Comparison of the effects of "hot" and "cold" Chinese medicinal plants on the production of inflammatory mediators by RAW 264.7 cells

Su Chen Ho*, Po Jung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The hot/cold balance system plays an important therapeutic role in traditional Chinese medicine and is applied in food selection by East Asians. Foods traditionally considered "hot" have been demonstrated to have the ability to enhance basal prostaglandin E2 production Conversely, foods considered "cold" can suppress prostaglandin E2 production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated cells. Therefore, this study attempted to further confirm the previous hypotheses by selecting four Chinese medicinal plants and comparing their natural hot or cold characteristic influences on the production of inflammatory mediators. Herbs traditionally regarded as hot (Coptis chinensis and Scutellaria baicalensis) or cold (Zingiber officinale and Cinnamomum cassia) were extracted with hot water and applied to RAW 264.7 cells in the presence or absence of LPS. Supporting the previous hypothesis, hot water extracts from the "hot-herbs", Zingiber officinale and Cinnamomum cassia, induced PGE2 production and COX-2 expression by unactivated cells. In contrast, LPS-induced PGE2 production and COX-2 expression was inhibited dose-dependently by hot water extracts of the "cold-herbs", Coptis chinensis and Scutellaria Baicalensis. All of the subject herbs had a strict inhibitory effect on NO production and iNOS expression. These results implied that COX-2 but not iNOS expression might serve as an indicator of hotness or coldness of medicinal plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food and Drug Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Cinnamomum cassia
  • Coptis chinensis
  • Prostaglandin E nitric oxide
  • Scutellaria baicalensis
  • Zingiber officinale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Pharmacology


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