The botanical rabdosia rubescens (Isodon rubescens)-Chinese name dong ling cao-has two very active agents, oridonin and rubesencin b. Oridonin inhibits DNA synthesis in vitro Reviewed in , and rubesencin b inhibited cell growth in cancer cell lines in vitro and in a mouse model.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is the only botanical in PC-SPES that is not used in TCM. There is strong evidence from human trials that saw palmetto has some activity against benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), including improved urine flow and less erectile dysfunction when compared with placebo or finasteride.S. repens also exhibits antiestrogenic activity in placebo-controlled BPH trials. In LNCaP cells, S. repens produced apoptosis in vitro.[48,49,50,51,52]
Exactly how PC-SPES works in the body is still unknown. The presence of adulterants and varying amounts of the active agents in each lot of PC-SPES complicate the interpretation of any results from studies that might lead to an explanation of its mechanisms of action. More studies of the individual components of the mixture and testing of a standard formulation that is free of adulterants are needed before any conclusions can be reached about the level of cytotoxicity, antineoplasticity, or estrogenicity of PC-SPES.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) stopped funding to studies of PC-SPES after the drug contamination was detected and made public, although the laboratory studies were later resumed.
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