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:
(followed by the Latin name)
|Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa /Actaea racemosa)||
Kwao Kura |
Vitex / Chaste tree Berry
Wild Yam |
|Jamaican Dogwood (Cornus officinalis)||
(Glycyrrhiza species: G. glabra, G. uralensis, G. inflata)
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]
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.
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
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.