UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplement Research in Women's Health

College of Pharmacy

Pilot Project Grant

UIC Botanical Center - Focus on Safety and Efficacy of Botanicals

The UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements (UIC Botanical Center) evaluates the safety and efficacy of botanicals and especially those with potential benefits for women’s health, focusing on plants that are commonly available as botanical dietary supplements, which are reported to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.  Women have experimented with herbal remedies for gynecological complaints for centuries, but until recently few systematic investigations have been carried out in the United States.  The UIC Botanical Center’s studies are addressing the safety of botanicals, and their efficacy in reducing the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and other somatic symptoms in menopausal women.  Additionally, the Center tests these botanicals to determine their effect on estrogen metabolism as well as their impact on estrogen carcinogenesis.

UIC/NIH Botanical Center

Botanicals Under Investigation

Center botanicals were chosen based on a review of the literature using various databases including NAPRALERT® which includes ethnobotanical and traditional use references.

These botanicals were identified as having both historical and current use applications  or potential application to ameliorate menopausal symptoms. They include the following:

Botanical Common Name
(followed by the Latin name)
(Angelica sinensis)
(Viburnum prunifolium)
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa /Actaea racemosa) Kwao Kura
(Pueraria mirifica)
Vitex / Chaste tree Berry
(Vitex agnus-castus)
Wild Yam
(Dioscorea villosa)
(Valeriana officinalis)
Unicorn Root
(Aletris farinosa)
Red Clover
(Trifolium pratense)
Angelica dahurica
(Angelica dahurica)
(Humulus lupulus)
(Viburnum opulus)
Jamaican Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) Licorice
(Glycyrrhiza species: G. glabra, G. uralensis, G. inflata)

  Current Research

Examples of two familiar botanicals under current investigation are hops (Humulus lupulus)  and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) which are shown below.

Hops (above) is well known for its use in the beer-making process.  It adds color and flavor and acts as a preservative.  It has also been used traditionally as a sleep and anxiolytic  aid.  The UIC Botanical Center is studying its application to vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause and testing hops for its chemopreventive and antioxidant properties.

Licorice (above) is familiar to everyone as the candy or sweetener derived from the roots of this plant. However licorice has also had a traditional use as a demulcent  for coating / moisturizing tissue.  It has been used as a natural product for healing gastric ulcers.  Current Center research focuses on the phyto-estrogenic properties of licorice as well as licorice’s antioxidant and chemo -preventive properties.

News and Announcements

Director Richard van Breemen was interviewed by Robin Young of the National Public Radio program, “Here and Now,” regarding the contents and safety of botanical dietary supplements, which have been the subject of a recent investigation conducted by the New York Attorney General [Click Here for the Interview]

Richard van Breemen, invested as Matthias C. Lu Collegiate Professor [Read more.....]

Guido Pauli-UIC 2014 University Scholar [Read more .....]

Dejan Nikolic was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Phytochemical Society    of North American for 2014.

Judy Bolton - Woman of the year [Read more.....]


Recent Publications

Journal Articles

Simmler, C.; Napolitano, J. G.; McAlpine, J. B.; Chen, S. N.; Pauli, G. F., Universal quantitative NMR analysis of complex natural samples. Current opinion in biotechnology 2014, 25c, 51-59.

Yuan, Y.; Qiu, X.; Nikolic, D.; Chen, S. N.; Huang, K.; Li, G.; Pauli, G. F.; van Breemen, R. B., Inhibition of human cytochrome P450 enzymes by hops (Humulus lupulus) and hop prenylphenols.European journal of pharmaceutical sciences : official journal of the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences 2014, 53, 55-61.

Krause, E.; Yuan, Y.; Hajirahimkhan, A.; Dong, H.; Dietz, B. M.; Nikolic, D.; Pauli, G. F.; Bolton, J. L.; van Breemen, R. B., Biological and Chemical Standardization of a Hop (Humulus lupulus) Botanical Dietary Supplement. Biomedical Chromatography 2014. (In press)

Karalius VP, Harbison JE, Plange-Rhule J, van Breemen RB, Li G, Huang K, Durazo-Arvizu RA, Mora N, Dugas LR, Vail L, Tuchman NC, Forrester T, Luke A. Bisphenol A (BPA) Found in Humans and Water in Three Geographic Regions with Distinctly Different Levels of Economic Development. Environ Health Insights. 2014;8:1-3. Epub 2014/01/24. doi: 10.4137/ehi.s13130. PubMed PMID: 24453495; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC­3891657.

Book Chapters

Dietz B.M., Bolton J.L.: Anti-inflammatory botanical dietary supplements for women's health: Role in breast cancer prevention? P. 529- 548; Book section In: Inflammation and Cancer: Mechanisms and Dietary Approaches for Cancer Prevention. Edited by Kong AN: CRC Press - Taylor and Francis Group, LLC; August, 7 (2013).

Qiu F, Chen S-N, McAlpine JB, Krause EC, Pauli GF. Progress in pharmacognostic studies of Actaea racemosa. In Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products. Vol 99, 2014

Center Publications:

The UIC Botanical Center's peer-reviewed articles report on our research and scholarly activity.
DOI Links: DOI links and/or links to their online abstracts and full-text versions are provided. Note: Access to most journal articles and full DOI links require journal subscription and/or are subject to user authorization.

List of Center Publications [with DOI links; just click the journal names]

List of Center Publications - PDF Format

Visits Counter
Stats Counter