The Impacts of Herbal Medicines and Natural Products on Regulating the Hepatic Lipid Metabolism

Sha Li, Yu Xu, Wei Guo, Feiyu Chen, Cheng Zhang, Hor Yue Tan, Ning Wang, Yibin Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The dysregulation of hepatic lipid metabolism is one of the hallmarks in many liver diseases including alcoholic liver diseases (ALD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD). Hepatic inflammation, lipoperoxidative stress as well as the imbalance between lipid availability and lipid disposal, are direct causes of liver steatosis. The application of herbal medicines with anti-oxidative stress and lipid-balancing properties has been extensively attempted as pharmaceutical intervention for liver disorders in experimental and clinical studies. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying their hepatoprotective effects warrant further exploration, increasing evidence demonstrated that many herbal medicines are involved in regulating lipid accumulation processes including hepatic lipolytic and lipogenic pathways, such as mitochondrial and peroxisomal β-oxidation, the secretion of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), the non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) uptake, and some vital hepatic lipogenic enzymes. Therefore, in this review, the pathways or crucial mediators participated in the dysregulation of hepatic lipid metabolism are systematically summarized, followed by the current evidences and advances in the positive impacts of herbal medicines and natural products on the lipid metabolism pathways are detailed. Furthermore, several herbal formulas, herbs or herbal derivatives, such as Erchen Dection, Danshen, resveratrol, and berberine, which have been extensively studied for their promising potential in mediating lipid metabolism, are particularly highlighted in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Article number351
Number of pages20
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

User-Defined Keywords

  • fatty liver
  • herbal medicines
  • lipid metabolism
  • lipogenesis
  • lipolysis
  • natural products


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