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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 241416, 11 pages
Research Article

Comparative Effects of Er-Xian Decoction, Epimedium Herbs, and Icariin with Estrogen on Bone and Reproductive Tissue in Ovariectomized Rats

1School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, No. 325 Guohe Road, Shanghai 200433, China
2Department of Pharmaceutics, No. 455 Hospital of CPLA, Shanghai 200052, China
3Department of Pharmacy, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou 350108, China

Received 12 July 2012; Revised 27 August 2012; Accepted 6 September 2012

Academic Editor: Ahmad Nazrun Shuid

Copyright © 2012 Liming Xue 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.


Er-Xian Decoction (EXD), Epimedium herbs (herbs of Epimedium brevicornum Maxim, EBH), and icariin (ICA) have been proven to have estrogen-like and antiosteoporotic activity and are used for the treatment of osteoporosis, menopausal syndrome, and age-associated diseases. The present study found that EXD, EBH, and ICA treatments, emulating estrogen, significantly contributed to bone density and architecture in OVX rats and that EXD is similar to estrogen and exerts a concomitant effect on bone formation and bone resorption at the tissue level, while EBH and ICA produced bone-protective effects mainly by inhibiting bone resorption. Nevertheless, EXD, EBH, and ICA treatments manifested a fewer adverse effects on the uterus, mammary gland, and vagina compared to estrogen administrations. Among the EXD, EBH, and ICA, EXD was found to have superior efficacy and safety profile.