African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

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Combinative effects of Thanh Hao Miet Giap Thang (sweetwormwood and tortoise shell decoction) ingredients on antioxidative activity in vitro

MN Nguyen, TV Nguyen, TD Ho-Huynh


Background: Traditional formulae usually exhibit therapeutic effects through the combinations of different ingredients. The purpose of this study was to investigate in vitro anti-oxidative activity of Thanh Hao Miet Giap Thang (THMGT) (Sweet Wormwood and Tortoise Shell Decoction) formula and the interactions of its ingredients leading to the overall anti-oxidative effect.
Materials and Methods: We prepared 31 combinations containing two to four of the five ingredients including Herba Artemisia apiacea L (HbA),
Carapax Trionycis (Tryonix sinensis) (CT), Rhizoma Anemarrhenae (Anemarrhena asphodeloides) (RzA), Radix Rehmanniae (Rehmannia glutinosa
Libosch) (RdR), Moutan Cortex (Paeonia suffruticosa) (MC). These  combinations were tested for anti-oxidative activity using DCFH-DA and DPPH assays on Hep G2 cells. We also analyzed changes in expression of genes involved in antioxidant defense system including Nuclear Factor Erythroid-Derived 2-Like 2 (NFE2L2), catalase (CAT), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase (SOD1), mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2).
Results: The complete formula and all combinations containing Moutan Cortex showed high antioxidant activity in both radical solution-based
chemical assay and cellular-based assay. On the contrary, Carapax Trionycis displayed inhibitory effect on the overall antioxidant activity when
present in a combination, an effect clearly emphasized in cellular-based assay. Hep G2 cells treated with the formula showed increased gene
expression of HO-1 and SOD2 while expression of CAT, SOD1, GPx was unchanged.
Conclusion: Our results suggested that THMGT had anti-oxidative activity essentially through intrinsic reducing capacities and the overall activity of
the formula resulted from enhancing and inhibiting interactions of  ingredients.

Key words: Thanh Hao Miet Giap Thang, Sweet Wormwood and Tortoise Shell Decoction, antioxidant, traditional formula

Abbreviations: THMGT, Thanh Hao Miet Giap Thang; HbA, Herba Artemisia apiacea; CT, Carapax Tryonicis; RzA, Rhizoma Anemarrhenae; MC,
Moutan Cortex; RdR, Radix Rehmanniae; ROS, Reactive oxygen species; NFE2L2, Nuclear Factor Erythroid-Derived 2-Like 2; CAT, catalase; GPx,
glutathione peroxidase; SOD1, cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase; SOD2, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase; HO-1, heme oxygenase-1.

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