Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang was first recorded in a Chinese medical classic, Treatise on Febrile Diseases and Miscellaneous Diseases, which was written in the Eastern Han dynasty of China. This ancient prescription consists of seven kinds of Chinese herbal medicine, namely, Pinellia ternata, Rhizoma Coptidis, Radix scutellariae, Rhizoma Zingiberis, Ginseng, Jujube, and Radix Glycyrrhizaepreparata. In clinic practice, its original application in China mainly has focused on the treatment of chronic gastritis for several hundred years.
Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang is also effective in treating other gastrointestinal diseases in modern medical application. Despite available literature support and clinical experience, the treatment mechanisms or their relationships with the bioactive compounds in Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang responsible for its pharmacological actions, still need further explorations in more diversified channels.
According to the analysis based on the five-flavor theory of TCM, Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang is traditionally viewed as the most representative prescription for pungent-dispersion, bitter-purgation and sweet-tonification. Consequently, based on the flavor-oriented analysis, the compositive herbs in Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang can be divided into three flavor groups, namely, the pungent, bitter, and sweet groups, each of which has specific active ingredients that are possibly relevant to gastrointestinal diseases treatment.
Aim of the review: This paper summarized recent literatures on Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang and its bioactive components used in gastrointestinal diseases treatment, and provided the pharmacological or chemical basis for the further exploration of the ancient prescription and the relative components.
Method: ology: Relevant literature was collected from various electronic databases such as Pubmed, Web of Science, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure. Citations were based on peer-reviewed articles published in English or Chinese during the last decade.
Results: Multiple components were found in the pungent, bitter, and sweet groups in Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang. The corresponding bioactive components include gingerol, shogaol, stigmasterol, and β-sitosterol in the pungent group; berberine, palmatine, coptisine, baicalein, and baicalin in the bitter group; and ginsenosides, polysaccharides, liquiritin, and glycyrrhetinic acid in the sweet group. These components have been found directly or indirectly responsible for the remarkable effects of Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang on gastrointestinal diseases.
Conclusion: This review provided some valuable reference to further clarify Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang treatment for gastrointestinal diseases and their possible material basis, based on the perspective of the flavor-oriented analysis.