Baicalin and Baicalein are herbal supplements that have anti-neuroinflammatory, anticancer, and anti-anxiety effects.

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.

Benefits of Baicalin and Baicalein

1) Anxiety

Baicalein and baicalin inhibit the action potential of the neurons that raise anxiety [1].

In mice, baicalin produces anxiety-lowering effects without causing drowsiness or muscle relaxation [2].

2) Neuroprotective

Baicalin improved cognitive dysfunction in mice via its anti-neuroinflammatory activity and may be a potential candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) [3].

It improved Amyloid beta-induced learning and memory deficit, hippocampus injury and neuron apoptosis (mice) [4].

Baicalin improves learning and memory impairment induced by brain injury in mammals [5].

Treatment with this flavonoid in animals, post-stroke, promotes neuron development in damaged sections of the brain, including the new formation of cells in the hippocampus [6].

3) Cancer

Short-term treatment (48 hours) with baicalein inhibits the proliferation of human ovarian cancer cells. An increase in cell death was observed when combined with Taxol (a chemotherapy drug) [7].

Baicalein suppressed proliferation, migration, and invasion of breast cancer cells in a time and dose-dependent manner. It had the potential to suppress breast cancer metastasis [8].

Baicalein, when ingested, is metabolized and inhibits the proliferation of human colorectal cancer cells [9].

It destroys the S cycle of colorectal cancer cells, which promotes cell death and prevents further replication [10].

Baicalin ingested at a dose of 100 mg/kg for 28 days decreases tumor growth and replication in mice with colon cancer cells [11].

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 [12].

Baicalin applied as a topical cream protects the skin with antioxidant effects. It also reduces UV-related apoptosis (cell death) [1314].

4) Liver

Baicalin administered in rats reduced the effects of fatty liver disease (by increasing PPAR gamma and insulin receptors) [15].

It decreases 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 [16].

5) Lung Function

Pure baicalin is successful at improving lung function in rats which suffer from allergic diseases [17].

When administered to rats suffering from asthma as a pretreatment, showed a healthy remodeling of the airway [18].

Baicalein reduces lung inflammation by inhibiting Th17 cells in the lungs [19].

6) Eyes

Daily intake of baicalin or baicalein helps prevent eye diseases such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration in animals [20].

Baicalin is found in traditional Japanese herbal medicines for eye health [21].

7) Fertility

In animals, baicalin significantly enhances endometrial reproduction [22].

In mice embryos, it increases the development and quality of blastocysts [23].

Limitations

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

  • All of the studies conducted with baicalin are in animals and it’s not clear if any of these benefits would occur in humans.
  • Flavanoids usually have poor bioavailability and baicalin is no exception [24]. 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.

Therefore, it’s important to remain skeptical of these benefits. There are technical advances that can increase bioavailability, so such supplements, if they exist, may offer some of the benefits listed.

Dosage

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.

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