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Anti-fatigue Effects of Active Ingredients from Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Review

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Background: The application of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the treatment of fatigue has long been practiced in clinical and showed significant effects.

Objective: This article summarizes the work done on the natural products from TCM that are reported to have effects of treating fatigue, in the past two decades.

Method: Research status, sources, models, efficacy and mechanisms of active ingredients and their monomer in the treatment of fatigue are discussed.

Results: Pharmacological research shows that active ingredients of polysaccharide can significantly improve body’s resistance through promoting glycogen synthesis, reducing sports metabolites and increasing hypoxia tolerance; Alkaloids have been proven to be effective in promoting the reserving of various glucogen substances, improving exercise endurance and speeding up the metabolism of body’s urea nitrogen in mice; With the increase of glycosides amount, up goes the sport endurance, liver glycogen content and the ability of clear lactate index in mice, indicating that saponin has clear, dose-dependent anti-fatigue effect; Polyphenols have also functions of resisting fatigue, where they reduce free radicals accumulated and thus slow down the rapid declination of exercise capacity when doing sports; There are other active ingredients of TCM that have biological activities, like some proteins, anthraquinones, terpenes, unsaturated fatty acid monomer compounds; And research has found that tonic medicine can promote the elimination of fatigue and improve athletic ability.

Conclusion: It is hoped that the data summarized in this review will be beneficial to the screening of new nature-derived drugs with the ability of relieving and improving fatigue.

Keywords: Traditional Chinese medicine; active ingredients; fatigue; natural products; treatment

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

This article was made available online on September 8, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Anti-fatigue Effects of Active Ingredients from Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Review".

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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