Notoginseng flower

Chinese Name: Tian qi
Medical Name:
Latin Name: Panax pseudo-ginseng notoginseng (Burkill.) G.Hoo. & C.J.Tseng., of the family Araliaceae
Origin: Dried flower
Taste: Sweet

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

GREAT DICTIONARY OF CHINESE HERBS: "In taste, it is sweet and cold. It relieves hot fevers; maintains the function of the liver; reduces excess pressure in the body; treats hypertension, dizziness and blurred vision; tinnitus; and throat infections."
"Notoginseng is a fairly recent newcomer to Chinese herbalism, the first recorded usage dating from the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it has attained an importance as a tonic medicine that supports the function of the adrenal glands, in particular the production of corticosteroids and male sex hormones. "

Western Research

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2006 Sep 29
Notoginseng enhances anti-cancer effect of 5-fluorouracil on human colorectal cancer cells.
Wang CZ, Luo X, Zhang B, Song WX, Ni M, Mehendale S, Xie JT, Aung HH, He TC, Yuan CS
Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 4028, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA.
PURPOSE: Panax notoginseng is a commonly used Chinese herb. Although a few studies have found that notoginseng shows anti-tumor effects, the effect of this herb on colorectal cancer cells has not been investigated. 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of colorectal cancer that interferes with the growth of cancer cells. However, this compound has serious side effects at high doses. In this study, using HCT-116 human colorectal cancer cell line, we investigated the possible synergistic anti-cancer effects between notoginseng flower extract (NGF) and 5-FU on colon cancer cells. METHODS: The anti-proliferation activity of these modes of treatment was evaluated by MTS cell proliferation assay. Apoptotic effects were analyzed by using Hoechst 33258 staining and Annexin-V/PI staining assays. The anti-proliferation effects of four major single compounds from NGF, ginsenosides Rb1, Rb3, Rc and Rg3 were also analyzed. RESULTS: Both 5-FU and NGF inhibited proliferation of HCT-116 cells. With increasing doses of 5-FU, the anti-proliferation effect was slowly increased. The combined usage of 5-FU 5 muM and NGF 0.25 mg/ml, significantly increased the anti-proliferation effect (59.4 +/- 3.3%) compared with using the two medicines separately (5-FU 5 muM, 31.1 +/- 0.4%; NGF 0.25 mg/ml, 25.3 +/- 3.6%). Apoptotic analysis showed that at this concentration, 5-FU did not exert an apoptotic effect, while apoptotic cells induced by NGF were observed, suggesting that the anti-proliferation target(s) of NGF may be different from that of 5-FU, which is known to inhibit thymidilate synthase. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that NGF can enhance the anti-proliferation effect of 5-FU on HCT-116 human colorectal cancer cells and may decrease the dosage of 5-FU needed for colorectal cancer treatment.

J Nat Prod. 2003 Jul;66(7):922-7
Structures of new dammarane-type Triterpene Saponins from the flower buds of Panax notoginseng and hepatoprotective effects of principal Ginseng Saponins.
Yoshikawa M, Morikawa T, Kashima Y, Ninomiya K, Matsuda H.
Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Misasagi, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto 607-8412, Japan.
The saponin fraction from the flower buds of Panax notoginseng exhibited protective effect on liver injury induced by d-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharide. From the saponin fraction with hepatoprotective effect, five new dammarane-type triterpene saponins, notoginsenosides-O (1), -P (2), -Q (3), -S (4), and -T (5), were isolated together with nine known protopanaxadiol oligoglycosides. The structures of the new saponins were elucidated on the basis of chemical and physicochemical evidence. The principal dammarane-type triterpene saponins from the roots and flower buds of Panax notoginseng were found to show potent hepatoprotective effects.

Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(1):155-60.
Effects of Ginsenoside Rb2 and Rc on inferior human sperm motility in vitro.
Chen JC, Chen LD, Tsauer W, Tsai CC, Chen BC, Chen YJ.
Research Institute of Chinese Medicine, China Medical College, Taichung, Taiwan.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of two constituents of Panax notoginseng flower extract, Ginsenoside Rb2 and Rc, on human sperm motility and progression in vitro. Semen samples were collected from 20 patients with sperm motility between 20% and 40% of normal. All samples had sperm counts of over 20 million per milliliter, in accordance with the World Health Organization standard. Sperm were separated by a Percoll discontinuous gradient technique, and divided into a Percoll sperm control group, and three Ginsenoside Rb2 experimental groups (0.1, 0.01 and 0.001 mg/ml) and three Ginsenoside Rc experimental groups (0.1, 0.01 and 0.001 mg/ml). The results showed that at concentrations of 0.01 mg/ml and 0.001 mg/ml, Ginsenoside Rc enhanced both sperm motility and sperm progression significantly at the end of the 1st and 2nd hour. However, the three concentrations of Ginsenoside Rb2 did not increase sperm motility at the 1st or 2nd hour, but promoted sperm progression at the 2nd hour, when compared to the Percoll group.