Study: Chinese Scullcap Shows Promise for Relief from Chemotherapy-Induced Cardiotoxicity
Sara M. Woods Kender
A peer-reviewed study, published on May 14, 2022, reports that compounds extracted from a plan might provide relief to cancer patients suffering from cardiotoxicity induced by chemotherapy treatments. Researchers in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mansoura University in Egypt showed that the use of the flavonoid baicalin extracted from the Chinese Scullcap plant (Scutellariae baicalenses) and given to mice prior to and during dministering Doxorubicin (Dox: a chemotherapeutic agent) “ameliorated” Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, a common side-effect of using this drug. The mice were given 100 mg/kg/day of baicalin (BA) for four weeks and were challenged with Dox (6 i.p. doses, each 2.5 mg/kg), every other day with a final cumulative dose of 15 mg/kg.
Serum activities of cardiac biomarkers were assessed along with histopathological examination of the heart tissues. Pretreatment with BA significantly prevented Dox-induced elevation of serum activities of cardiac biomarkers and alterations to the heart. BA was also observed to suppress the gene over expression of cardiac TLR4 (toll-like receptor 4) subsequently reducing inflammation markers and inducers NF-kB and IL-1b. BA was also observed to reverse the
reduction in cardiac glutathione (another known side-effect of the chemo drug) as well as malondialdehyde (MDA) a known marker of oxidative stress.
This study shows promise in prevention of known cardiotoxicity induced by this chemo agent and is consistent with the use of Chinese Scullcap for overall inflammation in various herbal formulations. While this study uses the single constituent baicalin, this plant is known to contain many other flavonoids, including wogonin, neobaicalein, and skullcapflavone, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Note a study from 2005 reported that these constituents (including baicalin) were observed to inhibit prostate cancer tumors growth.
Some practitioners use Chinese Scullcap in various formulations, for example, a whole plant extract for overall inflammation useful for arthritis, circulatory inflammation, and those prone to allergic rhinitis, asthma, and Lyme-induced inflammation of the joints and circulatory system. I combine this root with Ginger root (Zingiber officinale), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum), Hawthorn (Cratagus spp), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), frankincense resin (Boswellia spp). Patients seeking relief have reported that this multiherb approach alleviates pain and inflammation and reduces over-all reactive states associated with allergies.
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