Isolation of anti-inflammatory fractions and compounds from the root of astragalus membranaceus

Patrick Kwok Kin Lai, Judy Yuet Wa Chan, Ling Cheng, Ching Po Lau, Simon Q B Han, Ping Chung Leung, Kwok Pui Fung, Clara Bik San Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Foot ulceration, if not treated properly, will eventually result in amputation. Inflammation may impede the wound healing process if not properly controlled. The root of Astragalus membranaceus (AR) is one of the Chinese herbs commonly found in Chinese herbal formulae used for treating foot ulcer. In this study, we aimed to identify the active fractions and/or compounds from AR aqueous extract, which are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect using in vitro bioassay-guided fractionation. The anti-inflammatory effect was monitored by the inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) released from lipopolysaccharide- stimulated mouse macrophage RAW 264.7 cells after treated with AR aqueous extract or its fractions and isolated components. Two major active fractions (P2-3-2-2-2 and P2-3-2-2-3) were found to significantly inhibit NO production at 0.156 mg/mL (p < 0.01). In addition, three chemical components (formononetin, calycosin and astragaloside IV) were successfully isolated from P2-3-2-2-3. Only formononetin could significantly inhibit NO production (p < 0.01), whereas the other two components had no significant effects at concentrations ranging from 0.039 to 0.156 mg/mL. In conclusion, two major anti-inflammatory active fractions that may enhance wound healing were identified, and formononetin was one of the active ingredients in the active fractions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology

User-Defined Keywords

  • anti-inflammatory
  • Astragalus membranaceus
  • bioassay-guided fractionation
  • formononetin
  • traditional Chinese medicine


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