Da Huang

Rhizoma Rhei Radix, Rhubarb

Dosage

Decoction: 3-12g.

Toxicity

No deaths occurred within 72 hours of administering alcohol-based extract of Da Huang to mice by abdominal injection at 40g/kg; the same was true within 72 hours of administering Da Huang decoction to rats by oral feeding at 30g/kg. (1) LD50 (mice/oral/herb decoction): 153.5 ± 4.5g/kg. (2)

Chemical Composition

Sennosidea, SA; Rhein; Emodin, III, IV, V; Aloe-emodin, III, IV; Rheum qinlingense; Chrysophanol, I; Physcione, II; Rheum hotaoense; b-sitosterol, I, III; Rhapontigenin, II; Gallic acid, III; Daucosterol, V; Rhein-8-O-b-D-glucoside, R8G; Rheinoside A (RA), C(RC), D(RD); Chrysophanol 8-O-b-D-glucopyranoside, V; Physcione 8-O-b-D-glucopyranoside, VI; Aloe-emodin 8-O-b-D-glucopyranoside, VII; Emodin 8-O-b-D-glucopyranoside, VIII; Piceatannol-3’-O-b-D-glucopyrano (rheumin); Chrysophanol 8-O-b-D-(6’-O-malonyl) glucopyranoside, X; 3-(3’, 5’-dihydroxyltrans-cinnamoyl)-5-hydroxyl-D-a-pyranone, IV. (3) , (4) , (5) , (6) , (7) , (8) , (9) , (10) , (11)

Inorganic Chemicals

Na, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn.

Precautions

Exercise caution when administering Da Huang to patients of spleen and stomach deficiencies, of qi and blood insufficiencies, or to pre-fetal and postpartum women, or women in menstruation or lactation. (12)

Reported adverse effects include nebula, intestinal melanosis, allergic purpura, and bullous eruption in new-born babies. (13) , (14) , (15) , (16) , (17)

Pharmacology

Antibacterial effects

In-vitro experiments show that Da Huang processed by various methods invariably has an inhibitory effect on the following bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus albus, Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, Typhoid bacillus, Bacillus paratyphosus, Beta hemolytic streptococcus, Neisseria cararrhalis, and anaerobic bacteria. (18) , (19)

Effects on tumor necrosis factors and phospholipase A2

Da Huang can significantly ameliorate the low blood pressure condition in rats caused by intestinal ischemic-reperfusion. It can also noticeably inhibit reperfusion-induced increase in the activity of myeloperoxidase (MPO), intestinal ischemia and reperfusion-induced early-stage increase in plasma and lung tissue tumor necrosis factors, and intestinal ischemia and reperfusion-induced increase in phospholipase A2 activity in the serum, lung, and small intestine tissue. (20)

Effects on lipid metabolic disorders

Experiments show that Da Huang can significantly ameliorate lipid metabolic disorders in rats of chronic renal deficiency due to seven-eighth kidney removal. (21)

Effects on gastrointestinal mucous membrane blood perfusion

Da Huang can increase gastrointestinal mucous membrane blood perfusion in rats in hemorrhagic shock and in patients who are critically ill. (22)

Effects on the release of endogenous nitrogen oxide in rats with lung damage due to intestinal ischemia and reperfusion

Da Huang can significantly ameliorate small intestine ischemia and reperfusion-induced low blood pressure condition in rats, inhibiting the release of endogenous nitrogen oxide in the plasma, lung, and small intestine tissue, and lowering the permeability of pulmonary capillaries. (23)

Effects on the external matrix of glomerulus cells

Experiments show that in rats of hyperplastic glomerular nephritis, Da Huang can significantly inhibit the expansion of mesangium. (24)

Effects on blood platelet aggregation and the rheology of red blood cells

Fed to rats, Da Huang can noticeably inhibit blood platelet aggregation, and decrease red blood cells’ ability to cluster. (25)

Suppressing liver lipid peroxide

Experiments show that both water and alcohol-based extracts of Da Huang have a significant suppressive effect on the formation of lipid peroxide in isolated mouse liver. (26)

Anti-aging effects

Experiments show that Da Huang decoction at different concentration levels invariably increases the activity of SOD, GSH-Px in the blood of mice, and lowers the level of LPO. This effect of Da Huang appears to be dose-dependent. (27)

Antiviral effects

Alcohol-based extract of Da Huang has a significant antiviral effect on Hela, hep-2, PRK, and BHK21. On herpes simplex virus and varicellu-zoster virus, the effective concentration for suppression is 100mg/L. And on rubella virus Gos-10 and JR23, the effective concentration levels are 10,000mg/L and 5,000mg/L, respectively. Alcohol-based extract of Da Huang can also prevent viral infection and directly kill virus. (28)

Enhancing immunity

Administered to mice by either peritoneal perfusion or nasal inhaling, the emulsion of Da Huang volatile oil can significantly enhance 2, 4-dinitro chlorobenzene-induced delayed skin hypersensitivity reaction and phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphocyte transformation reaction in mice. It can also increase the phagocytosis capacity of mice’s abdominal macrophage. (29)

Effects on intestinal mucous membrane barrier

Da Huang can ameliorate endotoxin-induced low blood pressure and endotoxin-induced increase in intestinal wall blood vessel permeability, inhibit intestinal bacteria and viruses from entering blood circulation, maintain transmucosal electric potential difference, and keep intestinal mucous membrane barrier intact. (30) , (31)

Effects on the secretory function of pulmonary alveoli macrophagocytes

In-vitro experiments show that Da Huang can significantly suppress endotoxin-induced secretion of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-a), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) by pulmonary alveoli macrophagocytes, thus decreasing lung damages caused by the excessive secretion of TNF-a, IL-1, and IL-6. (32)

Effects on inflammatory media

Da Huang has a significant preventive and therapeutic effect on the inflammatory reaction in rats in endotoxic shock. (33)

Counteracting hepatitis B virus (HBV)

The median toxic concentration of Da Huang volatile oil against cells is greater than 0.125g/L. When the concentration is below 0.0625g/L, 90% of the cells can survive. Da Huang volatile oil’s maximum inhibition rate against HbsAg and HbeAg are 70.71 ± 5.4% and 30.99 ± 5.3%, respectively, indicating that Da Huang volatile oil can inhibit HBV externally. (34)

References

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