Herb of the Month


Mu Dan Pi


Cortex Moutan Radicis
Class: Clear Heat
Subclass: Cool the Blood
Moves Blood.
Eliminates Blood accumulation.

The root bark of Paeonia moutan is a potential anticancer agent in human oral squamous cell carcinoma cells.
Li C, Yazawa K, Kondo S, Mukudai Y, Sato D, Kurihara Y, Kamatani T, Shintani S. Anticancer Res. 2012 Jul;32(7):2625-30.

Currently there is growing use of complementary and alternative anticancer medicines worldwide, and considerable interest in finding anticancer drugs among Chinese medicinal herbs. The aim of this study was to determine the antitumor activity of the root bark of Paeonia moutan (RBPM) in human squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. Cell lines derived from human oral squamous cell carcinoma (HSC2, 3, 4, SAS) were tested with different concentrations of RBPM (1-100 g/ml) using a series of in vitro assay systems. RBPM at a concentration of 100 g/ml inhibited monolayer and anchorage-independent growth, and interrupted coordinated migration. RBPM activated the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and serine/threonine kinase AKT in 30 min; then, at a later stage (after 6 hours) exhibited potent cytostatic, pro-apoptotic effects through the down-regulation of the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and its partner cyclin D1, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. We found direct evidence that RBPM induces apoptotic cell death via DNA fragmentation. Taken together, the antitumor activity of RBPM was demonstrated through antiproliferative and apoptotic effects.



Antitumor effect of extracts from moutan cortex on DLD-1 human colon cancer cells in vitro.
Xing G, Zhang Z, Liu J, Hu H, Sugiura N. Mol Med Report. 2010 Jan-Feb;3(1):57-61. doi: 10.3892/mmr_00000218.

Moutan cortex, the root bark of Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews (Paeoniaceae), is a traditional Chinese medicine widely used for the treatment of various diseases. In the present study, we examined the antiproliferative effect and apoptosis-inducing activity of paeonol and the crude total glycosides (CTG) extracted from moutan cortex against DLD-1 human colon cancer cells in vitro. Cell viability was measured using the WST-8 assay. Apoptosis was detected by Hoechst 33258 fluorescence staining and flow cytometry. Paeonol and the CTG significantly reduced cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The induction of apoptosis in DLD-1 cells was characterized by morphological changes and an increased percentage of hypodiploid cells. After treatment for 48 h with paeonol (400 g/ml) or CTG (200 g/ml), the ratio of apoptotic cells reached 34.79 and 48.12%, respectively. The findings obtained indicate that paeonol and the CTG extracted from moutan cortex have a significant growth-inhibitory effect on human colon cancer cells. This effect may be related to the induction of apoptosis.