Atractylodes rhizome, atractylodes root, cancer
Atractylodes, a genus in the plant family-Asteracease, are very popular in Asian
herbal medicine. Atractylodes macrocephala (Rhizoma Atractylodis; 白朮) is an herb
used in traditional Chinese medicine. Without much scientific support, atractylodes
macrocephala is believed to benefit people at risk of diabetes. [Wikepedia]

Other species include Atractylodes carlinoides, Atractylodes chinensis, Atractylodes
comosa, Atractylodes cuneata, Atratylodes erosodentata, Atractylodes japonica,
Atractylodes koreana, Atractylodes ovata and Atractylodes rubra. [Wikepedia]

What are the potential health benefits of Atractylodes rhizomes?

Atractylodes japonica benefits

Researchers from Tohoku University, Japan, demonstrated the hypoglycemic actions
of atractans A, B and C from buyaku-jutsu (Atractylodes japonica) in normal and
alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice. [2]

Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities
The aqueous extract of Atractylodes japonica was found to suppress nitric oxide
production and prostaglandin E2 synthesis by inhibition of the lipopolysaccharide-
stimulated enhancement of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2
mRNAs expressions in RAW 264.7 macrophages. These results support the idea that
Atractylodes japonica may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities.[11]

Korean researchers combined extracts from Achyranthes bidentata and Atractylodes
japonica and they found that this formula reduced collagen-induced arthritis, adjuvant-
induced arthritis, and zymosan-induced inflammation. [10]

Atractylodes lancea benefits

Kimura I from Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University claimed that beta-
Eudesmol found in Atractylodes lancea rhizome has a desensitizing channel blocking
action to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, anti-angiogenic action in vascular
endothelium, and neuronal differentiation actions. These multiple pharmacological
actions benefit for treating angiogenic diseases like retinopathy and nephropathy of
diabetes and certain cancers. [9]

Atractylodes ovata benefits

Anti-oxidative Activity
The dried rhizome of Bai Zhu (Atractylodes ovata) is widely used as a Chinese
herbal medicine. Researchers from Taipei Medical University Hospital isolated two
sesquiterpenolides - atractylenolide I, AT-I and atractylenolide III, AT-III. They found
atractylenolide I showed dose-dependent cytotoxic activities on the human
promyeloleukemic HL-60 cells but atractylenolide III didn't. The AT-I appeared to
exhibit both pro-oxidant and antioxidant properties. [7]

Atroctylodes rhizomes / Atractylodis macrocephalae Benefits

Atroctylodes Macrocephalae Benefit - Liver Protection
Extracts of Atroctylodes rhizomes showed antihepatotoxic activities in vitro studies.
Ingredients, such as atractylon, beta-eudesmol, and hinesol, are found to exert
significant liver-protective effects. [1]

Atroctyldes Macrocephalae Benefit - Anti-inflammatory Activities
Researchers from Xi'an Jiaotong University demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory
activities of five components extracted from Atractylodis macrocephalae in a study of
mice suffered from ear edema. [3]

Atroctylodes Macrocephalae Benefit - anti-cancer
In a study of 158 patients suffered from late gastric carcinoma, researchers from
Ruijin Hospital, China, found a herbal formula containing Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae,
Radix Astragali seu Hedysari, Rhizoma Atractylodes, Herba Solani Hyrati, Herba
Oldenlandiae and Herba Salviae enhanced the outcome of some popular
chemotherapies. Enhanced immunity, especially the function of peripheral NK cells,
was observed in some of the patients. While the formula given to mice bearing Ehrlich
ascites tumor, the cancer cell count decreased and the survival rate of the animals
increased. [13]

Zee-Cheng RK from University of Kansas Medical Center suggested an important
Chinese herbal formula for
cancers - Shi-Quan-Da-Bu-Tang (Ten Significant Tonic
Decoction; SQT (Juzentaihoto, TJ-48) in his review article. Shi-Quan-Da-Bu-Tang,
formulated by Taiping Hui-Min Ju in Chinese Song Dynasty (AD 1200), is a mixture of
ten herbal extracts - Rehmannia glutinosa, Paeonia lactiflora, Liqusticum wallichii,
Angelica sinesis, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Poria cocos, Atractylodes macrocephala,
Panax ginseng. Astragalus membranaceus and Cinnamomum cassia. This formula
has been used to tone the blood and vital energy, and strengthen health and
immunity. It has been believed to benefit people suffered from anemia,
extreme exhaustion, fatigue, kidney and spleen insufficiency and general weakness
during recovery. [14]

Animal models and clinical studies have revealed that SQT has a low toxicity (LD50 >
15 g/kg op murine). This formula has been shown to potentiate the therapeutic
effects of anti-cancer drugs such as mitomycin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide and
fluorouracil as well as radiotherapy. It also helps to lower the side adversed effects,
such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, hematotoxicity, immunosuppression, leukopenia,
thrombocytopenia, anemia and nephropathy, of many anticancer drugs. [14]

Professor Ling Changquan from Changhai Hospital studied 552 patients suffered
from liver cancer with various herbal medicine. He claimed that most herbs, including
Atractylodes macrocephala, he studied actually could improve appetite, remove toxics
and subside tumor growth. [4] In 2008, researchers from various Chinese institutes
reported atractylenolide I extracted from large-head atractylodes rhizome could help
in management of gastric cancer. They found the chemical helps in alleviating
symptoms, in modulating cytokine and in inhibiting PIF proteolysis of gastric cancer
cachexia. [5]

Korean researchers extracted selina-4(14),7(11)-dien-8-one (a sesquiterpenoid
compound) from the extract of Atractylodis Rhizoma Alba -and they found it
dramatically reduced melanin synthesis of melan-a cells without any apparent
cytotoxicity. They thought this sesquiterpenoid compound could decrease the
expression of melanogenic enzymes such as tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein 1
(TRP-1), and tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2). [6]

Atractylodes macrocephala benefits - neural protection
Chukmesundan containing Panex ginseng, Atractylodes macrocephala, Poria cocos,
Pinellia ternata, Brassica alba, Aconitum carmichaeli, Cynanchum atratum and
Cuscuta chinensis has been used to treat hypertension and cerebrovascular
disorders in Korea. Researchers from Sungkyunkwan University and National
Research Laboratory for Glycobiology further demonstrated that this herbal
combination might also offer health benefits of neural protection. [8]

Astragalus macrocephala benefits - gastric condition
In a study of 75 cases of gastric disease caused by campylobacter pyloridis, Fu-
zheng, a combination of Astragalus membranaceus, Atractylodes macrocephala and
Paeonia lactiflora enhanced the effect of gentamycin. The author, Dr Fang JY,
Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of TCM, Nanjing, explained the enhancement was related
to modulation of immune function. He believed combined uses of Chinese traditional
medicine and drug decrease the side effects and enhance the therapeutic effects.

Atractylenolide I (8,9-dehydroasterolide), 4,15-epoxy-8 beta-hydroxyasterolide and
atractylenolide III (8 beta-hydroasterolide inhibited the gastrointestinal movement of
rat and the spasm induced by the agonists. Their activities are shown to be related to
the inhibition of cholinergic system and calcium ions. [My question: Does it cause
constipation as a side effect, especially when the user overdoses his/herself?]

Research on atractrylodis macrocephalae rhizoma in 2011

Therapeutic Potential of DCB-SLE1, an Extract of a Mixture of Chinese Medicinal Herbs, for Severe
Lupus Nephritis. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Jun 15.
REMARK DCB-SLE1 is a mixture of four
traditional Chinese medicinal herbs (Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma, Eucommiae Cortex,
Lonicerae Caulis, and Hedyotidis Diffusae Herba) shows effects on an accelerated severe lupus
nephritis model.

Antidepressant-like effects of the fractions of Xiaoyaosan on rat model of chronic unpredictable
mild stress. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 May 26.
REMARK Xiaoyaosan, composed of Radix Bupleuri,
Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Radix Paeoniae Alba, Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Poria,
Herba Menthae, Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens and Radix Glycyrrhizae, is a valuable traditional
Chinese medicine (TCM) which is used for the treatment of depression in China. Zhou Y and other
researchers found lipophilic components contribute to the antidepressant effect.

Effects on neuroendocrinoimmune network of Lizhong Pill in the reserpine induced rats with
spleen deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 27;133(2):454-9.  
REMARK Lizhong Pill, composed of radix Ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), rhizoma Zingiberis
(Zingiber officinale Roscoe), rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (Atractylodes macrocephala
Koidz.) and radix Glycytthizae (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.), is a classical herbal product for curing
spleen deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and reserpine treated rats show similar
signs to TCM spleen deficiency pattern. The rats treated with reserpine, with similar signs to TCM
spleen deficiency, show neuroendocrinoimmune disorders, and the restoration of the
neuroendocrinoimmune disorders might be the part of mechanism of Lizhong Pill for reinforcing
TCM spleen deficiency.


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Hypoglycemic Activity of Atractans A, B and C, Glycans of Atractylodes japonica Rhizomes1. Planta
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isolated from Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz. Nat Prod Res. 2008;22(16):1418-27. [4] Sun Z, Su
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Wang R, Qiu G. A Randomized Pilot Study of Atractylenolide I on Gastric Cancer Cachexia Patients.
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