Xiao Chai Hu Tang (XCHT) is a powerful Chinese herbal formula. Its discovery was first dated back to approximately 280 A.D.
The formula includes Chai Hu, Ban Xia, Sheng Jiang, Da Zao Ren Shen, Huang Qin, and Gan Cao. Some of these ingredients are commonly known as ginseng and licorice.
Let’s explore 10 powers of this formula!
1) Reduces Peptic Ulcers
A 2021 systemic review of randomized controlled trials found XCHT to be a therapeutic alternative for peptic ulcers. The review included 13 randomized controlled trials with an average of 1.334 patients.
XCHT improved patient’s peptic ulcer’s signs and symptoms when given on its own and with adjust conventional pharmacotherapy The clinical efficacy was analyzed through appetite, abdominal distention, vomiting, stomach pain, and adverse events.
Patient with Peptic Ulcer
2) Inhibits Tumors Growth
A clinical trial in 2021 explored the anti-depressive and anti-tumorgenic role of XCHT. The study expressed a link between a reduction in depression and improved cancer outcomes.
XCHT’s anti-depressant mechanism starts in the gut . Hormones synthesized in the gut influence mood, such as depression. This study showed that XCHT reduced the levels of Parabacteroides, Blautia, and Ruminococcaceae bacterium in the gut. The reduction in bacterium led to the down-regulation of an anti-tumorigenic pathway, TLR4/MyD88/NF-kB pathway.
Therefore, the overall mechanism suggest that XCHT exhibits anti-tumor effects. In this study, scientists also explored the clinical properties of XCHT. Here, XCHT or placebo were given to cancer patients experiencing depression. Over the course of the study, patients rated their depression, had their tumor-related immune indicators measured, and gut microbial composition analyzed.
The results shows that XCHT had a positive impact on tumor progression based on the aforementioned parameters. The research suggests that XCHT reduces tumor growth by influencing the depression hormonal pathway in the gut.
3) Reduces Liver Injury
Scientists studying Xiao Chai Hu Tang
A mouse model study in 2012 explored XCHT’s impact on liver injury. The mice had D-galactosamine-induced liver injury. The mice either received XCHT on a low, medium, or high dose or received nothing (the control group).
To assess liver injury, markers such as IL-6, TNF-alpha, and FasmRNA were measured. XCHT given at all doses was found to significantly decrease these markers in their liver, indicating improvement in liver injury.
4) Protects the Kidneys
In another mouse model study in 2012, scientists gave XCHT to type-1 diabetic mice experiencing diabetic nephropathy, a deterioration of kidney function. Decreased oxidative stress and lowered production of TGF-beta-1, fibronectin, and type IV collagen are indicative of improved kidney function.
Following four weeks of XCHT administration, the kidney functions in the mice were assessed. The mice who had received XCHT had decreased expression of TGF-beta-1, fibronectin, and type IV collagen.
The scientists concluded that through the down regulation of these markers, XCHT has potential to improve kidney function in diabetics.
5) Impacts Pathways in Colon Cancer
A study in 2021 assessed the active ingredients and potential targets of XCHT in the treatment of colon cancer. The study identified 20 potential anti-colon cancer targets from 71 active XCHT ingredients.
These targets included signaling pathways, such as TNF, which play a role in colon cancer growth. Therefore, XCHT holds potential as an effective therapy for colon cancer. However, further clinical studies are necessary.
6) Kills Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
Researchers in 2017 found XCHT to induce apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells both in vitro and in vivo. Apoptosis is known as programmed cell death. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of primary liver cancer and apoptosis of cancer cells is desired in cancer treatment.
This study found XCHT to reduce tumor size and weight and also decrease cancer cell survival both in vitro and vivo. Therefore, XCHT holds promising potential to act against hepatocellular carcinoma growth.
7) Inhibits Lung Metastasis
So far, we have discussed XCHT’s role in tumor growth and cancer cell apoptosis. Additionally, XCHT has also been found to inhibit the spread of lung cancer.
A comparativel study back in 1986 administered XCHT to animals and found that XCHT can enhance the function of macrophages. Macrophages are essential cells to keep the immune system healthy.
IV administration of activated macrophages showed to inhibited lung metastases in mouse models. XCHT’s ability to reduce cancer occurs via many pathways. Through the above examples, XCHT can be a means to fight cancer.
8) Alleviates Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a severe side effect of irinotecan, a drug given for cancer. To combat diarrhea, researchers in a study in 2019 evaluated the anti-diarrheal potential of XCHT.
In pre-clinical and clinical studies, XCHT has been shown to decrease a metabolite of irinotecan, SN-38, found in the colon. Decreasing SN-38 can mitigate irinotecan-induced diarrhea. In order for XCHT to not impact the therapeutic benefit of ironotecan, plasma levels in the gut have to stay the same.
The researchers found XCHT to significantly decrease fecal concentrations of SN-38 without effecting the therapeutic benefit of ironectacan, as plasma levels in the gut stayed the same. This pathway was elucidated in this study, however further clinical studies are needed to further support this conclusion in patients.
Individual experiencing stress
9) Relieves Stress
A study earlier discussed the anti-depressive effects of XCHT and those effects can be even applied to mild stress! A rat model study in 2016 measured XCHT in the context of unpredictable mild stress.
The rat models showed behaviors of mild stress through reductions in their food consumption and sugar preference. When these rats received XCHT, these symptoms improved.
The scientists further analyzed what compounds in XCHT play a role in the pathogenesis of decreased depression. They identified tryptophan, uric acid, phenylalanine, cholic acid, and lysophosphatidylcholine.
10) Reduces Depression in Perimenopause
In addition to mild stress, researchers found XCHT to reduce depression in perimenopausal mice. A mouse study in 2020 found XCHT to reduce depression-like behaviors in mice and also restore serotonin and other hormones involved in depression.
This restoration of hormones helps normalize the function of the HPA axis. The HPA axis is a pathway in the body connecting the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland: a pathway invovled in stress and depression.