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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 128402, 8 pages
Research Article

Anti-Hyperglycemic Properties of Crude Extract and Triterpenes from Poria cocos

1Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan
2Department and Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan
3Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
4Institute of Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
5Department of Life Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan

Received 1 April 2010; Accepted 7 August 2010

Copyright © 2011 Tzu-Hsuan Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Poria cocos, Bai Fu Ling in Chinese, is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes. However, its claimed benefits and mechanism are not fully understood. This study aimed to investigate the effect and action of P. cocos on type 2 diabetes. We first performed phytochemical analysis on the crude extract and factions of P. cocos. P. cocos crude extract at 50 mg/kg body weight or more significantly decreased blood glucose levels in db/db mice. Based on a bioactivity-directed fractionation and isolation (BDFI) strategy, chloroform fraction and subfractions 4 and 6 of the P. cocos crude extract possessed a blood glucose-lowering effect. Dehydrotumulosic acid, dehydrotrametenolic acid, and pachymic acid were identified from the chloroform sub-fractions 4, 3, and 2, respectively. Dehydrotumulosic acid had anti-hyperglycemic effect to a greater extent than dehydrotrametenolic acid and pachymic acid. Mechanistic study on streptozocin- (STZ-) treated mice showed that the crude extract, dehydrotumulosic acid, dehydrotrametenolic acid, and pachymic acid of P. cocos exhibited different levels of insulin sensitizer activity. However, the P. cocos crude extract and triterpenes appeared not to activate PPAR- pathway. Overall, the data suggest that the P. cocos extract and its triterpenes reduce postprandial blood glucose levels in db/db mice via enhanced insulin sensitivity irrespective of PPAR- .