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Chronic cough is very common in respiratory clinics, and no effective drugs are available. Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (S. chinensis), an important traditional Chinese medicine, has been extensively prescribed for patients with a persistent cough. Preliminary research indicated that 95% ethanol extracts (EE) of S. chinensis showed remarkable antitussive activity in guinea pigs exposed to cigarette smoke (CS). To find out the antitussive ingredients of S. chinensis, EE was divided into four fractions according to the polarity: petroleum ether extract (PEE), ethyl acetate extract (ECE), n-butyl alcohol extract, and residue extract. The antitussive, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of the four fractions were evaluated in a guinea pig model of cough hypersensitivity induced by CS exposure. Eighteen main constituents of the two effective fractions, PEE and ECE, were identified using ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography electronic spray ion time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The cough inhibition activities of compound 1, 3, 9, 10, 17 were evaluated on citric acid induced acute cough guinea pigs. The results showed that the antitussive activity of EE was almost all contained in PEE and ECE. The 16 major peaks in PEE were identified as 15 lignans (1-12 and 14-16) and 1 triterpene (compound 13), and 3 major peaks (1, 17, and 18) in ECE were also identified as lignans. Three doses of five compounds brought about a significant decrease in number of cough efforts (Pā€‰<ā€‰.01), and the cough inhibition rates were between 40.9% and 85.1%. Therefore, lignans are the antitussive ingredients of S. chinensis.


Shan Zhong, Li-Ping Bai, Xiao-Dong Liu, Die-Yi Cai, Lee-Fong Yau, Chu-Qin Huang, Jia-Qi Zhang, Ke-Fang Lai, Nan-Shan Zhong. Cough Inhibition Activity of Schisandra chinensis in Guinea Pigs. Journal of medicinal food. 2021 Apr;24(4):348-357

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PMID: 33861937

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