Investigation of the differences between the "Cold" and "Hot" nature of Coptis chinensis Franch and its processed materials based on animal's temperature tropism

Sci China C Life Sci. 2009 Nov;52(11):1073-80. doi: 10.1007/s11427-009-0146-9. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


The description and differentiation of the so-called "Cold" and "Hot" natures, the primary "Drug Naure" of Chinese medicine, is the focus of theoretical research. In this study, the divergency between the "Cold" and the "Hot" natures was investigated through examining the temperature tropism of mice affected by Coptis chinensis Franch and its processed materials by using a cold/hot plate differentiating technology. After exposure to C. chinensis Franch, the macroscopic behavioral index of the remaining rate (RR) on a warm pad (40 degrees C) significantly increased (P<0.05), suggesting the enhancement of Hot tropism. The internal indexes of adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity and oxygen consuming volume decreased significantly (P<0.05), suggesting the decapability of energy metabolism. This external behavior of Hot tropism might reflect the internal Cold nature of C. chinensis Franch. However, the processed materials of C. chinensis Franch exhibited a different Cold nature in temperature tropism compared with crude C. chinensis Franch (CC): the Cold nature of bile-processed C. chinensis Franch (BC) enhanced while the ginger-processed C. chinensis Franch (GC) changed inversely. The changing sequence was consistent with the theoretical prognostication. It is indicated that the external Cold & Hot natures of Chinese medicine may possibly reflect in an ethological way for the changes of animal's temperature tropism which might be internally regulated by the body's energy metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Body Temperature / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Coptis / chemistry*
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tropism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Plant Extracts
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases