BioScience Trends. 2017;11(5):496-506. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2017.01216)

Chinese single herbs and active ingredients for postmenopausal osteoporosis: From preclinical evidence to action mechanism.

Lin J, Zhu J, Wang Y, Zhang N, Gober HJ, Qiu XM, Li DJ, Wang L


Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a systemic metabolic skeletal disease generally ascribable to a dearth of estrogen. Whether traditional Chinese medicine is effective in management of postmenopausal osteoporosis remains unclear. This article reviews the experimental evidence of both in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies with the theme of the application of Chinese single herbs and active ingredients in postmenopausal osteoporosis. It includes three single herbs (Herba Epimedium, Rhizoma Drynariae, and Salvia miltiorrhiza) and eight active ingredients (saikosaponins, linarin, echinacoside, sweroside, psoralen, poncirin, vanillic acid, and osthole). The experimental studies indicated their potential use as treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis and investigated the underlying mechanisms including osteoprotegerin/receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (OPG/RANKL), extracellularsignal-regulated kinase/c-Jun N terminal kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/JNK/MAPK), estrogen receptor (ER), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, Wnt/β-catenin, and Notch signaling pathways. This review contributes to a better understanding of traditional Chinese medicine and provides useful information for the development of more effective anti-osteoporosis drugs.

KEYWORDS: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), single herbs, active ingredients, postmenopausal osteoporosis, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), estrogen receptor (ER)

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