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Butterbur, Rosmarinic Acid

May 2006

Treating intermittent allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomized, placebo and antihistamine-controlled study of Butterbur extract Ze 339.

BACKGROUND: Intermittent allergic rhinitis (IAR) causes patients distress and impairs their work performance and quality of life. A variety of medicines are used by sufferers whose anguish frequently leads to trying new treatments, increasingly from herbal sources. METHODS: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel group comparison study of Butterbur extract (Ze 339; 8 mg total petasine; one tablet thrice-daily), fexofenadine (Telfast 180, one tablet once-daily) and placebo in 330 patients. Protocol and analysis were according to the latest guidelines on new treatments for allergic rhinitis. The primary efficacy variable was a change in symptoms from baseline to endpoint during daytime. The secondary efficacy variables were: (a) as per primary variable (evening/night); (b) Physician’s global assessment; (c) Responder rates. Safety was closely monitored. FINDINGS: Both active treatments were individually significantly superior to placebo (p<0.001) in improving symptoms of IAR, while there were no differences between the two active treatments (p=0.37). Superiority to placebo was similarly shown during the evening/night (p<0.001), by physicians’ own assessment and by responder rates. Both treatments were well tolerated. INTERPRETATION: Butterbur Ze 339 and Fexofenadine are comparably efficacious relative to placebo. Despite being a herbal drug, Butterbur Ze 339 has now been subject to a series of well controlled trials and should be considered as an alternative treatment for IAR.

Phytother Res. 2005 Jun;19(6):530-7

Butterbur Ze339 for the treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose-dependent efficacy in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether the efficacy and safety of Butterbur extract Ze339 are related to dosage when administered to patients with intermittent allergic rhinitis. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparison. SETTING: Multicenter, including 6 outpatient general medicine and allergy clinics. PATIENTS: One hundred eighty-six patients were randomized (Butterbur Ze339 high dose, 60; low dose, 65; and placebo, 61 patients). Established diagnostic criteria for intermittent allergic rhinitis were confirmed by skin allergy tests in all patients. INTERVENTIONS: High-dose group, 1 tablet 3 times daily; low-dose group, 1 tablet twice daily; or matching placebo. All groups were treated for 2 consecutive weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main efficacy variable was change in symptoms from baseline to end point during the daytime. The secondary efficacy variables were Clinical Global Impression score, change in symptoms from baseline to treatment day 7, and responder rates. Statistical analysis was prospective, on an intention-to-treat basis. RESULTS: Improvement in the main efficacy variable was significantly superior in the Butterbur Ze339 groups, relative to placebo, and a significant dose relationshipwas observed between the 2 Butterbur doses. The clinicians’ assessment of efficacy and the overall responder rates were significantly superior for the active groups compared with placebo. The incidence and type of adverse events were indistinguishable across the herbal treatment and placebo groups. CONCLUSIONS: Butterbur Ze339 is an effective treatment for intermittent allergic rhinitis symptoms and is well tolerated. The effects of this herbal medicine are clear to patients and physicians in a double-blind evaluation against placebo.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004Dec;130(12):1381-6

A placebo-controlled evaluation of butterbur and fexofenadine on objective and subjective outcomes in perennial allergic rhinitis.

BACKGROUND: There are presently no placebo-controlled data regarding the effects of butterbur (BB) on subjective and objective outcomes in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis. OBJECTIVE: We performed a placebo-controlled evaluation of the effects of BB and fexofenadine (FEX) on subjective and objective outcomes in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis. METHODS: Sixteen patients with perennial allergic rhinitis and house dust mite sensitization were randomized in double-blind cross-over fashion to receive for 1 week either BB 50 mg twice daily, FEX 180 mg once daily and placebo (PL) once daily, or PL twice daily. The peak nasal inspiratory flow (PNIF) response to adenosine monophosphate (AMP) challenge administered as a single 400 mg/mL dose was measured over a 60-min period after challenge, and domiciliary total nasal symptom score was recorded. RESULTS: Pre-challenge values for mean+/-SEM PNIF (L/min) were not significantly different comparing all groups; BB (138+/-8), FEX (140+/-9), and PL (138+/-8). The maximum % PNIF fall from baseline after nasal AMP challenge was significantly attenuated (P<0.05) compared to PL (46+/-3), with BB (34+/-3) and FEX (39+/-3). The area under the 60-min time-response curve (%.min) was also significantly attenuated (P<0.05) compared to PL (1734+/-156), with BB (1052+/-258) and FEX (1194+/-161). There was also a significant reduction (P<0.05) in total nasal symptom score with BB (1.8+/-0.4) and FEX (1.8+/-0.4), compared to PL (2.8+/-0.5). There were no significant differences between BB and FEX for any outcomes. CONCLUSION: BB and FEX, in comparison to PL, were equally effective in attenuating the nasal response to AMP and in improving nasal symptoms, highlighting a potential role for BB in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Apr;34(4):646-9

Rosmarinic acid induces p56lck-dependent apoptosis in Jurkat and peripheral T cells via mitochondrial pathway independent from Fas/Fas ligand interaction.

Apoptosis is one way of controlling immune responses, and a variety of immunosuppressive drugs suppress harmful immune responses by inducing apoptosis of lymphocytes. In this study we observed that rosmarinic acid, a secondary metabolite of herbal plants, induced apoptosis in an p56(lck) (Lck)-dependent manner; Lck(+) Jurkat T cells undergo apoptosis in response to rosmarinic acid (RosA) treatment, whereas Lck(-) Jurkat subclone J.CaM1.6 cells do not. J.CaM1.6 cells with various Lck mutants indicated that Lck SH2 domain, but not Lck kinase activity, was required for RosA-induced apoptosis. RosA induced apoptosis in the absence of a TCR stimulus, and this was not prevented by interruption of the Fas/Fas ligand interaction. Instead, RosA-mediated apoptosis involved a mitochondrial pathway as indicated by cytochrome c release and the complete blockage of apoptosis by an inhibitor of mitochondrial membrane depolarization. Both caspase-3 and -8 were indispensable in RosA-induced apoptosis and work downstream of mitochondria and caspase-9 in the order of caspase-9/caspase-3/caspase-8. In freshly isolated human PBMC, RosA specifically induced apoptosis of Lck(+) subsets such as T and NK cells, but not Lck-deficient cells, including B cells and monocytes. Moreover, RosA’s ability to kill T and NK cells was restricted to actively proliferating cells, but not to resting cells. In conclusion, Lck-dependent apoptotic activity may make RosA an attractive therapeutic tool for the treatment of diseases in which T cell apoptosis is beneficial.

J Immunol. 2004 Jan 1;172(1):79-87

Rosmarinic acid in perilla extract inhibits allergic inflammation induced by mite allergen, in a mouse model.

BACKGROUND: Perilla and its constituent rosmarinic acid have been suggested to have anti-allergic activity. However, few studies have examined the effects on allergic asthma. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of oral administration of perilla leaf extract, which contains high amount of rosmarinic acid, on a murine model of allergic asthma induced by house dust mite allergen. METHODS: C3H/He mice were sensitized by intratracheal administration of Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f). Mice were orally treated with rosmarinic acid in perilla extract (PE) (1.5 mg/mouse/day). RESULTS: Der f challenge of sensitized mice elicited pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation, accompanied by an increase in lung expression of IL-4 and IL-5, and eotaxin. Daily treatment with rosmarinic acid in PE signficantly prevented the increases in the numbers of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids and also in those around murine airways. Rosmarinic acid in PE treatment also inhibited the enhanced protein expression of IL-4 and IL-5, and eotaxin in the lungs of sensitized mice. Der f challenge also enhanced allergen-specific IgG1, which were also inhibited by rosmarinic acid in PE. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that oral administration of perilla-derived rosmarinic acid is an effective intervention for allergic asthma, possibly through the amelioration of increases in cytokines, chemokines, and allergen-specific antibody.

Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Jun;34(6):971-7

Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans.

Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, suppresses allergic immunoglobulin responses and inflammation caused by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) in mice. However, few placebo-controlled clinical trials have examined the efficacy and safety of polyphenolic phytochemicals for treatment of allergic inflammatory diseases in humans. The present study determined whether oral supplementation with rosmarinic acid is an effective intervention for patients with seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR). In this 21-day, randomized, double-blind, age-matched, placebo-controlled parallel group study, patients with mild SAR were treated daily with extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid (200 mg [n=10] or 50 mg [n=9]) or placebo (n=10). Patients recorded symptoms daily in a diary. Profiles of infiltrating cells and concentrations of eotaxin, IL-1beta, IL-8, and histamine were measured in nasal lavage fluid. Serum IgE concentrations and routine blood tests were also examined. As compared with placebo supplementation, supplementation with extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid resulted in a significant increase in responder rates for itchy nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and total symptoms (P<0.05). Active treatment significantly decreased the numbers of neutrophils and eosinophils in nasal lavage fluid (P<0.05 vs. placebo). Patients reported no adverse events, and no significant abnormalities were detected in routine blood tests. In conclusion, extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid can be an effective intervention for mild SAR at least partly through inhibition of PMNL infiltration into the nostrils. Use of this alternative treatment for SAR might reduce treatment costs for allergic diseases.

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004Mar;229(3):247-54100

Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism.

The present study was undertaken to determine whether oral supplementation with rosmarinic acid (RA) is an effective intervention for patients with SAR. In addition, the anti-inflammatory mechanism of RA also estimated in the ear edema models. CLINICAL TRIAL: Patients were treated daily with RA (200 mg or 50 mg) or placebo for 21 days. Patients recorded symptoms daily and profiles of infiltrating cells and concentration of cytokines were measured in nasal lavage fluid. Compared to placebo, supplementation with RA resulted in a significant decrease in responder rates for each symptom. RA also significantly decreased the numbers of neutrophils and eosinophils in nasal lavage fluid. ANIMAL STUDY: Topical application RA showed anti-inflammatory activity 5-hours after 12-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) treatment with marked inhibition of neutrophil infiltration. Up regulation of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), KC and MIP-2 by TPA were markedly reduced by pre-treatment with extract of perilla (PE) or RA. Reactive oxygen radical production detected as thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), lipid peroxide (LPO) and 8-hydroxy-2’deoxyguanosine (8OH-dG), by double treatment of TPA was reduced by pretreatment with PE or RA. RA is an effective intervention for SAR that is mediated by inhibition of PMNL infiltration. This effect of RA is due to two independent mechanisms: inhibition of the inflammatory response and scavenging of ROS.

Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):127-31

Petasites hybridus (Butterbur root) extract in the treatment of asthma--an open trial.

The efficacy and tolerability of a butterbur root extract (Petadolex) for the treatment of asthma was analyzed in a prospective, non-randomized, open trial. Subjects included 64 adults and 16 children/adolescents treated for two months with the extract, followed by two months during which the intake of the extract was optional. Concomitant asthma medication was permitted. The number, duration, and severity of asthma attacks decreased, while peak flow, forced expiratory volume (FEV1), and all measured symptoms improved during therapy. In addition, more than 40 percent of patients using asthma medications at baseline reduced intake of these medications by the end of the study. This study suggests the Petasites hybridus extract Petadolex is an effective and safe therapy for the treatment of asthma.

Altern Med Rev. 2004 Mar;9(1):54-62M