One of the most valued and useful plants in traditional Chinese medicine is the Chinese cap of Scutellaria baicalensis. Although less popular with Western healthcare professionals, bioactive agents such as baicalein flavonoids have led to many studies examining their healing properties. Due to its anticancer effects and other health benefits, this plant is an integral part of many combinations of herbal products used to treat cancer in Asia.
Chinese cap and cancer
The Chinese cap is a member of the mint family and grows in China and Russia. Its root is a rich source of over 35 flavonoids that give it a golden color. Hence its traditional name golden root or Huang Qin. One of the main flavonoids found in the root is Baikalein, flavon glycoside, flavon baikalein. Baicalein is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, where it has shown a wide range of important biological activities. Baicalein is an integral part of many herbal combinations of TCM used to treat various health disorders and conditions.
One of them is the famous Asian Sho-Saiko-to mixture. Currently, this compound is being investigated for its anti-cancer properties and anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-allergic properties. One of the most important features for us is its ability to prevent the replication of most cancer cell lines by inhibiting the lipoxygenase enzyme system.
Studies and research
Various experimental studies have indicated that baicalein inhibits the growth of cancer cells through many direct and indirect physiological activities:
Lipoxygenase inhibition and induction of cancer cell apoptosis
Chinese cap and Balkalein have shown the ability to inhibit lipoxygenase by an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid to specific leukotriene called eicosanoid. This compound is needed for cancer cells for further proliferation and division. Studies show that by inhibiting the enzyme, baicalein inhibits cancer cells’ proliferation and induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) of the gastric cancer cell line. Also, activation of arachidonic acid has been a critical action for prostate cancer metastases.
Experimental studies have shown that after treating prostate cancer cells with baicalin injections, these cells did not show any metastatic activity. This evidence suggests that in the presence of baicalein, metastasis of various cancer cell lines to other tissues can be prevented. The primary mechanism of this reaction is lipoxygenase inhibition. Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation also increases apoptosis and provides a better opportunity for immune system cells to destroy tumor cells.
Other studies have shown that baseline as an antitumor agent selectively induces apoptosis in liver cancer hepatoma cells with minimal impact on healthy cells. The ability to induce apoptosis is under intensive investigation. Many studies provide evidence that this flavonoid has the ability to induce apoptosis of various human cell lines cancer.
Baicalein has also been shown to have antiprophylactic effects on human bladder cancer.
This compound has shown antiprophylactic effects in bladder, pancreatic, and T lymphoid leukemia T cells. The mechanism of action was shown by reducing activated protein tyrosine kinase and protein C kinase activity. These two enzymes are necessary for normal cell proliferation, inhibit the enzyme lipoxygenase, and induce apoptosis. Balkalein and Chinese cap also reduce cancer cells’ proliferation by directly and indirectly inhibiting the specific enzymes required for cell division and proliferation.
Chinese cap Scutellaria baicalensis is also a powerful antioxidant and has been proven to protect DNA from triggered carcinogenic mutations by potent carcinogens such as benzopyrene and aflatoxins.
Stimulation of enzymes to repair DNA
Studies to date have shown that baicalein stimulates DNA repair, supporting the organism during traditional treatment methods such as radiation treatment in which DNA damage is created and additional disorders in a healthy part of the organism.
Inhibition of the enzyme alpha reductase
Baicalein has been shown to inhibit alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This action is directly related to prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer. As such, baicalein is used to prevent or treat androgen-dependent disorders, including prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.
Chinese cap and prostate cancer
Due to the Chinese cap’s mentioned properties, extensive research has been started on people who have prostate cancer. In studies conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, the herbal combination with the Chinese cap that contains baicalein was given orally to people who have metastases of prostate cancer. Completed testing proved a reversible process and stabilization of their condition with great progress, improving life quality. Positive results were shown in almost all patients.
After a treatment within 57 weeks, all patients with androgen-dependent cancer showed a reduction of 80% or more of their PSA, and even in 81% of cases, it could not be detected. In 31 of 32 patients, testosterone levels are reduced as in people castrated. Nine people with elevated phosphatase levels (a marker for cancer progression) had a 50% drop. In patients in whom cancer had spread to the bone, one person experienced the complete disappearance of the cancerous bone lesions, while the other showed improvement. One person showed the complete disappearance of the carcinogenic mass. It was confirmed through a CT scan.
In 35 patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer, 54% showed a PSA decline of 50% or more, and in 25 patients with bone metastases, two showed significant progress, 7 remained stable, and 11 had advanced metastases.
Anti-tumor properties of Chinese cap
Researchers have attributed many antitumor properties to the Chinese cap Scutellaria baicalensis, which contains baicalein. This plant has shown an impressive anti-cancer effect against androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines.
Studies have also been performed on other forms of cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver, and breast, in which this plant has also shown exceptional anti-cancer effects.
In ancient records of Chinese traditional physicians, this preparation was used several centuries ago to treat leukemia and hepatoma cancer.
The Chinese cap Scutellaria baicalensis also has a powerful antiviral effect, as evidenced by the inhibition of Hiv-1 integrase, an enzyme that is essential for HIV maintenance. Baicalein also inhibits the hypersensitivity activity that occurs in asthma and dermatitis.
Baicalein has shown impressive anti-inflammatory properties with its ability to reduce leukotriene and by inhibiting interleukins and prostaglandins. The Chinese cap has also shown significant improvements in people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
For good results in therapeutic action, it is necessary to take 150 to 200 mg of alkaline.