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Assessing the efficacy of compounds in traditional Chinese medicine vs. ulcerative colitis


In this review, researchers from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine discussed different kinds of active compounds extracted from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that possess anti-ulcerative colitis effects. The article was published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.

  • Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the colon. The incidence of UC is rising worldwide.
  • The pathogenesis of UC is multifactorial and involves genetic predisposition, epithelial barrier defects, dysregulated immune responses, and environmental factors.
  • Today, drugs like 5-aminosalicylic acid, steroids, and immunosuppressants are used to treat UC. However, long-term use of these drugs can cause adverse effects, such as hepatic and renal toxicity, drug resistance, and allergic reactions.
  • On the other hand, TCM has shown potential in treating UC. These medicinal plants are able to reduce the recurrence rate of UC and cause fewer side effects.
  • The active compounds of many TCM with anti-UC effects are mainly flavonoids, acids, terpenoids, phenols, alkaloids, quinones, and bile acids from some animal medicines.
  • According to numerous studies, the anti-UC activities of these compounds involve preventing inflammation or oxidative stress.
  • Their mechanisms of action are associated with increasing levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-10, SOD), suppressing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-a, IL1B, IL-6, IL-8, IL-23, NF-kB, NO), and reducing the activity of MPO, MDA, IFN-y, and iNOS.

The researchers hope that their review could serve as a valuable reference for future studies on anti-UC compounds from natural medicines.

Journal Reference:

Cao SY, Ye SJ, Wang WW, Wang B, Zhang T, Pu YQ. PROGRESS IN ACTIVE COMPOUNDS EFFECTIVE ON ULCERATIVE COLITIS FROM CHINESE MEDICINES. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. February 2019;17(2):81–102. DOI: 10.1016/s1875-5364(19)30012-3



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