Drug Discov Ther. 2013;7(6):212-224. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2013.v7.6.212)

Traditional Chinese medicine and related active compounds: A review of their role on hepatitis B virus infection.

Qi FH, Wang ZX, Cai PP, Zhao L, Gao JJ, Kokudo N, Li AY, Han JQ, Tang W


Since the significant public health hazard of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and obvious drug resistance and dose-dependent side effects for common antiviral agents (e.g., interferon α, lamivudine, and adefovir), continuous development of agents to treat HBV infection is urgently needed. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an established segment of the health care system in China. Currently, it is widely used for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in China and many parts of the world. Over a long period of time in clinical practice and in basic research progress, the effectiveness and beneficial contribution of TCM on CHB have been gradually known and confirmed. Based upon our review of related papers and because of our prior knowledge and experience, we have selected some Chinese medicines, including Chinese herbal formulas (e.g., Xiao-Chai-Hu-Tang, Xiao-Yao-San, and Long-Dan-Xie-Gan-Tang), single herbs (e.g., Phyllanthus niruri, Radix astragali, Polygonum cuspidatum, Rheum palmatum, and Salvia miltiorrhiza) and related active compounds (e.g., wogonin, artesunate, saikosaponin, astragaloside IV, and chrysophanol 8-O-beta-Dglucoside) and Chinese medicine preparations (e.g., silymarin, silibinin, kushenin, and cinobufacini), which seem effective and worthy of additional and indepth study in treating CHB, and we have given them a brief review. We conclude that these Chinese herbal medicines exhibit significant anti-HBV activities with improved liver function, and enhanced HBeAg and HBsAg sero-conversion rates as well as HBV DNA clearance rates in HepG2 2.2.15 cells, DHBV models, or patients with CHB. We hope this review will contribute to an understanding of TCM and related active compounds as an effective treatment for CHB and provide useful information for the development of more effective antiviral drugs.

KEYWORDS: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), chronic hepatitis B (CHB), traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), active compounds

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