The modified Gingyo-san, a Chinese herbal medicine, has direct antibacterial effects against respiratory pathogens

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Nov 14;16(1):463. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1431-3.


Background: Modified Gingyo-san (MGS) is empirically used to treat various respiratory infections. MGS has been reported to have antiinflammatory and antiviral activities; however, it is not known if it has an antibacterial activity. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the antimicrobial activity of MGS against respiratory pathogens.

Methods: MGS, which is sold as an over-the-counter drug in Japan, was used for the study. Antimicrobial activity was evaluated using the disk diffusion method. Growth inhibitory activity was evaluated by measuring colony-forming units of the pathogens in the presence of MGS.

Results: MGS inhibited the growth of Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes, which are gram-positive bacteria. Although the growth of most gram-negative bacteria was not inhibited by MGS, interestingly, the growth of Haemophilus influenzae was inhibited. MGS did not show any activity against Candida albicans or bacteriophage φX174.

Conclusions: In addition to the antiinflammatory and antiviral activities of MGS, which have already been reported, the data obtained from this study indicates that MGS has an antibacterial activity.

Keywords: Chinese herbal medicine; Modified Gingyo-san; Respiratory pathogen.

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / toxicity
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / toxicity
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • gingyo-san