Baicalin, an emerging multi-therapeutic agent: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and considerations from drug development perspectives

Xenobiotica. 2010 May;40(5):357-67. doi: 10.3109/00498251003663724.


Baicalin was extensively researched for utility in a number of therapeutic areas owing to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer properties. A number of preclinical studies, in vitro work, and mechanistic studies were performed to understand the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion profiles of baicalin. The absorption of baicalin involved several complexities: the restriction to two distant sites; the conversion of baicalin to baicalein; the possible role of transporter(s); and enhanced absorption due to breakdown of conjugates by beta-glucuronidase. Limited distribution data suggest that baicalin reached several sites such as the brain, eye lens, thymus, etc. Hepatobiliary recycling also served as a distribution phase for sustained delivery of baicalin. Metabolism data suggest the rapid conversion of baicalin to baicalein, which was extensively subjected to Phase 2 metabolism, conjugates baicalein glucuronide/sulfate have been identified. Limited excretion data suggest involvement of renal and faecal routes--glucuronide and sulfate conjugates were excreted in urine and faeces (via biliary excretion). The published data on baicalin suggest imminent challenges for developing baicalin and/or during co-administration with other agents. These challenges are absorption related (transporter or changes in the microenvironment), metabolism related (CYP2B6 induction and/or CYP2E1 inhibition), and excretion/efflux related (competitive biliary pathway and/or OATP1B1 transport).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*


  • Flavonoids
  • baicalin