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Open Access Research article

Beta-asarone, a major component of Acorus tatarinowii Schott, attenuates focal cerebral ischemia induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats

Yuan-Xiao Yang1, Yi-Tao Chen1, Xiao-Jie Zhou1, Chun-Lan Hong1, Chang-Yu Li1* and Jian-You Guo2*

Author Affiliations

1 Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310053, PR China

2 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, PR China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:236  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-236

Published: 25 September 2013



Ischemic hypoxic brain injury often causes irreversible brain damage. The lack of effective and widely applicable pharmacological treatments for ischemic stroke patients may explain a growing interest in traditional medicines. β-Asarone, which has significant pharmacological effects on the central nervous system (CNS), was used in the prevention of cerebral ischemia in this paper.


The right middle cerebral artery occlusion model was used in the study. The effects of β-Asarone on mortality rate, neurobehavior, grip strength, lactate dehydrogenase, glutathione content, Lipid peroxidation, glutathione peroxidase activity, glutathione reductase activity, catalase activity, Na+-K+-ATPase activity and glutathione S transferase activity in a rat model were studied respectively.


β-Asarone significantly improved the neurological outcome after cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in terms of neurobehavioral function in rats. Meanwhile, supplementation of β-Asarone significantly boosted the defense mechanism against cerebral ischemia via increasing antioxidants activity related to lesion pathogenesis. Restoration of the antioxidant homeostasis in the brain after reperfusion may help the brain recover from ischemic injury.


These experimental results suggest that complement β-Asarone is protective against cerebral ischemia in specific way. The administration of β-Asarone could reduce focal cerebral ischemic/reperfusion injury. The Mechanism of β-Asarone in protection of cerebral ischemia was via increasing antioxidants activity related to lesion pathogenesis.