Evidence Based
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Baicalin & Baicalein: Potential Benefits & Upcoming Research

Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology) | Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

Baicalin and baicalein are flavones under investigation for potential benefits to the nervous system & in rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more here.

What are Baicalin and Baicalein?

Baicalein is a flavone, a type of polyphenolic flavonoid, that is extracted from the roots of Scutellaria baicalensis and Scutellaria lateriflora that have a wide variety of health benefits.

Baicalin is a flavone glycoside, the glucuronide of baicalein, which is obtained through the binding of glucuronic acid to baicalein. It is primarily used in Asian countries as an herbal supplement.

Potential Health Benefits

Baicalin and baicalein supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally, lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Possibly Effective For

1) Rheumatoid Arthritis & CAD

In one study of 374 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease (which are frequently comorbid), 500 mg of baicalin per day significantly reduced blood lipids and markers of inflammation [1].

Animal Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of baicalin for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

2) Anxiety

Baicalein and baicalin inhibited the action potential of the neurons that raise anxiety [2].

In mice, baicalin produced anxiety-lowering effects without causing drowsiness or muscle relaxation [3].

3) Neuroprotection

Baicalin improved cognitive dysfunction in mice via its anti-neuroinflammatory activity, leading authors to suggest it as a potential candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) [4].

It improved Amyloid beta-induced learning and memory deficit, hippocampus injury and neuron apoptosis (mice) [5].

Baicalin improved learning and memory impairment induced by brain injury in mammals [6].

Treatment with this flavonoid in animals, post-stroke, promoted neuron development in damaged sections of the brain, including the new formation of cells in the hippocampus [7].

4) Liver

Baicalin administered in rats reduced the effects of fatty liver disease (by increasing PPAR gamma and insulin receptors) [8].

It decreased cholesterol, alanine transaminase, low-density lipoproteins, and TNF levels.

Rats with alcohol-induced liver damage treated with this flavonoid before consuming alcohol had protective effects on the liver. It also decreased liver cell apoptosis [9].

5) Lung Function

Pure baicalin improved lung function in rats suffering from allergic diseases [10].

When administered to rats suffering from asthma as a pretreatment, baicalin stimulated a healthy remodeling of the airway [11].

Baicalein reduced lung inflammation by inhibiting Th17 cells in the lungs [12].

6) Eyes

Daily intake of baicalin or baicalein helped prevent eye diseases such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration in animals [13].

Baicalin is found in traditional Japanese herbal medicines for eye health [14].

7) Fertility

In animals, baicalin significantly enhanced endometrial reproduction [15].

In mouse embryos, it increased the development and quality of blastocysts [16].

Cancer Research

Baicalin and baicalein are currently under investigation in the following types of cancers:

  • Ovarian cancer [17]
  • Breast cancer [18]
  • Colorectal cancer [19, 20]

These experiments are currently limited to cell studies, however; such studies are often irrelevant for animal or human trials.

Baicalin ingested at a dose of 100 mg/kg for 28 days decreases tumor growth and replication in mice with colon cancer cells [21].

When taken orally in rats for 7 days it increases the activity of T helper cells and T regulatory cells to fight chemically-induced colon cancer [22].

Limitations

There are a variety of limitations that should be kept in mind when reading this research.

  • Almost all of the studies conducted with baicalin are in animals, and it’s not clear if any of these benefits would occur in humans.
  • Flavonoids usually have poor bioavailability, and baicalin is no exception [23]. It’s unclear if any of these benefits would be seen in humans given the bioavailability issues. When given to animals, it’s often injected, which bypasses the bioavailability problem that humans would have.

Dosage

There is no safe and effective dose of baicalin or baicalein because no sufficiently powered study has been conducted to find one.

Baicalein and baicalin supplements can be taken by healthy individuals. The healthy dose should be 200-800 mg in multiple doses, once in the morning and once again at night, without any side effects.

About the Author

Puya Yazdi

Puya Yazdi

MD
Dr. Puya Yazdi is a physician-scientist with 14+ years of experience in clinical medicine, life sciences, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals.
As a physician-scientist with expertise in genomics, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals, he has made it his mission to bring precision medicine to the bedside and help transform healthcare in the 21st century.He received his undergraduate education at the University of California at Irvine, a Medical Doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a Resident Physician at Stanford University. He then proceeded to serve as a Clinical Fellow of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine at The University of California at Irvine, where he conducted research of stem cells, epigenetics, and genomics. He was also a Medical Director for Cyvex Nutrition before serving as president of Systomic Health, a biotechnology consulting agency, where he served as an expert on genomics and other high-throughput technologies. His previous clients include Allergan, Caladrius Biosciences, and Omega Protein. He has a history of peer-reviewed publications, intellectual property discoveries (patents, etc.), clinical trial design, and a thorough knowledge of the regulatory landscape in biotechnology.He is leading our entire scientific and medical team in order to ensure accuracy and scientific validity of our content and products.

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