The Angelica root is a popular TCM herb for treating obesity

A Chinese study examined the potential of the root of Angelica (Angelica dahurica Radix) to treat obesity in mice and human liver cells. The researchers reported that Angelica root can reduce the negative effects of obesity on both humans and mice.

Obesity is caused by a number of factors, such as diets with increasing amounts of fats. It is a serious and widespread health disorder. Not only does obesity directly impact the overall health and lifestyle of the patient, it also leaves the door open for more serious diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis.

Traditional Chinese medicine ascribes numerous healing properties to Angelica root. It is used to treat various diseases such as colds and rheumatism. (Related: Angelica may be good for men, but it is truly beneficial to women’s health.)

The protective effects of Angelica root extract on mice and human liver cells

Researchers from Tsinghua University (THU) conducted a series of in vitro and in vivo tests on an extract made from Angelica root. They acquired human HepG2 liver cells and mice for various tests.

For the in vitro tests, the Angelica root extract was administered to HepG2 liver cells. Various tests were performed to identify which lipid-related proteins were affected by the treatment. The tests also determined how the extract altered the performance of certain genes when it came to metabolizing or transporting lipids.

In the in vivo tests, mice were given diets with high amounts of fat. Some of these obese animals were treated with Angelica root extract to determine if it could limit the effect of the fat-laden diet. At the end of the trial period, blood and liver samples were taken and analyzed for the protective activities of the herbal medicine.

Another group of mice were injected with Triton WR1339, a chemical that induced hyperlipidemia, before they were provided with high-fat diets. A number of these mice received treatment in the form of the Angelica root extract. These animals were also sacrificed later on to provide liver samples for evaluation.

Phytochemicals in Angelica root can reduce obesity and fat accumulation in the liver

The THU researchers found that the Angelica root extract was able to reduce the amount of white-fat weight in hyperlipidemic mice that were fed with high-fat diets. Also known as white adipose tissue, white fat stores energy for future use. Too much white fat is unhealthy.

The root extract was also able to lower the levels of total cholesterol and triglyceride in the livers of both mice given high-fat diets and mice with hyperlipidemia. Furthermore, the treatment boosted the activity of hepatic lipases in their livers.

The Angelica root was shown to reduce the expression of the enzyme catalase and the lipid-transporting protein called sterol carrier protein2. At the same time, it improved the expression of lipase member C (LIPC) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma).

LIPC and PPAR gamma are genes that break down lipids in order to turn those stored fats into energy. The extract improved their activity in both the livers of mice with induced hyperlipidemia and the human Hep2G cultures.

These protective effects are similar to those exerted by imperatorin, a phytochemical that is being considered for medicinal adaptation. As imperatorin can be found in Angelica, the researchers theorize that it plays a major role in the anti-obesity activity of the herb.

Given the results of their experiment, the researchers concluded that the root of the Angelica could potentially alleviate obesity and fatty liver disorders. It does this by regulating the metabolic rate of lipids.

To learn more about the many medicinal uses of Angelica root, visit

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