Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of Glycyrrhiza uralensis root extracts produced using artificial hydroponic and artificial hydroponic-field hybrid cultivation systems
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Glycyrrhiza uralensis roots used in this study were produced using novel cultivation systems, including artificial hydroponics and artificial hydroponic-field hybrid cultivation. The equivalency between G. uralensis root extracts produced by hydroponics and/or hybrid cultivation and a commercial Glycyrrhiza crude drug were evaluated for both safety and efficacy, and there were no significant differences in terms of mutagenicity on the Ames tests. The levels of cadmium and mercury in both hydroponic roots and crude drugs were less than the limit of quantitation. Arsenic levels were lower in all hydroponic roots than in the crude drug, whereas mean lead levels in the crude drug were not significantly different from those in the hydroponically cultivated G. uralensis roots. Both hydroponic and hybrid-cultivated root extracts showed antiallergic activities against contact hypersensitivity that were similar to those of the crude drug extracts. These study results suggest that hydroponic and hybrid-cultivated roots are equivalent in safety and efficacy to those of commercial crude drugs. Further studies are necessary before the roots are applicable as replacements for the currently available commercial crude drugs produced from wild plant resources.
KeywordsGlycyrrhiza uralensis Licorice Glycyrrhizic acid Hydroponic cultivation
This study was supported by a Health and Labour Sciences Research grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, a grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and a grant from the Food Safety Commission. The authors would like to thank the Japan Kampo Medicines Manufacturers Association and Japan Medicinal Plant Federation for providing the commercial Glycyrrhiza crude drugs.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
This study was supported by a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, a grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and a grant from the Food Safety Commission.
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