Uncovering potential 'herbal probiotics' in Juzen-taiho-to through the study of associated bacterial populations

Diego Montenegro, Kriti Kalpana, Christine Chrissian, Ashutosh Sharma, Anna Takaoka, Maria Iacovidou, Clifford E. Soll, Olga Aminova, Adriana Heguy, Lisa Cohen, Steven Shen, Akira Kawamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Juzen-taiho-to (JTT) is an immune-boosting formulation of ten medicinal herbs. It is used clinically in East Asia to boost the human immune functions. The active factors in JTT have not been clarified. But, existing evidence suggests that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-like factors contribute to the activity. To examine this possibility, JTT was subjected to a series of analyses, including high resolution mass spectrometry, which suggested the presence of structural variants of LPS. This finding opened a possibility that JTT contains immune-boosting bacteria. As the first step to characterize the bacteria in JTT, 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing was carried out for Angelica sinensis (dried root), one of the most potent immunostimulatory herbs in JTT. The sequencing revealed a total of 519 bacteria genera in A. sinensis. The most abundant genus was Rahnella, which is widely distributed in water and plants. The abundance of Rahnella appeared to correlate with the immunostimulatory activity of A. sinensis. In conclusion, the current study provided new pieces of evidence supporting the emerging theory of bacterial contribution in immune-boosting herbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-469
Number of pages4
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by NIGMS/NIH SC3 GM094070 and by PSC CUNY grant TRADB-45-509 . We also acknowledge NIMHD/NIH G12 MD007599-27 , which supports the Center for Translational and Basic Research at Hunter College. The NYULMC Genome Technology Center is partially supported by the Cancer Center Support Grant , P30CA016087 , at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center. S.S. acknowledges 5R01 GM064844-07 and Howard Hughes Medical Institute-HCIA Project 4CM 09/01/2012-08/31/2016.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Herbal medicine
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metagenomics
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Rhizobacteria


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