Effects and action mechanisms of Korean pear (Pyrus pyrifolia cv. Shingo) on alcohol detoxification

Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1753-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4630. Epub 2012 Mar 26.


Korean pear (Pyrus pyrifolia cv. Shingo) has been used as a traditional medicine for alleviating alcohol hangover. However, scientific evidence for its effectiveness or mechanism is not clearly established. To investigate its mechanism of alcohol detoxification, both in vitro and in vivo studies were performed with an aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) alternated animal model. The pear extract (10 mL/kg bw) was administered to Aldh2 normal (C57BL/6) and deficient (Aldh2 -/-) male mice. After 30 min, ethanol (1 g or 2 g/kg bw) was administered to the mice via gavage. Levels of alcohol and acetaldehyde in blood were quantified by GC/MS. First, it was observed that the pears stimulated both alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and ALDH activities by 2∼3- and 1.3-fold in in vitro studies, respectively. Second, mouse PK data (AUC(∞) and C(max) ) showed that the pear extract decreased the alcohol level in blood regardless of ALDH2 genotype. Third, the pear increased the acetaldehyde level in blood in Aldh2 deficient mice but not in Aldh2 normal mice. Therefore, the consistent in vitro and in vivo data suggest that Korean pears stimulate the two key alcohol-metabolizing enzymes. These stimulations could be the main mechanism of the Korean pear for alcohol detoxification. Finally, the results suggest that polymorphisms of human ALDH2 could bring out individual variations in the effects of Korean pear on alcohol detoxification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde / blood
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, Mitochondrial
  • Animals
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Genotype
  • Inactivation, Metabolic*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Pyrus / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • ALDH2 protein, mouse
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, Mitochondrial
  • Acetaldehyde