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Ethnopharmacological relevance: The fruits of <b>Hippophae rhamnoides</b> L., <b>Lycium barbarum</b> L., <b>Lycium ruthenicum</b> Murr. and <b>Nitraria tangutorum</b> Bobr. are traditional medicinal food of Tibetans and used to alleviate fatigue caused by oxygen deficiency for thousands of years. The present study focused on exploiting natural polysaccharides with remarkable anti-fatigue activity from the four Qinghai-Tibet plateau characteristic berries.<br>Materials and methods: The fruits of <b>Hippophae rhamnoides</b>, <b>Lycium barbarum</b>, <b>Lycium ruthenicum</b> and <b>Nitraria tangutorum</b> were collected from Haixi national municipality of Mongol and Tibetan (N 36.32°, E98.11°; altitude: 3100 m), Qinghai, China. Their polysaccharides (HRWP, LBWP, LRWP and NTWP) were isolated by hot-water extraction, and purified by DEAE-Cellulose ion-exchange chromatography. The total carbohydrate, uronic acid, protein and starch contents of polysaccharides were determined by a spectrophotometric method. The molecular weight distributions of polysaccharides were determined by gel filtration chromatography. Their monosaccharide composition analysis was performed by the method of 1-phenyl-3-methyl-5-pyrazolone (PMP) pre-column derivatization and RP-HPLC analysis. HRWP, LBWP, LRWP and NTWP (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg) were orally administrated to mice once daily for 15 days, respectively. Anti-fatigue activity was assessed using the forced swim test (FST), and serum biochemical parameters were determined by an autoanalyzer and commercially available kits; the body and organs were also weighted.<br>Result: LBWP, LRWP and NTWP were mainly composed of glucans and some RG-I pectins, and HRWP was mainly composed of HG-type pectin and some glucans. All the four polysaccharides decreased immobility in the FST, and the effects of LBWP and NTWP were demonstrated in lower doses compared with HRWP and LRWP. There was no significant difference in liver and heart indices between non-treated and polysaccharide-treated mice, but the spleen indices were increased in LBWP and NTWP (200 mg/kg) group. Moreover, the FST-induced reduction in glucose (Glc), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and increase in creatine phosphokinase (CK), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), triglyceride (TG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, all indicators of fatigue, were inhibited by HRWP, LBWP, LRWP and NTWP to a certain extent while the effects of LBWP and NTWP were much better than that of HRWP and LRWP at the same dosage.<br>Conclusion: Water-soluble polysaccharides HRWP, LBWP, LRWP and NTWP, from the fruits of four Tibetan plateau indigenous berry plants, significantly exhibited anti-fatigue activities for the first time, through triglyceride (TG) (or fat) mobilization during exercise and protecting corpuscular membrane by prevention of lipid oxidation via modifying several enzyme activities. Moreover, it is demonstrated that LBWP and NTWP are more potent than HRWP and LRWP, which were proposed to be applied in functional foods for anti-fatigue and antioxidant potential.<br><br>Display Omitted

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the chemical components and microstructure of Nengchi Bajin ashes which are adjuvant material in the refining of Tibetan medicine gTSo thal, in order to explore the material basis of the refining of gTSo thal.METHOD: Scanning electron microscope-energy dispersive spectrometer (SEM-EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to measure the Nengchi Bajin ashes. RESULT: SEM-EDX analysis show that except of themselves elements of Nengchi Bajin ashes, Nengchi Bajin ashes contain the major elements, such as S, O, C and so on, also contain small amount other elements. XRD analysis show that the structures are AuPb2, PbO (tetragonal and orthorhombic) and Pb in gold ash, Ag2S and PbO in silver ash, Cu1.98 (Zn0.73 Fe0.29)Sn0.99 S4, CuS, SiO2, NaCu2S2 and Ca (Fe(+2), Mg) (CO3)2 in bronze ash, Cu7S4 (orthorhombic and monoclinic) and CuO in red copper ash, Cu7 S4, PbS, ZnS, CaCO3and NaCu2S2 in brass ash, FeS, Fe+2 Fe(2+3)O4 and SiO2 in iron ash, SnS and SiO2 tin ash, PbS, PbSO4 and SnS2 in lead ash. CONCLUSION: We have acquired the datum of elements and microstructure of Nengchi Bajin ashes by SEM-EDX and XRD techniques, and that is benefit to explore the material basis of refining gTSo thal.

Zhuxi is a mineral medicine widely used in traditional Tibetan medicine throughout history. However, the bioactive component in Zhuxi still remains unclear. In order to enunciate the material basis of its pharmacological activity, the present research has determined the chemical component and structure of Zhuxi. X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were utilized to assay two samples of Zhuxi. XRF and ICP-OES analysis indicated that the main elements in Zhuxi are Fe, S and O, also containing some minor elements, such as Si, Na, Mg, Al, K, Ni, Ca, Ti and so on. XRD analysis suggested that the main crystal compound in Zhuxi is FeS2 (Cubic, Pa-3), also existing a few of Fe(+3)O(OH) (orthorhombic, Pbnm) and other some unknown compounds. These studies has highlighted the potential the element components and compound structures of Zhuxi, so it may be a good starting point for exploring the material basis of its pharmacological activity.

In order to reveal the chemical substance basis of pharmacodynamic effects of Zuotai, energy dispersive spectrometry of X-ray (EDX), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), synchrotron radiation X-ray absorption fine structure (SR-XAFS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and atomic force microscope (AFM) were used to analyze the elements, the chemical valence and local structure of mercury, and the chemical phase composition and micro-morphology of Zuotai. EDX and XRF analysis shows that the main elements in Zuotai are Hg and S, with some other minor elements, such as 0, Fe, Al, Cu, K, Ag, Ca, Mg etc. SR-XAFS analysis shows that: the oxidation state of mercury in Zuotai is divalence, its neighbor atoms are S, and its coordination number is four. XRD assay found that β-HgS (cubic, F-43m 216) and S8 (orthorhombic, Fddd 70) are the main phase compositions in Zuotai. Besides, it also has a small amount of C (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Fel.05 S0.95 (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Cu6S6 (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Cu1.8 S (cubic, F-43m 216) and so on. And it was found that the crystallinity of Zuotai is about 59%, and the amorphous morphology substance in it is about 41%. SEM and AFM detection suggests that Zuotai is a kind of ancient micro-nano drug, and its particle size is mainly in the range of 100-600 nm, even less than 100 nm, which commonly further aggregate into several to 30 µm loose amorphous particles. In summary, the present study elucidated physicochemical characterization(elements composition, coordination information of mercury, phase composition and micro-morphology) of Zuotai, and it will play a positive role in promoting the interpretation of this mysterious drug.;

Minerals are alchemically processed as Bhasmas in Ayurvedic medicines or as Zuotai in Tibetan medicines. Ayurveda is a knowledge system of longevity and considers the mineral elixir made from "nature" capable of giving humans perpetual life. Herbo-metallic preparations have a long history in the treatment of various diseases in India, China, and around the world. Their disposition, pharmacology, efficacy, and safety require scientific evaluation. This review discusses the Bhasmas in Ayurvedic medicines and Zuotai in Tibetan medicines for their occurrence, bioaccessibility, therapeutic use, pharmacology, toxicity, and research perspectives. A literature search on Mineral, Bhasma, Ayurvedic medicine, Zuotai, Tibetan medicine, and Metals/metalloids from PubMed, Google and other sources was carried out, and the relevant papers on their traditional use, pharmacology, and toxicity were selected and analyzed. Minerals are processed to form Bhasma or Zuotai to alter their physiochemical properties distinguishing them from environmental metals. The metals found in Ayurveda are mainly from the intentional addition in the form of Bhasma or Zuotai. Bhasma and Zuotai are often used in combination with other herbals and/or animal-based products as mixtures. The advanced technologies are now utilized to characterize herbo-metallic preparations as Quality Assurance/Quality Control. The bioaccessibility, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of herbo-metallic preparations are different from environmental metals. The pharmacological basis of Bhasma in Ayurveda and Zuotai in Tibetan medicines and their interactions with drugs require scientific research. Although the toxic potentials of Bhasma and Zuotai differ from environmental metals, the metal poisoning case reports, especially lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and arsenic (As) from inappropriate use of traditional medicines, are increasing, and pharmacovigilance is desired. In risk assessment, chemical forms of metals in Bhasma and Zuotai should be considered for their disposition, efficacy, and toxicity.

Zuotai, a famous Tibetan medicinal mixture containing β-HgS, has been used to combine with herbal remedies for treating diseases for more than 1 300 years. The target organ for inorganic mercury toxicity is generally considered to be the kidney. Therefore, it is crucial to reveal the chemical speciation, spatial distribution and potential nephrotoxicity of mercury from Zuotai in kidney. To date, this remains poorly understood. We used X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and micro X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) imaging based on synchrotron radiation to study mercury chemical forms and mercury special distribution in kidney after mice were treated orally with Zuotai, β-HgS or HgCl2. Meanwhile, the histopathology of kidney was observed. Mice exposed with Zuotai showed kidney with significant proportion of mercury ions bound to sulfydryl biomolecules (e.g. Cys-S-Hg-S-Cys) plus some of unknown species, but without methylmercury cysteine, which is the same as β-HgS and HgCl2. The mercury is mainly deposited in renal cortex in mouse treated with Zuotai, β-HgS or HgCl2, but with a low level of mercury in medulla. The total mercury in kidney of mice treated with HgCl2 was much higher than that of β-HgS, and the later was higher than that of Zuotai. And, HgCl2 cause severe impairments in mouse kidney, but that was not observed in the Zuotai and β-HgS groups. Meanwhile, the bio-metals (Ca, Zn, Fe and Cu) micro-distributions in kidney were also revealed. These findings elucidated the chemical nature, spatial distribution and toxicity difference of mercury from Zuotai, β-HgS and HgCl2 in mouse kidney, and provide new insights into the appropriate methods for biological monitoring.

Zuotai (gTso thal) is one of the famous drugs containing mercury in Tibetan medicine. However, little is known about the chemical substance basis of its pharmacodynamics and the intrinsic link of different samples sources so far. Given this, energy dispersive spectrometry of X-ray (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to assay the elements, micromorphology, and phase composition of nine Zuotai samples from different regions, respectively; the XRD fingerprint features of Zuotai were analyzed by multivariate statistical analysis. EDX result shows that Zuotai contains Hg, S, O, Fe, Al, Cu, and other elements. SEM and AFM observations suggest that Zuotai is a kind of ancient nanodrug. Its particles are mainly in the range of 100–800 nm, which commonly further aggregate into 1–30 μm loosely amorphous particles. XRD test shows that β-HgS, S8, and α-HgS are its main phase compositions. XRD fingerprint analysis indicates that the similarity degrees of nine samples are very high, and the results of multivariate statistical analysis are broadly consistent with sample sources. The present research has revealed the physicochemical characteristics of Zuotai, and it would play a positive role in interpreting this mysterious Tibetan drug. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

OBJECTIVE: To determine the composition, structure, trace elements and thermal stability of Tibetan medicine Nanhanshuishi.METHOD: The trace elements, the structure, and the thermal stability of Nanhanshuishi were assayed and calculated by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES), atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), X-ray power diffraction (XRD), TG-DTA. RESULT: The results indicated that the phase is mainly made up of CaCO3 (Rhombohedral, R-3c) in Nanhanshuishi. The analysis of elements show that Nanhanshuishi is rich in Ca and O, and contains other more than 20 minor elements, such as Si, Mg, Fe, Al, Na, K, Zn, Mn, Pb, As, Hg etc. The result of TG-DTA show that the weight of Nanhanshuishi starts to decline from near 700 degrees C and get steady above 850 degrees C. CONCLUSION: The study provided scientific data for the establishment of quality standards of Tibetan medicine Nanhanshuishi.

Background: Zuotai, a famous Tibetan medicinal mixture containing metacinnabar, is traditionally used for the purpose of tranquilizing minds and soothing nerves. However, it still lacks substantial experimental data for it to be approved for use. Aim: This study was designed to assess the effects of Zuotai on depressive-like symptoms in a chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) mouse model, and to explore its potential mechanism, particularly the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis pathway. Materials and methods: First, Kunming mice were exposed to the CUMS procedure and simultaneously administered Zuotai or imipramine (positive control) by gavage continuously for 6 weeks. Then, depressive-like behaviors of mice in each group were tested with the sucrose preference test, forced swimming test, tail suspension test, and open field test. Meanwhile, the three key neuroendocrine hormones (corticotropin releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone) in HPA axis pathway, and the level of the emotion-related monoamine neurotransmitters (5-hydroxytryptamine and norepinephrine) were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Furthermore, total mercury in the hypothalamus and hippocampus were determined using an automatic, direct mercury analyzer. Results: Zuotai or imipramine significantly increased the body weight and the sucrose preference ratio in sucrose preference test, and dramatically improved motor activity in forced swimming test, tail suspension test, and open field test in CUMS mice. Zuotai or imipramine remarkably decreased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and corticosterone in the HPA axis, and increased levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine and norepinephrine in the serum in CUMS mice. However, a small amount of mercury was deposited in the hypothalamus and hippocampus in Zuotai-treated mice, which may pose a potential risk to the central nervous system. Conclusion: Zuotai has a strong ability to ameliorate depressive-like behaviors in CUMS-treated mice through inhibition of the HPA axis and upregulation of monoamine neurotransmitters. These findings provide new insight into the pharmacological effect of Zuotai on depression.

The mercury in Tibetan medicine has become important focus in the research on medicine safety evaluation. The total mercury and the ionic mercury in artificial gastric juice of Tibetan medicine Dangzuo were detected by Gold Amalgam Enrichment-Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry (GAE-AFS). In the present study, Tibetan medicine Dangzuo was prepared by H2SO4-KNO3 digestion system and artificial gastric juice. The established method and condition of instrument were investigated. Under the optimum experimental conditions and instrumental operation parameters, the recovery (n=6) of HgS is 99.56$ (RSD = 1.94%), the limit of detection for mercury is 0.2 ng x L(-1), the linear range is 0-500 ng x L(-1), and r = 0.9999. Then, the total mercury and the ionic mercury in artificial gastric juice in Dangzuo samples from different Tibetan regions were assayed. The result showed that the ranges of total mercury and ionic mercury in artificial gastric juice were 3.9980-16.7358 x mg x g(-1) and 45.5377-1033.9850 ng x g(-1), respectively. The analytical method mentioned above is rapid and accurate for determining the amount of mercury in Tibetan medicine Dangzuo.

Zuotai, also named as "gTso thal", a known Tibetan medicinal mixture containing insoluble cubic crystal mercuric sulfide (β-HgS), has been used to treat diseases with long history. The mercury release ratio from Zuotai in gastrointestinal environment is one determinant factor for its bioavailability and biological effect. However, the information is still scarce now. Therefore, the study was designed to investigate the effect of sulfhydryl biomolecules [L-cysteine (Cys) and glutathione (GSH)] and pH on mercury dissociation from Zuotai, β-HgS, and hexagonal crystal mercuric sulfide (α-HgS) in artificial gastrointestinal juices or pure water with a 1:100 solid-liquid ratio. And, the digestion and peristalsis of gastrointestinal tract were simulated in vitro. The results showed the following trend for the mercury release ratio of Zuotai, artificial gastric juice > artificial intestinal juice > pure water, whereas the trend for β-HgS and α-HgS was as follows, artificial intestinal fluid > artificial gastric fluid > pure water. The mercury release ratios of Zuotai, β-HgS, and α-HgS significantly increased in artificial intestinal juice containing L-Cys or GSH compared to those without sulfhydryl biomolecules in the juice. However, in contrast to the results observed for β-HgS and α-HgS, the mercury release ratio of Zuotai was reduced remarkably in pure water and artificial gastric juice with Cys or GSH. And, we found that strong acidic or strong alkaline environments promoted the dissociation of mercury from Zuotai, β-HgS, and α-HgS. Taken together, current findings may contribute to other studies regarding clinical safety and bioavailability of the traditional drug Zuotai containing β-HgS.

Abstract Ethnopharmacological relevance Zuotai (gTso thal) has a long history in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, liver and bile diseases, spleen and stomach diseases as a precious adjuvant in Tibetan medicine. However, Zuotai is a mercury preparation that contains 54.5% HgS. Its application has always been controversial. Aim of the study To evaluate the toxicological effects of Zuotai in hepatocytes and in zebrafish. Materials and methods MTT was used to determine the survival rate of hepatocytes; Hoechst and TUNEL staining were used to detect the apoptosis cells; Western blot and RT-qPCR assay were used to determine the expression levels of the protein and mRNA; Liver morphology observation and H&E staining were used to evaluate the hepatotoxicity of Zuotai in Zebfrafish. Results The survival rate of L-02 cells, HepG2 cells and RBL-2A cells reduced by Zuotai (10−4–0.1 mg/mL) in a dose and time-dependent manner. Zuotai (0.1 mg/mL) induced HepG2 cells shrinkage, condensation and fragmentation and increased the number of apoptosis cells. The protein expression levels of cleaved Caspase-3 and Bax were increased and the expression levels of Bcl-2 were reduced after HepG2 cells exposed to Zuotai (10−4–0.1 mg/mL) for 24 h. In addition, Zuotai (0.2 mg/mL) induced the darker liver color of the larval zebrafish and changed the liver morphologic of adult zebrafish. Zuotai (0.2 mg/mL) also increased the mRNA levels of CYP1A1, CYP1B1 and MT-1 in the liver of adult zebrafish. However, no significantly hepatotoxicity was observed after hepatocytes and zebrafish exposed to HgS at the same dose. Conclusions Results showed that Zuotai induced hepatotoxicity effectively under a certain dose but its hepatotoxicity likely occurs via other mechanisms that did not depend on HgS. Graphical abstract Zuotai, a clinical adjuvant in Tibetan medicine, contains 54.5% HgS, which can induce apoptosis of liver cells and liver injury in zebrafish. However, HgS, the principal component of Zuotai did not exhibit hepatotoxicity at the same dose. fx1 [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Objective: To develop an HPLC method for determination of gallic acid, hydroxysafflor yellow A, cinnamic aldehyde and piperine in Tibetan medicine Dangzuo, and to compare the content of four active components in Dangzuo of different Tibetan regions.; Method: The separation was carried out on a Waters XTerra RP-C18 column ( 4.6 mm x 250 mm, 5 microm). The mobile phases were methanol and water, all contained 0.1% glacial acetic acid, for gradient elution. The gradient program was as follows: 0-22.5 min, methanol was changed from 5% to 50%; 22.5-40 min, changed to 80% 80:20. The flow rate was 1.0 mL x min(-1). The detection wavelength was 270 nm. The reference wavelength was 500 nm.; Result: The linear ranges of gallic acid, hydroxysafflor yellow A, cinnamic aldehyde and piperine were 0.040-0.640 microg (r = 0.999 8), 0.090-1.440 microg (r = 0.999 9), 0.031-0.500 microg (r = 0.999 9 ) and 0.092-41.477 microg (r = 0.998 9), respectively. The average recoveries (n = 6) were 97.42% (RSD 1.9%), 97.55% (RSD 2.9%), 98.69% (RSD 0.96%) and 96.72% (RSD 4.0%), respectively. The content ranges of gallic acid, hydroxysafflor yellow A, cinnamic aldehyde and piperine in Dangzuo samples of different Tibetan regions were 0.11341.69 mg x g(-1), 0.889-1.51 mg x g(-1), 0.000-40.606 mg x g(-1) and 1.96-2.73 mg x g(-1), respectively.; Conclusion: The method is a simple and effective for quality control of Tibetan medicine Dangzuo.;

To discuss the relationship between metallic element and disease through determine the elementals in Tibetan Herbal Medicines and Tibetan Medicine Preparations that have obvious effect on hepatobiliary diseases by Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Source, then to reveal the substance foundation of pharmacological action. The results show that all the Tibetan Herbal Medicines used in the experiment have the 9 kinds of metallic elements of potassium(K), calcium(Ca), titanium(Ti), vanadium(V), chromium(Cr), manganese(Mn), ferrum(Fe), zinc(Zn) and lead(Pb), the content of the elements are in the ppb or ppm level though the element constitute and the content have obvious difference. Tibetan Medicine Preparations have another 6 kinds of metallic elements of nickel(Ni), copper(Cu), rubidium(Rb), mercury(Hg), cobalt(Co), gallium(Ga) and 1 kind of nonmetallic elements of arsenic(As) when compare with Herbal Medicines, and the element constitute and the content also have obvious difference. Take advantage of SR-XRF, the test gets the basic data of elements of Tibetan Herbal Medicines and Preparations, supply the scientific support to discuss the interaction of pharmacological mechanism and the metallic elements, and find the suitability of the technique for the metallic elements detection in Tibetan Medicines.

Mercury sulfide is an insoluble inorganic mercury compound, and it is the main chemical form in traditional oral mercury-containing medicines. Hg2+ has a high affinity for thiols, and small molecule thiols in the gastrointestinal tract may promote mercury dissolution of mercury sulfide by binding to Hg2+. L-cysteine is the only amino acid that possesses a reducing sulfhydryl group (-SH), out of the 20 amino acids. This study investigates the effect of L-cysteine on mercury dissolution of mercury sulfide at pHs ranging from 1.2 to 7.2. The results showed that L-cysteine had different pH-dependent effects on the mercury dissolution of α-HgS and β-HgS. For α-HgS, the dissolved mercury concentration increased from 5.47 ± 0.97 ng/mL to 12.49 ± 0.54 ng/mL when the pH rose from 1.2 to 4.2, and decreased to 3.37 ± 0.70 ng/mL at pH 6.0 and then increased to 9.36 ± 0.79 ng/mL at pH 7.2. For β-HgS, the dissolved mercury concentration increased from 151.09 ± 2.25 ng/mL to 2346.71 ± 62.62 ng/mL when the pH increased from 1.2 to 7.2. In conclusion, L-Cys was distinctly enhanced upon mercury dissolution of α-HgS and β-HgS with increasing pH. These results may contribute to our understanding of the mercury absorption mechanism of traditional oral mercury-containing medicines.

ETHNOPHARMOCOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Herbo-metallic preparations have a long history in the treatment of diseases, and are still used today for refractory diseases, as adjuncts to standard therapy, or for economic reasons in developing countries.AIM OF THE REVIEW: This review uses cinnabar (HgS) and realgar (As4S4) as mineral examples to discuss their occurrence, therapeutic use, pharmacology, toxicity in traditional medicine mixtures, and research perspectives. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search on cinnabar and realgar from PubMed, Chinese pharmacopeia, Google and other sources was carried out. Traditional medicines containing both cinnabar and realgar (An-Gong-Niu-Huang Wan, Hua-Feng-Dan); mainly cinnabar (Zhu-Sha-An-Shen Wan; Zuotai and Dangzuo), and mainly realgar (Huang-Dai Pian; Liu-Shen Wan; Niu-Huang-Jie-Du) are discussed. RESULTS: Both cinnabar and realgar used in traditional medicines are subjected to special preparation procedures to remove impurities. Metals in these traditional medicines are in the sulfide forms which are different from environmental mercurials (HgCl2, MeHg) or arsenicals (NaAsO2, NaH2AsO4). Cinnabar and/or realgar are seldom used alone, but rather as mixtures with herbs and/or animal products in traditional medicines. Advanced technologies are now used to characterize these preparations. The bioaccessibility, absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of these herbo-metallic preparations are different from environmental metals. The rationale of including metals in traditional remedies and their interactions with drugs need to be justified. At higher therapeutic doses, balance of the benefits and risks is critical. Surveillance of patients using these herbo-metallic preparations is desired. CONCLUSION: Chemical forms of mercury and arsenic are a major determinant of their disposition, efficacy and toxicity, and the use of total Hg and As alone for risk assessment of metals in traditional medicines is insufficient.

• A simultaneous microwave/ultrasonic-assisted enzymatic extraction method was established for the first time. • Simultaneous microwave/ultrasonic-assisted enzymatic process can improve antioxidant capacity of juice by-product extract. • Simultaneous microwave/ultrasonic-assisted enzymatic process can increase the extraction efficiency of antioxidant ingredients. • <b>Nitraria tangutorun</b> Bobr. juice by-products extract exhibited excellent cell protection effect from oxidative injury.<br>By-products originating from food processing are a considerable disposal problem for the food industry. Because of the absence of specifically effective processing technology, huge quantities of by-products are often abandoned as rubbish and prone to microbial spoilage. Given this, a simultaneous microwave/ultrasonic assisted enzymatic extraction (SMU-AEE) method was established for the first time, and performed for antioxidant ingredients extraction from <b>Nitraria tangutorum</b> juice by-products (NJB) in the present study. Its experimental conditions were optimized by single factor test and response surface methodology (RSM), and gave the corresponding response values for antioxidant capacity of NJB extract (NJBE) of 219.73 ± 7.03 mg TE/g, which was 27.62%-190.23% higher than those obtained by traditional extraction methods. Chemical composition assay suggested that the increasing of antioxidant capacity of NJBE by SMU-AEE was because of the improvement of extraction efficiency of antioxidant ingredients from NJB, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. Furthermore, oxidative injury protection ability assay showed that NJBE was good at protecting cells from UVB-oxidative phototoxicity and doxorubicin-oxidative cardiotoxicity, and its protecting ability surpasses or approaches to that of grape seed extract (GSE, the positive control drug), indicating its good potential to be a natural antioxidant in food and pharmaceutical industries.

Four common traditional tibetan medicine prescription preparations "Anzhijinghuasan, Dangzuo, Renqingchangjue and Rannasangpei" in tibetan areas were selected as study objects in the present study. The purpose was to try to establish a kind of wet digestion and flow injection-hydride generation-atomic absorption spectrometry (FI-HAAS) associated analysis method for the content determinations of lead and arsenic in traditional tibetan medicine under optimized digestion and measurement conditions and determine their contents accurately. Under these optimum operating conditions, experimental results were as follows. The detection limits for lead and arsenic were 0.067 and 0.012 µg · mL(-1) respectively. The quantification limits for lead and arsenic were 0.22 and 0.041 µg · mL(-1) respectively. The linear ranges for lead and arsenic were 25-1,600 ng · mL(-1) (r = 0.9995) and 12.5-800 ng · mL(-1) (r = 0.9994) respectively. The degrees of precision(RSD) for lead and arsenic were 2.0% and 3.2% respectively. The recovery rates for lead and arsenic were 98.00%-99.98% and 96.67%-99.87% respectively. The content determination results of lead and arsenic in four traditional tibetan medicine prescription preparations were as fol- lows. The contents of lead and arsenic in Anzhijinghuasan are 0.63-0.67 µg · g(-1) and 0.32-0.33 µg · g(-1) in Anzhijinghua- san, 42.92-43.36 µg · g(-1) and 24.67-25.87 µg · g(-1) in Dangzuo, 1,611. 39-1,631.36 µg · g(-1) and 926.76-956.52 µg- g(-1) in Renqing Changjue, and 1,102.28-1,119.127 µg-g(-1) and 509.96-516.87 µg · g(-1) in Rannasangpei, respectively. This study established a method for content determination of lead and arsenic in traditional tibetan medicine, and determined the content levels of lead and arsenic in four tibetan medicine-prescription preparations accurately. In addition, these results also provide the basis for the safe and effective use of those medicines in clinic.

Zuotai (gTso thal) is a typical representative of Tibetan medicines containing heavy metals, but there is still lack of modem safety evaluation data so far. In this study, acute toxicity test, sub-acute toxicity test, one-time administration mercury distribution experiment, long-term mercury accumulative toxicity experiment and preliminary study on clinical safety of Compound Dangzuo were conducted in the hope of obtain the medicinal safety data of Zuotai. In the acute toxicity test, half of KM mice given the lethal dose of Zuotai were not died or poisoned, and LD50 was not found. The maximum tolerated dose of Zuotai was 80 g x kg(-1). In the subacute toxicity test, Zuotai could reduce ALT, AST, Crea levels in serums under low dose (13.34 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)) and medium dose (53.36 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)), with significant difference under low dose, and increase the levels of ALT, AST, MDA, Crea in serums under high dose (2 000 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)); besides, the levels of BUN and GSH in serums reduced with the increase in dose of Zuotai, indicating a significant dose-effect relationship. In the one-time administration distribution experiment, the content of mercury in rat kidney, liver and lung increased after the one-time administration with Zuotai, with a significant dose-dependent relationship in kidney. In the long-term mercury accumulative toxicity experiment, KM mice were administered with equivalent doses of Zuotai for 4.5 months and then stopped drug administration for 1.5 months. Since the 2.5th month, they showed significant mercury accumulation in kidney, which gradually reduced after drug withdrawal, without significant change in mercury content in liver, spleen and brain and ALT, AST, TBIL, BUN and Crea in serum. At the 4.5th month after drug administration, KM mice showed slight structural changes in kidney, liver and spleen tissues, and gradually recovered to normal after drug withdrawal. Besides, no significant difference in weight gain was found between the Zuotai group and the control group. According to the findings of the clinical safety study of Dangzuo, after subjects administered Dangzuo under clinical dose for one month, their serum biochemical indicators, blood routine indicators and urine routine indicators showed no significant adverse change. This study proved that traditional Tibetan medicine Zuotai was slightly toxic, with a better safety in clinical combined administration and no adverse effects on bodies under the clinical dose and clinical medication cycle. However, long-term high-dose administration of Zuotai may have a certain effect on kidney.;

Abstract Ethnopharmacological relevance Tibetan medicine has been practiced for 3800 years. Anzhijinhua San (AZJHS), which is a traditional Tibetan medicine, has been effective in the treatment of indigestion, anorexia and cold diarrhea. However, the effects of AZJHS on allergic diarrhea have not been reported. Aim of the study The aim of the present study was to elucidate the effect of AZJHS on experimental ovalbumin-induced diarrhea and elucidate its possible mechanism. Materials and methods Female BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection with 50 μg ovalbumin (OVA) and 1 mg alum in saline twice during a 2-week period. From day 28, mice were orally challenged with OVA (50 mg) every other day for a total of ten times. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) was orally administered every other day from day 0–46. Food allergy symptoms were evaluated. OVA- specific IgE, 5-HT and its metabolites in serum were determined. Immunohistochemical and histopathology were performed in gastrointestinal tract tissues. 5-HT-related gene expression was assayed in the colon. Results Severe symptoms of allergic diarrhea were observed in the model group (diarrhea, anaphylactic response, and rectal temperature). AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly reduced mouse diarrhea and significantly prevented the increases in OVA-specific IgE levels (P < 0.05), which challenge with OVA. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly prevented the increases in 5-HT-positive cells. The nuclei of EC cells in the AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) group increased in size and the secretory granules were fewer in number compared with those in the model group. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly increased the relative fold changes of 5-HTP and 5-HT compared with the model group. The mRNA expression of the serotonin transporter (Sert) and serotonin receptor 3A (Htr3a) was significantly decreased after the 10th challenge with OVA, and AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly increased these levels. Conclusions We demonstrated that the administration of AZJHS attenuated OVA-induced diarrhea by regulating the serotonin pathway. These results indicated that AZJHS may be a potential candidate as an anti-allergic diarrhea agent. Graphical abstract fx1 [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Mercury sulfides are used in Ayurvedic medicines, Tibetan medicines, and Chinese medicines for thousands of years and are still used today. Cinnabar (α-HgS) and metacinnabar (β-HgS) are different from mercury chloride (HgCl2) and methylmercury (MeHg) in their disposition and toxicity. Whether such scenario applies to weanling and aged animals is not known. To address this question, weanling (21d) and aged (450d) rats were orally given Zuotai (54% β-HgS, 30mg/kg), HgS (α-HgS, 30mg/kg), HgCl2 (34.6mg/kg), or MeHg (MeHgCl, 3.2mg/kg) for 7days. Accumulation of Hg in kidney and liver, and the toxicity-sensitive gene expressions were examined. Animal body weight gain was decreased by HgCl2 and to a lesser extent by MeHg, but unaltered after Zuotai and HgS. HgCl2 and MeHg produced dramatic tissue Hg accumulation, increased kidney (kim-1 and Ngal) and liver (Ho-1) injury-sensitive gene expressions, but such changes are absent or mild after Zuotai and HgS. Aged rats were more susceptible than weanling rats to Hg toxicity. To examine roles of transporters in Hg accumulation, transporter gene expressions were examined. The expression of renal uptake transporters Oat1, Oct2, and Oatp4c1 and hepatic Oatp2 was decreased, while the expression of renal efflux transporter Mrp2, Mrp4 and Mdr1b was increased following HgCl2 and MeHg, but unaffected by Zuotai and HgS. Thus, Zuotai and HgS differ from HgCl2 and MeHg in producing tissue Hg accumulation and toxicity, and aged rats are more susceptible than weanling rats. Transporter expression could be adaptive means to reduce tissue Hg burden.