Direct scavenging of nitric oxide by traditional crude drugs.Phytomedicine. 2000 Jan; 6(6):453-63.P
Thirty-one traditional crude drugs and several pure compounds were examined for their possible regulatory effect on nitric oxide (NO) levels using sodium nitroprusside as a NO donor in vitro. Most of the crude drugs tested demonstrated direct scavenging of NO. Eight crude drugs, including Sanguisorbae Radix, Caryophylli Flos, Gambir, Coptidis Rhizoma, Granati Cortex, Gallae Rhois, Rhei Rhizoma and Cinnamomi Cortex exhibited significant activity (IC50 values < 1000 micrograms/ml), and with the exception of Coptidis Rhizoma, all were found to contain tannins as their major constituents. In addition, some crude drugs containing flavonoids or essential oils also appeared to act against NO. Ten major tannins contained in Sanguisorbae Radix and Rhei Rhizoma showed high scavenging activity (IC50 values < 326.3 micrograms/ml), and 6 of 8 alkaloids obtained from Coptidis Rhizoma also effectively scavenged the NO radical (IC50 values < 455.4 micrograms/ml). It was indicated that these compounds may be the active principles of the crude drugs responsible for NO scavenging. The present results suggest that traditional crude drugs might be potent and novel therapeutic agents for scavenging of NO and the regulation of pathological conditions caused by excessive NO and its oxidation product, peroxynitrite. These findings may also help to explain, at least in part, certain pharmacological activities of crude drugs, especially anti-infection and anti-inflammatory activities.