and Immunomodulatory Activities of Chinese Tonifying Herbs
Yim T.K.; Ko K.M.
In an effort to investigate the pharmacological basis for the health promoting actions of Chinese tonifying herbs in four main categories ( Qi -invigorating, blood -enriching, Yin -nourishing and Yang -promoting), antioxidant and immunomodulatory activities of the methanol extracts prepared from 36 tonifying herbs were examined by both in vitro and ex vivo assay systems. The results indicated that the tested herbs showed in vitro (–40%) and ex vivo (–30%) antioxidant activities. Among the herbs, almost 60% of the Yang -promoting herbs showed in vitro antioxidant activity. The overall correlation between in vitro and ex vivo antioxidant activities was poor, except for the Yang -promoting herbs. In regard to immunomodulatory activity, the Qi -invigorating herbs (60%) and Yin -nourishing herbs (75%) showed in vitro immunostimulatory activity, whereas 56% of the Yang -promoting herbs showed in vitro immunosuppressive activity. About half (44%) of all tested herbs showed ex vivo immunostimulatory activity and 6% showed ex vivo immunosuppressive activity. The overall correlation between in vitro and ex vivo immunostimulatory activities was apparent, particularly for the Yin -nourishing and Yang -promoting herbs. The measurement of antioxidant and immunomodulatory activities may serve as a means for functionally relevant quality assessment of Chinese herbs and their related health products.