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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 913461, 9 pages
Research Article

Neuroprotective Effect of Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi) on Ma Huang- (Herb Ephedra-) Induced Toxicity in Rats Treated with a Ma Huang-Gui Zhi Herb Pair

1School of Chinese Medical Sciences, Southern Medical University, 510515 Guangzhou, China
2Guangdong Province Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicine Pharmaceutics, Southern Medical University, 510515 Guangzhou, China

Received 28 September 2014; Revised 2 January 2015; Accepted 3 January 2015

Academic Editor: William Chi-shing Cho

Copyright © 2015 Fang-hao Zheng 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.


Herb Ephedra (Ma Huang in Chinese) and Ramulus Cinnamomi (Gui Zhi in Chinese) are traditional Chinese herbs, often used together to treat asthma, nose and lung congestion, and fever with anhidrosis. Due to the adverse effects of ephedrine, clinical use of Ma Huang is restricted. However, Gui Zhi extract has been reported to decrease spontaneous activity in rats and exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. The present study explored the possible inhibitory effect of Gui Zhi on Ma Huang-induced neurotoxicity in rats when the two herbs were used in combination. All Ma Huang and Ma Huang-Gui Zhi herb pair extracts were prepared using methods of traditional Chinese medicine and were normalized based on the ephedrine content. Two-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats ( rats/group) were administered Ma Huang or the Ma Huang-Gui Zhi herb pair extracts for 7 days (ephedrine = 48 mg/kg), and locomotor activity was measured. After 7 days, oxidative damage in the prefrontal cortex was measured. Gui Zhi decreased hyperactivity and sensitization produced by repeated Ma Huang administration and attenuated oxidative stress induced by Ma Huang. The results of this study demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of Gui Zhi in Ma Huang-induced hyperactivity and oxidative damage in the prefrontal cortex of rats when used in combination.