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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 812163, 7 pages
Original Article

Evaluation of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity in Kampo Medicine

1Center for Kampo Medicine, School of Medicine Keio University, 35 Shinano-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
2Laboratory of Food and Biodynamics, Nagoya University Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya, Japan

Received 9 September 2008; Accepted 5 December 2008

Copyright © 2011 Ko Nishimura 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.


Antioxidant capacity of food has come to be shown in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) mainly on vegetables or fruit. However, the evaluation of Kampo in terms of ORAC has not yet been accomplished. It is important that such an investigation is also conducted for Kampo medicine. We measured the ORAC value of almost all the available Kampo formulas used in the Japanese National health insurance system and examined the ORAC value both for the daily prescription, and also the crude herb ingredients. The ORAC value of Kampo medicine ranged 4.65–5913 units/day. The ORAC value was high in Kampo formulas including Rhei Rhizoma, and was relatively high in Kampo formulas including anti-inflammatory herbs other than Rhei Rhizoma. The ORAC value was also high in Kampo formulas including crude herbs that have relaxation effects. The ORAC value of a crude herb would seem to not be fixed but be dependent on combination with other crude herbs from the comparison of different herbs added to the basic Kampo medicine. These results suggest variability and complexity of the antioxidant capacity of Kampo medicine within the similar range of food. On the other hand, investigation of the compound changes of various crude herbs with ORAC may lead to the elucidation of the action mechanism of Kampo medicine.