Immune restoration and/or augmentation of local graft versus host reaction by traditional Chinese medicinal herbs

Cancer. 1983 Jul 1;52(1):70-3. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19830701)52:1<70::aid-cncr2820520114>;2-s.


The in vitro restorative effect of aqueous extracts from two traditional Chinese medicinal herbs were studied in 19 cancer patients and in 15 normal healthy donors. Using the local graft versus host (GVH) reaction as a test assay for T-cell function, the extract from astragalus membranaceus (10 microgram/ml) induced a restored reaction in nine of ten patients with an increase in local GVH reaction from 18.2 plus/minus 15.8 mm3 to 112.9 plus/minus 94.2 mm3 (P less than 0.01). The extract from ligustrum lucidum, likewise effected an immune restoration in nine of 13 cancer patients with an increase in local GVH reaction from 32.3 plus/minus 36.1 mm3 to 118 plus/minus 104.9 mm3 (P less than 0.01). This degree of immune restoration appears to be complete as it equals the local GVH reaction observed among untreated mononuclear cells from normal healthy donors (82.8 plus/minus 41.1 mm3, P greater than 0.1). These results suggest that both extracts of the traditional Chinese medicinal herbs contain potent immune stimulants which may provide the rational basis for their therapeutic use as biological response modifiers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Astragalus propinquus
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / immunology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Graft vs Host Reaction / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Kidney Neoplasms / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Mitogens