85. Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs

Ko, Kam Ming; Leung, Hoi Yan

Chinese tonifying herbs such as Herba Cistanche, Ganoderma and Cordyceps, which possess antioxidant and/or immunomodulatory activities, can be useful in the prevention and treatment of age-related diseases. Pharmacological studies on Yang and Yin tonifying herbs suggest that Yang tonifying herbs stimulate mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation, presumably through the intermediacy of reactive oxidant species, leading to the enhancement of cellular/mitochondrial antioxidant status. Yin tonifying herbs, however, apart from possessing antioxidant properties, exert mainly immunomodulatory functions that may boost a weak immune system and may also suppress overreactive immune responses. The abilities of Yang and Yin Chinese tonifying herbs to enhance ATP generation and to exhibit antioxidant and/or immunomodulatory actions are the pharmacological basis for their beneficial effects on the retardation of aging.