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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 985176, 8 pages
Research Article

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of 81 Chinese Herb Extracts and Their Correlation with the Characteristics of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Pudong, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 26 November 2013; Accepted 13 January 2014; Published 20 February 2014

Academic Editor: Yemeng Chen

Copyright © 2014 Chang-Liang Chen and Dan-Dan Zhang. 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.


Inducible nitrogen oxide synthase (iNOS) is the primary contributor of the overproduction of nitric oxide and its inhibitors have been actively sought as effective anti-inflammatory agents. In this study, we prepared 70% ethanol extracts from 81 Chinese herbs. These extracts were subsequently evaluated for their effect on nitrogen oxide (NO) production and cell growth in LPS/IFN -costimulated and unstimulated murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells by Griess reaction and MTT assay. Extracts of Daphne genkwa Zucc, Caesalpinia sappan L., Iles pubescens Arn, Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl, Zingiber officinale Rosc, Inula japonica Thunb., and Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort markedly inhibited NO production (inhibition > 90% at 100  g/mL). Among active extracts (inhibition > 50% at 100  g/mL), Rubia cordifolia L., Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Iles pubescens Arn, Nigella glandulifera Freyn et Sint, Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi, and Scutellaria barbata D. Don displayed no cytotoxicity to unstimulated RAW246.7 cells while increasing the growth of LPS/IFN -costimulated cells. By analyzing the correlation between their activities and their Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) characteristics, herbs with pungent flavor displayed potent anti-inflammatory capability. Our study provides a series of potential anti-inflammatory herbs and suggests that herbs with pungent flavor are candidates of effective anti-inflammatory agents.