Acanthopanax spinosus Mig. wu jia pi  五加皮

Acanthopanax spinosus Mig. (Acanthopanax gracilistylus Smith.) (wu jia pi  五加皮 acanthopanax root
bark; Cortex Acanthopanacis Gracilistyli Radicis) Acanthopanax gracilistylus can be found in East Asia. It
has been used for edema, difficulty in urination, weakness and rheumatism. However, its side effects can
be very serious. Wines made of acanthopanax can be toxic to heart, prolonged intake of the wine may
lead to death. General side effects of its wine include blindness, numbness in limbs, dizziness, and
headache. [5]

Its phytochemicals include syringin (紫丁香甙), (-)ent-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid, 16 aplpha hydroxy-I-kauran-
19-oic acid, stearic acid (硬脂酸), d-sesamin (d-芝麻素), vitamins A and B (维生素 A,B), calcium oxalate
(草酸鈣(, palmic acid (棕櫚酸). The skin of its root contains 五加酸(Ⅰ), kaurenoic acid (Ⅱ) (異貝殼杉烯酸),  l-
sesamin(Ⅲ) (l-芝麻素), stigmasterol(Ⅳ) (豆甾醇),sitosterol(Ⅴ) (β-谷甾醇) and eleutheroside B(Ⅵ) (刺五加

Scientific Research - The potential health benefits

Shan BE and co-workers from University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan,
found acanthopanax gracilistylus extracts markedly suppressed the proliferative responses of human
peripheral blood lymphocytes stimulated with mitogens concanavalin A (Con A) and Staphylococcus
aureus Cowan I (SAC). The acanthopanax gracilistylus extracts suppressed the production of interferon-
gamma and immunoglobulin of both T cell and B cells. However, natural killer cell activity was less
sensitive to the suppressive activity of acanthopanax gracilistylus extracts. In contrast, AGE markedly
enhanced monocyte function to produce cytokines. This suggests that acanthopanax gracilistylus extracts
have immunomodulating activity, implying its application in autoimmune and allergic diseases. [2]

Later on, Shan BE and co-workers at The Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University, China, found that
extracts of Acanthopanax gracilistylus halted the proliferation of tumor cells such as MT-2, Raji, HL-60,
TMK-1 and HSC-2 at G0/G1 stage (of cell cycle). It seems that the extracts do not have direct cytotoxic
effect on the tumor cells; the extract may simply lower the expression of Rb, Cdk2 and Cdk4, cause halt of
tumor cell proliferation. [1,2] And, Chen XC from Hainan Medical College. China, found it could inhibit
human platelet aggregation, liberation, and thrombosis in a test tube study. [3]


[1] Shan BE, Fu XM, Hua ZX, Li Q, Liang W, Liu J, Zhang H, Liu G. Study on mechanism of the anti-tumor
activity of Acanthopanax gracilistylus] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2005 Sep;25(9):825-8. [2]
Shan BE, Zeki K, Sugiura T, Yoshida Y, Yamashita U. Chinese medicinal herb, Acanthopanax gracilistylus,
extract induces cell cycle arrest of human tumor cells in vitro. Jpn J Cancer Res. 2000 Apr;91(4):383-9. [3]
Shan BE, Yoshita Y, Sugiura T, Yamashita U. Suppressive effect of Chinese medicinal herb,
Acanthopanax gracilistylus, extract on human lymphocytes in vitro. Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Oct;118(1):41-
8.  [3] Chen XC, Xia L, Hu S, Huang G. Inhibitory effects of Acanthopanax gracilistylus saponins on human
platelet aggregation and platelet factor 4 liberation in vitro. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1996 Nov;17(6):
523-6. [5]
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