Chemical and biological assessment of Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang: Comparison of different preparations during historical applications
The commonly used Angelica herbal decoction today is Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT), which is a dietary supplement in treating menopausal irregularity in women, i.e. to nourish "Qi" and to enrich "Blood". According to historical record, many herbal decoctions were also named DBT, but the most popular formulation of DBT was written in Jin dynasty (1247 AD) of China, which contained Astragali Radix (AR) and Angelicae Sinensis Radix (ASR) with a weight ratio of 5:1. However, at least two other Angelica herbal decoctions recorded as DBT were prescribed in Song (1155 AD) and Qing dynasties (1687 AD). Although AR and ASR are still the major components in the DBT herbal decoctions, they are slightly varied in the herb composition. In order to reveal the efficiency of different Angelica herbal decoctions, the chemical and biological properties of three DBT herbal extracts were compared. Significantly, the highest amounts of AR-derived astragaloside III, astragaloside IV, calycosin and formononetin and ASR-derived ferulic acid were found in DBT described in 1247 AD: this preparation showed stronger activities in osteogenic, estrogenic and erythropoetic effects than the other two DBT. The current results supported the difference of three DBT in chemical and biological properties, which could be a result of different herbal combinations. For the first time, this study supports the popularity of DBT described in 1247 AD.