Leong PK, Leung HY, Chan WM, Ko KM
 Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, China
According to Chinese medicine theory, Yang/Qi plays a pivotal role in driving physiological functions in the body, these being highly dependent on mitochondrial ATP production. Consistent with this, Yang/Qi-invigorating Chinese tonifying herbs have been found to stimulate mitochondrial ATP generation capacity (ATP-GC) in H9c2 cardiomyocytes. In the present study, we have demonstrated that Yang-invigorating Chinese tonifying herbs (namely, Eucommiae Cortex, Cibotii Rhizoma, Dipsaci Radix, Cynomorii Herba, Cistanches Herba, Cuscutae Semen, EpimediiHerba and Morindae Radix) and Qi-invigorating Chinese tonifying herbs (namely, Ginseng Radix, Pseudostellariae Radix, Quinquefolii Radix, Codonopsis Radix, Astragali Radix, Atractylodis Rhizoma, Juiubae Fructus, Fici Simplicissimae Radix and Dioscoreae Oppositae Radix) act by different mechanisms to stimulate mitochondrial ATP-GC. While Yang-invigorating herbs fluidize mitochondrial membranes and thus stimulate ATP-GC, Qi-invigorating herbs can enhance cellular glutathione status and increase ATP-GC. The different mechanisms by which Yang-invigorating herbs and Qi-invigorating herbs stimulate mitochondrial ATP-GC may serve as the basis for establishing biomarkers for Yang/Qi-invigorating herbs and herbal health products in general.