Research: Sun Ten Roasted Aconite Proves to be a Potential Drug for the Prophylaxis and Treatment of Portal Hypertension


Zhi-Fuzi, a Cardiotonic Chinese Herb, a New

Medical Treatment Choice for Portal Hypertension?


Jui-Shan Lin, Cho-Yu Chan, Chi Yang, Yao-Horng Wang, Hue-Ying Chiou, and Yi-Chang Su



Zhi-Fuzi (Radix Aconiti lateralis preparata) is prescribed fairly frequently in Chinese medicine clinical practice for treating the complications of cirrhosis. However, scientific evidence regarding its efficacy and safety has not been available until now; in addition, its treatment efficacy has not yet been evaluated in well-designed clinical trials. Hence, we investigated the hemodynamic effects of Zhi-Fuzi in conscious rats with portal vein ligation (PVL) and the safety in normal rats.


Our study included 3 parts: (i) early administration during which the hemodynamic effects of low and high doses of Zhi-Fuzi (0.4 and 0.8 g/kg twice daily) and propranolol (15 and 30 mg/kg twice daily) administered for 14 days after PVL on male Sprague-Dawley rats were evaluated; (ii) late administration during which the other group of PVL rats received 2.4 g/kg of Zhi-Fuzi twice daily from the 15th to 28th postoperative day; hemodynamic effects were measured when the Zhi-Fuzi treatment was finished; and (iii) safety evaluation during which 2 groups of normal rats were administered Zhi-Fuzi (0.4 and 0.8 g/kg twice daily) for 14 days; biochemical and histopathologic studies were completed after hemodynamic measurement.


In early administration the portal pressures in rats receiving low and high doses of Zhi-Fuzi, low and high doses of propranolol, and distilled water were 13.81 ± 0.11, 11.59 ± 0.07, 17.09 ± 0.06, 14.52 ± 0.29, and 20.11 ± 0.22 mm Hg, respectively.

The high dose of Zhi-Fuzi exerted more portal hypotensive effects than propranolol and simultaneously ameliorated the systemic arterial hypotension in PVL rats. The late administration of Zhi-Fuzi also significantly reduced the elevated portal pressure (14.56 ± 0.19 vs. 19.50 ± 0.31 mm Hg in control, P < 0.05). There were no adverse effects seen in normal rats receiving Zhi-Fuzi. The results suggest that Zhi-Fuzi is a potential drug for the prophylaxis and treatment of portal hypertension.


Key words: portal hypertension; Chinese medicine; Zhi-Fuzi (Radix Aconiti lateralis preparata); portal vein ligation

  1. Introduction
  2. Material and Methods
    1. Drugs and Preparation: The Radix Aconiti lateralis preparata concentrated extract was purchased from a renowned GMP manufacturer of concentrated herbal extracts that conforms to international standards (Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Taipei, Taiwan)
    2. Animal Model
    3. Study Design
    4. Hemodynamic Measurements
    5. Biochemical Studies
    6. Histopathologic Analyses
    7. Statistical Analysis
  3. Results
    1. Effects of Early Administration of Zhi-Fuzi in PVL Rats.
    2. Effects of Late Administration of Zhi-Fuzi in PVL Rats. Gross Appearance of the Mesenteric Veins in the PVL Rats Administered Zhi-Fuzi.
  4. Discussion
  5. References


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