Weight reduction by Chinese medicinal herbs may be related to inhibition of fatty acid synthase

Life Sci. 2004 Mar 26;74(19):2389-99. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2003.09.064.


Fatty acid synthase (EC 2. 3. 1. 85, abbr. FAS) is reported as a potential new therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity. Thirty one Chinese medicinal herbs used in weight reducing prescriptions of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were investigated for FAS inhibition. It was found that 17 of these herbs exhibited FAS inhibitor activity, and 9 were highly potent FAS inhibitors. The inhibitory potencies of the active components of tuber fleeceflower root, parasitic loranthus, green tea leaf and ginkgo leaf were similar to or greater than cerulenin and C75. The first three of these four herbs significantly reduced body weight of rats upon their oral incubation. Moreover, tuber fleeceflower root and parasitic loranthus significantly reduced food intake in rats. These results indicate that many of weight reducing herbs used in TCM do so by inhibiting FAS. They also hold promise for the development of new nontoxic and low cost weight reducing substances from these herbs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Eating
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Weight Loss*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fatty Acid Synthases