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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 187036, 12 pages
Research Article

Alleviative Effects of a Kampo (a Japanese Herbal) Medicine “Maoto (Ma-Huang-Tang)” on the Early Phase of Influenza Virus Infection and Its Possible Mode of Action

1Department of Drug Discovery Sciences, Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan
2Graduate School of Infection Control Sciences, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan
3Oriental Medicine Research Center, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8642, Japan

Received 25 November 2013; Revised 17 January 2014; Accepted 25 January 2014; Published 20 March 2014

Academic Editor: Ken Yasukawa

Copyright © 2014 Takayuki Nagai 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.


A Kampo medicine, maoto, has been prescribed in an early phase of influenza-like illness and used for a treatment of influenza clinically in Japan these days. However, the efficacy of maoto against the virus infection remains to be elucidated. This study was conducted to evaluate the alleviative effects of maoto against early phase of influenza virus infection and its preliminary mode of actions through immune systems. When maoto (0.9 and 1.6 g/kg/day) was orally administered to A/J mice on upper respiratory tract infection of influenza virus A/PR/8/34 from 4 hours to 52 hours postinfection (p.i.) significant antipyretic effect was shown in comparison with water-treated control. Administration of maoto (0.8 and 1.3 g/kg/day) significantly decreased the virus titers in both nasal (NLF) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (BALF) at 52 hours p.i., and significantly increased the anti-influenza virus IgM, IgA, and IgG1 antibody titers in NLF, BALF, and serum, respectively. Maoto also increased significantly the influenza virus-bound IgG1 and IgM antibody titers in serum and the virus-bound IgM antibody titer in even the BALF of uninfected A/J mice. These results indicate that maoto exerts antipyretic activity in influenza virus-infected mice and virus reducing effect at an early phase of the infection through probably augmentation of the virus-bound natural antibodies.