Niu Xi

Achyranthes Radix, Achyranthes


Decoction, 5~15g.


LD50 (mice/abdominal injection): 6.4g/kg (ecdysterone), 7.8g/kg (inokosterone). LD50 (mice/oral/herb decoction): 146.49g/kg. (1)

Chemical Composition

Glucuronic acid; Galactose; Galacturonic acid; Arabinose; Rhamnoseglycine; Glutamic acid; Aspartic acid; Serine; Ecdysterone; Inokosterone; Rubrosterone; Arginine; Aminoacetic acid; Serine; Asparagic acid; Aminoglutaric acid; Threonine; Proline; Tyrosine; Tryptophan; Valine; Phenylalanine; Leucine; Oleanolic acid (-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(-D-galactopyranoside. (2)


Contraindications: diarrhea due to spleen deficiency, nocturnal emission, menorrhagia, and pregnancy.


Effects on immune activity

Administered i.p. to mice with H-22 ascitic type liver cancer, Niu Xi polysaccharides can enhance the anti-tumor activity of NK cells and IL-2-activated LAK cells, and can significantly increase the production of TNF-( and IL-2. These results indicate that Niu Xi polysaccharides have the potential of being developed into a new antineoplastic immunopotentiator. Niu Xi polysaccharides can enhance the activities of lactic dehydrogenase and acid phosphatase in in-vitro-cultured human intrathoracic macrophage, and significantly increase the levels of tumor necrosin-( level and leukocyte amboceptor-6. Niu Xi's tumor necrosin-(-inducing effect is significantly dose-dependent induction results showed significant dose-effect correlation. (3) , (4)

Effects on protein assimilation

Niu Xi ecdyterone or Niu Xi inokosterone can significantly enhance protein and RNA syntheses in mice's liver. Ecdyterone can increase the total protein level in immature rats, and increase the content of hepatic glycogen and muscle glycogen. (5) , (6)

Anti-aging effects

Fed to modeled senile mice for 30 days, Niu Xi decoction can significantly increase the activity of SOD and decrease the level of LPO in the plasma. (7)

Analgesic effects

Body torsion and hot plate experiments show that at the dosages of 120mg/kg, 60mg/kg, and 30mg/kg, achyranthes bidentatasaponins (ABS) have a significant analgesic effect in mice. The analgesic effects of Niu Xi appear to be dose-dependent. (8)

Anti-inflammatory effects

Gastrolavage of wine processed Niu Xi 10g/kg (raw herb) can promote the elmination of egg white-induced foot swelling in rats. Gastrolavage of Niu Xi at 5g/kg can significantly promote rats' recovery from formaldehyde-induced arthritis. (9)

Effects on chronic liver damages

Administered to rats at low dosages, Niu Xi is relatively effective in lowering serological ALT, increasing serum albumin, enhancing SOD activity, and lowering MDA. (10)

Effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems

Niu Xi extract solution has a moderate inhibitory effect on isolated frog hearts, and on the hearts of cats and dogs under anesthesia, decreasing the contraction suppressive effects on isolated frog heart, and anesthetic cat and dog heart. It weakens contraction. Both Niu Xi decoction and extract (IV injection at 1g/kg) have a mild inhibitory effect on sintravenous injection of extract solution at 1g/kg has mild suppressive effects on in-vivo toad hearts. Overdose, however, can cause conduction blockage and temporary cardiac arrest. (11) , (12)

Effects on the blood rheology of mice with experimental arthritis

Niu Xi San can significantly decrease the subjects' total blood viscosity, but has no notable effect on their plasma viscosity or blood sedimentation. (13)

Effects on the activity of mice's cerebral mitochondrial monoamine oxidase (MAO)

Experiments show that Niu Xi can inhibit the activity of mice's cerebral mitochondrial monoamine oxidase. (14)

Cytotoxic effect

The high molecular polymer portion of water-based extract of Niu Xi is cytotoxic. The IC50 value was 5.2/g·ml-1. Polysaccharides are the main ingredients, which are made up by monosaccharides, xylose, mannose, and fructose. (15)

Preventing atherosclerosis

Niu Xi can prevent atherosclerosis. The effect is related to its capacity to decrease the levels of blood lipid and lipid peroxide. (16)

Effects on the gastrointestinal tract

Administered to dogs and rabbits by IV injection at the dosage of 0.15-0.4g/kg, Niu Xi decoction initially excites and then inhibits the subjects' stomach movement. Niu Xi has an inhibitory effect on the isolated intestines of mice. (17)

Effects on memory and endurance

Fed to mice for 7 consecutive days, Niu Xi decoction can significantly improve pentobarbital induced dysmnesia, lengthen the latent period of the first jump in the platform jumping test, reduce the number of mistakes in the first 5 minutes, and lengthen the mice's with-load swimming time. (18)

Hemolytic effects

Niu Xi contains saponin, and therefore, used individually, Niu Xi has a hemolytic effect. When used in combination with Huang Bo and Cang Zhu (as in the formulas San Miao Wan and Si Miao Wan) however, Niu Xi loses its hemolytic effect. (19)

Cholagogic effects

Ecdysterone, an active component of Niu Xi, not only promotes bile secretion, but also alters bile's composition in rats, increasing the levels of cholic acid and bilirubin, and decreasing that of cholestrol. (20)

Effects on the uterus

Both Niu Xi decoction and total glycosides have a relatively pronounced excitatory effect on the isolated uteruses of mice, virgin rats, rabbits, and cats. (21) , (22)

Antifertility effects

Both total glycosides and benzene-based extract of Niu Xi have a significant anti-implantation in pregnant mice. (23) , (24)

Lowering blood sugar

Both ecdysterone and inokosterone, two active components of Niu Xi, have a significant inhibitory effect on the hyperglycemia induced by glucagon, alloxan, and anti-insulin serum. (25) , (26) , (27)


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