The species of genus Asarum (Aristolochiaceae) are distributed throughout Asia, and in eastern and western North America, and a single species in Europe. Nowadays, the plant sources of Herba Asari are recorded as comprised of three species of the genus Asarum, namely, A. heterotropoides Fr. Schmidt var. mandshuricum Kitag., A. sieboldii Miq. var. seoulense Nakai, and A. sieboldii Miq. The medicinal part of these plants in use is the root “Asiasari Radix”.
What are the benefits of Asarum Heterotropoides extract?
- Antimicrobial activity: Essential oil from the underground part of the A. heterotropoides exhibits antimicrobial and inhibitory activity against five types of epidermal bacteria, producing human body odor (Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Corynebacterium jeikeium and Corynebacterium xerosis). This essential oil also has an inhibitory effect on the growth and development of Streptoccus sp., Shigella sp. and Salmonella typhi.
- Antifungal activity: Essential oil from the roots of A. heterotropoides exhibits significant fungicidal activity against phytopathogenic fungi Alternaria humicola, Rhizoctonia solani, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Phytophthora cactorum and Fusarium solani.
- Acaricidal activity: Ethanol extract of the roots of A. heterotropoides and preparations of steam distillate show acaricidal activity against the chicken tick, a parasitizing wild bird. Petroleum ether extract and essential oil from the roots of A. heterotropoides show acaricidal toxicity to Dermatophagoides farinae dust mites. Ticks of this species cause tick-borne sensibilization in humans. This type of sensibilization occurs by diffuse neurodermatitis, asthma attacks, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis.
- Larvicidal and nematocidal activities: The larvicidal activity of a number of compounds isolated from the roots of A. heterotropoides has been established in relation to the larvae of non-malarial mosquitoes.
- Antitussive activity: roots from A. heterotropoids contain active components that suppress the cough reflex. It was found that higenamine amide is a-adrenergic agonist, and phenylpropanoid methyleugenol has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle fibers of the trachea.
- Inotropic and chronotropic effects: extract of A. heterotropoids when administered intravenously increases heart rate and stroke volume in animal experiments.
- Hypolipidemic effect and antithrombotic activity – azarone showed a significant decrease in blood lipid levels (lipid-lowering effect) and showed antithrombotic properties in in-vitro and in-vivo experiments on rats and mice. Sesamine and episesamine contained in the roots of A. sieboldii exhibit antithrombotic properties. What is more, the inhibitory activity on anticoagulation by episesamine was stronger. Anticoagulant activity was studied by monitoring activated partial thromboplastin time, prothrombin time, cell thrombin activity and activated factor X. In addition, the amide compound pellitorin found in the subterranean parts of A. sieboldii / A. heterotropoides also has antithrombotic activity and causes anticoagulant effects in mice.
- Antisecretory and antiulcer activities: aqueous and ethanol extracts of a mixture of A. europaeum root and Symplocos racemosa bark (Symplocaceae) show a potent antisecretory and antiulcer effect in an in vivo experiment on rats. This justifies the traditional use of this herb for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease.
- Hepatoprotective activity: injection of an aqueous extract of Asiasari radix showed significant hepatoprotective activity, showed a decrease in the content of total cholesterol and phospholipids in the blood serum in an experiment on rats.
- Antioxidant protection: A. heterotropoides extraxct showed antioxidant activity and helps to scavenge free radicals and prevent aging.
- Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities: Lignan-containing water and ethanol extracts from the underground part of A. heterotropoides exhibited the high antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory pharmacodynamics in experiments. Herb extract of A. heteropoides when administered intravenously effectively relieves bronchospasm in an animal experiment. The alcohol solution of the essential oil of this plant in a mixture with borneol, when applied sublingually in patients with angina pectoris and coronary heart disease, has a therapeutic effect similar to that of nitroglycerin. Clinical trials of a paste from a mixture of grass A. heteropoides var. mandshuricum / A. sieboldii with glycerin have been shown to be effective in aphthous ulcers. Asiasari radix essential oil shows an anti-inflamatory and anesthetic effect in animal experiments. When administratered intraperitoneally, it reduces edema in the legs of rats.
- Anti-allergic activity: the aqueous extract of Asiasari radix (A. heteropoides var. mandshuricum / A. sieboldii) has anti-allergic activity. In vivo and in vitro extract showed an inhibitory effect on blood IgE immunoglobulin and its products that cause hypersensitivity and are directly involved in allergic reactions. The methanol extract of A. sieboldi roots exhibits in vitro and in vivo antiallergic properties. The Asiasari radix shows a significant effect on Nasal hypersensitivity, prevents allergic rhinitis by reducing the amount of histamine in the nasal mucosa and blocking the activity of nitric oxide synthase. Azarinin isolated from Herba Asari extract may play an important role in suppressing immune graft rejection after heart transplantation, prolong allograft survival time, and protect the donor organ.
- Hair growth-promoting effect: ethanol extract of Radix Asiasari showed potent stimulation of hair growth in experiments in mice
- Antiviral activity: Aqueous A. heterotropoides herbal extracts have been shown to be effective against human papillomavirus.
- Anti-melanogenesis activity: the Asiasari Radix extract shows an inhibitory effect on melanin synthesis in the experiment. It leads to a decrease in tyrosinase activity and melanin synthesis, as well as protein expression associated with the process of melanogenesis.
Who can use Asarum Heterotropoides extract?
Asarum Heterotropoides extract is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin and skin of colour, but do make sure to conduct a test patch to see if you are allergic to this extract.