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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]

The article discusses hypoxic pathophysiology and high-altitude medicine as of December 2012, with a focus on the traditional Tibetan medicine Duoxuekang and its potential prevention of high-altitude polycythemia (HAPC) induced by hypoxia. Topics include the oxygen-carrying capacity of human blood, reduction of red blood cell and hemoglobin counts, and serum erythropoietin (EPO). Additional information is presented on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1.

To evaluate the efficacy and safety associated with anti-hypoxia effect and establish the quality standard for Brassicea Radix extract, the investigations of acute toxicity and subacute toxicity were carried out to preliminarily appraise the toxicity, and the models of normal pressure hypoxia, acute cerebral ischemia and sodium nitrite poisoning in mice were used to evaluate the effect of enhancing anoxia endurance. Then according to the methods described in the Appendix of Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2010 edition), the sulfuric acid-phenol method was applied to determine the content of polysaccharide, and the water, ash and insoluble matter in water inspections were carried out and the control medicinal herb was identified with the samples by qualitative TLC. The results indicated that ① the toxic effects (LD₅₀) of mice was 56.73 g•kg⁻¹ by oral administration of Brassicea Radix extract, while Dm and Dn were respective 86.80 g•kg•d⁻¹ and 35.55 g•kg•d⁻¹;②the determined effective dosage of Brassicea Radix extract which could enhance anoxia endurance was 0.388 g•kg⁻¹•d⁻¹; ③ the methods of TLC and the content of polysaccharide were established. The method of quality control has been recorded in Sichuan Province Standard for Tibetan Medicine, which is reliable, accurate and simple, with good reproducibility. Meanwhile, given the prominent effect on anti-hypoxia and good safety, it provided important basis for clinic safe and effective usage and the development of health products.