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J Ethnopharmacol. 1998 Sep; 62(2): 167-71.

The inhibitory effect of common traditional anti-rheumatic herb formulas on prostaglandin E and interleukin 2 in vitro: a comparative study with Tripterygium wilfordii.

Chou CT, Chang SC.

Division of Rheumatology-Immunology, China Medical College Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.

To understand the clinical efficacy of traditional anti-rheumatic herbal medicines on acute and severe arthritis or immune diseases, four herbal formulas and one herb were tested in vitro to determine their effects on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and interleukin 2 (IL2). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects were incubated with different concentrations of four herbal formulas including Shaur Yau Gan Tsao Tang (SYGTT), Shang Jong Shiah Tong Yong Tong Feng Wan (SJSTY), Shu Jin Lih An Saan (SJLAS), Ma Shing Yih Gan Tang (MSYGT) and one herb, Tripterygium wilfordii (T2) with and without mitogen stimulation. PGE2 and IL2 from culture supernatant were measured by enzyme immunoassay. The results showed that SYGTT, SJSTY, SJLAS at concentration of 100 microg and MSYGT at 500 microg/ml can significantly inhibit PGE2 release (P < 0.05) from mononuclear cells. However, T2 at 2 microg/ml expressed the same response. For the inhibition of IL2, the concentration of SYGTT, SJSTY and SJLAS must exceed 100 symbol microg/ml. MSYGT failed to inhibit IL2 at even concentrations of 500 microg/ml but T2 at a very low concentration (0.6 microg/ml) could strongly inhibit it. The findings suggest that the majority of traditional anti-rheumatic herbal formulas or herbs, except for T2, should not be used to treat acute and critical arthritis or immune diseases.

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