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Arzneimittelforschung. 1994 Jan;44(1):41-5.

Endocrine effects of Lycopus europaeus L. following oral application.

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Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Fed. Rep. of Germany.


Lycopus extracts are used in folk medicine for the treatment of hyperthyroid symptoms. Diverse effects on the pituitary thyroidal system as well as on the pituitary gonadal system could be confirmed in experimental studies. But till now endocrine effects of Lycopus extracts in experimental animals were observed after parenteral application only. Therefore in this investigation an ethanolic extract of Lycopus europaeus was applied orally to rats, diverse endocrine parameters were measured between 3 and 24 h later and the effects compared to an i.p. treated group. The plant extract given p.o. caused a long lasting (for a period of more than 24 h) decrease of T3 levels, presumably as a consequence of a reduced peripheral T4 deiodination. A pronounced reduction of T4 and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations was observed 24 h after application of the test solution by gavage. The luteinizing hormone (LH) decrease as well as the TSH decrease, which was pronounced in spite of reduced T4 and T3 levels indicate a central point of attack of the plant extract. Differences in the biological activity in dependence on the route of application may be explained e.g. by differences in absorption of plant constituents.

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