effects and potential interactions with other medications. The traditional use and scientific studies suggest that A. lancea has promising potential as a natural remedy for many health conditions.

References:

  1. Li, R., et al. (2017). Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC: Review its traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and quality control. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 209, 195-215.
  2. Nishioka, I. (1999). Traditional uses and scientific approaches of Atractylodes plants. Food Reviews International, 15(4), 349-371.
  3. Li, Y., et al. (2015). Genetic variation in Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. based on complete chloroplast genome sequences. PloS one, 10(6), e0130546.
  4. Sharma, P. V. (2011). Caraka Samhita: Text with English Translation. Chaukhambha Orientalia.
  5. Bown, D. (2001). The encyclopedia of herbs and their uses. DK Pub.
  6. Zhao, F., et al. (2018). Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC.: A review on its ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and industrialization. Current pharmaceutical design, 24(16), 1750-1767.
  7. Zhang, M., et al. (2014). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oil of Atractylodes lancea. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 8(15), 596-600.
  8. Park, S. H., et al. (2016). Anti-inflammatory effects of Atractylodes lancea extract in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Molecular Medicine Reports, 13(6), 4549-4556.
  9. Han, J. W., et al. (2010). Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of essential oil from Atractylodes lancea. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 13(2), 168-174.
  10. Li, X., et al. (2019). The immune regulatory polysaccharides from Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC.: A review of extraction, purification, structural characteristics, and bioactivities. Molecules, 24(22), 4066.
  11. Feng, Y. N., et al. (2019). Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC.: Review its phytochemistry, pharmacology, quality control, and future research directions. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 236, 185-204.
  12. Wang, Y., et al. (2019). Immunomodulatory activity of polysaccharides from Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. in cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 9(1), 87-94.
  13. Park, S. H., et al. (2016). Anti-inflammatory effects of Atractylodes lancea extract in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Molecular Medicine Reports, 13(6), 4549-4556.
  14. Song, X., et al. (2017). Anti-tumor activity of Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. and its potential mechanism. Scientific Reports, 7, 46579.
  15. Kim, K. S., et al. (2012). β-Eudesmol suppresses the expression of nuclear factor-κB-mediated matrix metalloproteinase-9 and vascular endothelial growth factor in MCF-7 cells. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 35(3), 327-332.
  16. Chen, S., et al. (2019). Protective effects of Atractylodes lancea against alcohol and CCl4-induced liver injury in rats. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 43(4), e12713.
  17. Zhou, M., et al. (2017). Antidiabetic activity of polysaccharides from Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. and their effect on GLUT4 translocation in vitro. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 98, 766-773.
  18. Li, S., et al. (2017). Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of the essential oil from Atractylodes lancea. Molecules, 22(8), 1271.
  19. Hu, X., et al. (2019). Gastroprotective effects of polysaccharides from Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. on gastric ulcer in rats induced by ethanol and indomethacin. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 134, 1013-1021.
  20. Lee, J., et al. (2015). Atractylodes lancea extract improves cognitive function and enhances hippocampal neurogenesis via Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Journal of medicinal food, 18(7), 776-782.
  21. Kim, Y. M., et al. (2017). Anti-hypertensive effects of Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. and its active constituent, β-eudesmol, via modulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and oxidative stress. Phytomedicine, 28, 39-47.
  22. Kim, J. H., et al. (2018). Inhibitory effect of Atractylodes lancea rhizome extract on melanogenesis in B16F10 cells through regulation of CREB/MITF, PI3K/Akt, and ERK signaling pathways. Journal of natural medicines, 72(3), 732-740.
  23. Tian, L., et al. (2012). Acute and sub-chronic toxicity of Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. aqueous extract in rodents. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 141(1), 17-24.
  24. Zhang, D. D., et al. (2016). Oral subchronic toxicity evaluation of Atractylodes lancea (Thunb.) DC. in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 185, 100-105.
  25. Yang, B., et al. (2013). Safety evaluation of Atractylodes lancea in rats: acute, subacute and genotoxicity studies. Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, 67(1), 48-56

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