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The seed of Senna obtusifolia (L.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby (Cassiae semen, CS) also known as Jue ming zi in China, has been traditionally used for weight management by purging the liver and improving the liver functions to support digestion. In the past decades, it has been used for hepatoprotection and treatment of overweight and other metabolic disorders such as hyperlipidaemia and diabetes. This review aimed at providing comprehensive information on the traditional usages, pharmacology, phytochemistry and toxicology of CS and critically exploring its potential usage for clinical weight management from both traditional and modern application perspectives. In order to fully understand the properties, actions and indications of CS, two sets of Chinese classical texts were searched, namely: Zhong Hua Yi Dian (Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Zhong Guo Ben Cao Quan Shu (Complete Collection of Traditional Texts on Chinese Materia Medica). The purpose of studying these classical texts was to determine the traditional use of CS in weight management. Comprehensive searches were also performed on seven databases for publications on original randomised clinical trials (RCT), in vivo, in vitro or in silico studies related to pharmacological effects of CS. Detailed information about the phytochemistry of CS was collected from books, encyclopedia, online databases and journal literature. In classical literature review, 89 classic texts provided information of properties, actions and indications of CS. In modern literature review, 44 studies were included for analysis, including 5 RCTs, 7 in vivo studies, 14 in vitro studies, 2 in silico studies and 16 studies of mixed types. Chinese classic literature has provided traditional evidence of the usage of CS for weight management. Contemporary studies have revealed that CS has weight loss effects and possesses some other pharmacological activities supporting weight management. Some chemical compounds of CS have been hypothesised to have a direct or indirect contribution to weight control. The relationships between chemical compounds and the corresponding weight-loss target proteins are not fully understood. Therefore, CS constituents should be further explored for the development of novel therapeutic or preventive agents for the treatment of overweight and obesity. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Heidi Yuen, Angela Wei Hong Yang, Andrew Hung, George Binh Lenon. How does traditional knowledge of Cassiae semen shed light on weight management? - A classical and modern literature review. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2021 Mar 25;268:113572

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PMID: 33188899

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