Planta Med 2008; 74 - PA295
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1084293

Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects of the phytomedicine STW 5 and its components in vitro

GA Bonaterra 1, O Kelber 2, R Kinscherf 3, U Traut 1, S Seitz 1, D Weiser 2, J Metz 1
  • 1Department of Anatomy und Cell Biology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 307, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH, Havelstr. 5, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
  • 3Anatomy & Developmental Biology, University of Heidelberg/Mannheim, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1–3, 68167 Mannheim, Germany

STW 5 (Iberogast®) is a phytomedicinal combination of nine herbal extracts indicated for functional gastro-intestinal diseases. Its efficacy and safety is demonstrated by a large number of clinical, pharmacological and toxicological studies and more than 45 years of clinical use in about 20 Mio. Patients [1, 2, 3]. As subclinical inflammation is one of the pathophysiological causes of these diseases [4], the aim of this study was to determine anti-inflammatory effects of STW 5 and its components in comparison to well characterized NSAIDs such as Aspirin and diclofenac.

As a model HT-29 colon cancer cells were chosen, as it is known, that NSAIDs cause, via their inhibitory effect on COXs, an inhibition of their proliferation, as indicated by the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and by measuring sulforhodamine B (SRB). Apoptosis was identified by YO-PRO-1 staining in combination with Hoechst 33342 dye. Intracellular translocation of the NFκ-B p65 subunit was analyzed in THP-1 cells line after differentiation with PMA, pre-treatment with the compounds, and afterward activation with LPS.

The treatment of HT-29 colon carcinoma cells with diclofenac and Aspirin was found to inhibit proliferation significantly. The same was the case with STW 5 and its components. Especially STW 6 (Iberis amara totalis), but also STW 5-K II (peppermint leaves), STW 5-K VII (milk thistle fruit) and STW 5-K VIII (lemon balm leaves) inhibited proliferation of the cancer cells significantly. Moreover, STW 5 treatment of the differentiated THP-1 cells inhibited the induction of the NFκ-B p65 translocation into the cell nucleus after activation with LPS.

In conclusion, our present data suggest that STW 5 (Iberogast®) and its components STW 6, STW 5-K II, STW 5-K VII and STW 5-K VIII may have significant anti-inflammatory properties, relevant in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal diseases, and in addition also anti-cancer effects.

References: 1. Melzer, J. et al. (2004) Aliment Pharmacol Ther 20:1–9 2. Rösch, W. et al. (2006) Phytomedicine 13 SV 114–121 3. Schmulson, M.J. (2008) Nature Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol 5:136–137 4. Collins, S.M. (2001) Gut 49: 743–745