Ashitaba herb health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

July 20 2014

Ashitaba may be helpful in controlling high blood pressure although human studies are lacking. Early studies indicate this folk medicine also has antitumor, antioxidant and antidiabetic activities.

Ashitaba rodent research, blood pressure
Effects of angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor from Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) on blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats.
J Nutr Sci Vitaminology. 1999.
The inhibitory activity of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) was extracted with 80% ethanol from the leaves of Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei). The present ACE inhibitor was fractionated and separated with various chromatographies. The antihypertensive effects of the sample (G fraction) from Ashitaba on spontaneously hypertensive rats were observed by long-term administration for 10 wk. Another sample (S fraction) from Ashitaba also had antihypertensive effects after a single intravenous administration to SHR. The sample was further purified by using several chromatographies. The ACE inhibitor fraction was characterized as follows: no significant absorbance, a zwitterion, a water-soluble substance and a positive ninhydrin reaction. According to a mass spectrum analysis, the molecular weight of the ACE inhibitor was determined to be 303 and Na-salt ions of carboxyl groups were detected. The ACE inhibitor from Ashitaba contained in the anti-hypertensive fraction was speculated to be very similar to authentic nicotianamine based on a comparative study of inhibitory activity, mass spectrum analysis and thin-layer chromatographies.

In vitro studies
Inflammation
Xanthoangelols isolated from Angelica keiskei inhibit inflammatory-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) production.

Cancer
Isobavachalcone, a chalcone constituent of Angelica keiskei, induces apoptosis in neuroblastoma. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007. Biofactors. 2011.

In vitro induction of the anticarcinogenic marker enzyme, quinone reductase, in human hepatoma cells by food extracts.
Cancer Lett. 2002.
The effect of vegetable extracts on the activity of the anticarcinogenic phase II marker enzyme, quinone reductase (QR), was investigated by using human Hep G2 cells as the model system. Hep G2 cells were less sensitive than murine Hepa1c1c7 cells to QR-inducible compounds such as tert-butylhydroquinone which have been widely used to examine the QR-inducing activity of the compounds. However, among 45 different vegetable samples, an extract of ashitaba clearly induced QR activity in Hep G2 cells. Ashitaba is therefore considered to have contained certain substances that could induce QR activity, and such induction may play a role in the anticarcinogenic action of vegetables.

Anti-tumor-promotion by principles obtained from Angelica keiskei.
Planta Med. 1991.
Potent anti-tumor promoter activity has been found in the nonpolar extracts of the root of "Ashita-Ba", Angelica keiskei, which is eaten as a vegetable in Japan. From this active fraction, two angular furanocoumarins, archangelicin and dihydrooroselol, three linear furanocoumarins, psoralen, bergapten and xanthotoxin, and three chalcones, 4-hydroxyderricin, xanthoangelol and a novel chalcone named ashitaba-chalcone, were isolated. Among these compounds, two angular type furanocoumarins, 1 and 2, and three chalcones, 6-8, suppressed 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-stimulated 32Pi-incorporation into phospholipids of cultured cells, whereas coumarins were less effective. Chalcones may reveal anti-tumor-promoting activity via the modulation of calmodulin involved systems. These chalcones may be useful to develop the effective method for cancer prevention.

Interactions
Can an ashitaba supplement be taken the same day as CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid?
   I just don't know enough about ashitaba to say.

How the name came about
Angelica Keiskei Koidzimi, more popularly known by its Japanese name Ashitaba, is a biennial herb that has been used in both Japanese and Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years. The name Angelica, which in Latin means angel, was given to the plant due to its hoped effect of slowing down the aging process.The name Ashitaba literally means "Tomorrow's Leaf" in Japanese, aptly describing the plant's ability to regenerate. Plucking a leaf from the plant at dawn often results in the growth of a new sprout the very next day.