Study shows TCM shihu can potentially treat inflammatory disorders

According to a study published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, Dendrobii Caulis (DC) or shihu, an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), may be used to address inflammatory disorders. The authors studied the effects of eight Dendrobium species on mouse macrophage cell line RAW 264.7.

  • In TCM, practitioners use the important herb shihu to address stomach issues, enhance body fluid production, reduce heat, and tonify (or increase the available energy) “yin” (dark energy).
  • Over 30 Dendrobium species are utilized in TCM and certain compounds from DC may have inhibitory effects on macrophage inflammation.
  • For the study, researchers compared the anti-inflammatory effects of eight Dendrobium species on mouse macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 which was activated using lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
  • Nitric oxide (NO) levels were measured using Griess reagent and the pro-inflammatory cytokines were tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
  • Western blotting analysis was used to evaluate the protein expressions of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible NO synthase (iNOS), and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) phosphorylation.
  • Test results revealed that water extracts from two Dendrobium species, D. thyrsiflorum B.S.Williams (DTW) and D. chrysotoxum Lindl (DCHW) had the most significant inhibitory effects on NO production in a concentration-dependent manner.
  • Study findings also showed that DTW greatly minimized IL-6, MCP-1, and TNF-alpha production. The test results helped confirm that shihu is an effective traditional remedy that can prevent inflammation.

The researchers concluded that D. thyrsiflorum B.S.Williams can be used as an alternative or adjuvant therapy for inflammation.

Read more articles about shihu and other natural remedies for inflammatory disorders at

Journal Reference: 

Zeng Q, Ko C-H, Siu W-S, Li K-K, Wong C-W, Han X-Q, Yang L, Lau CB-S, Hu J-M, Leung P-C. INHIBITORY EFFECT OF DIFFERENT DENDROBIUM SPECIES ON LPS-INDUCED INFLAMMATION IN MACROPHAGES VIA SUPPRESSION OF MAPK PATHWAYS. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. 2018;16(7):481–489. DOI: 10.1016/s1875-5364(18)30083-9

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