Natural Alternative to Manage Health Conditions
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Improve Circulation - Heart, Brain and More
  • Help rid the body of toxic Uric Acid to control Gout
  • Reduce Inflammation in all areas of the body
Information for Product Formulators
The phthalides function by different mechanisms at a cellular level. They may induce beneficial enzymes, inhibit enzymes mediating inflammatory processes, or interact with ion channels or cell surface receptors.

Celery (Apium graveolens) has long been recommended in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural blood purifier and a cure for hypertension. In an animal model for human essential hypertension, 3-n-butylphthalide, one of the predominant phthalides in celery reduced the systolic blood pressure, which could be due to the relaxation of vascular smooth muscles. The studies suggest that butylphthalide blocked extracellular calcium influx into the smooth muscles, possibly by modulation of calcium channels, thereby causing a vasorelaxant effect. Besides 3-n-butylphthalide, butylidenephthalide, a closely related compound was also shown to have a hypotensive effect in animals. Phthalides are also reported to have diuretic effects.

In traditional Indian medicine, celery seed extract has been widely prescribed for gout and rheumatism. Clinical studies at three hospitals have shown that the phthalides from celery seed extract are very effective in reducing inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and gout. However, the mechanism of action has not been investigated in depth. It has been speculated that the improved blood circulation may remove the uric acid crystals from the joints, thereby reducing the discomfort and pain. The phthalides may inhibit the formation of inflammatory mediators. Further studies are necessary to determine the effects of phthalides on arachidonic acid metabolism.

The phthalides may also improve the blood circulation producing antiasthmatic effects. Donq quai (Angelica sinensis), a widely prescribed Chinese medicinal plant for asthma and poor blood circulation, has ligustilide and 3-n-butylphthalide as effective compounds. Studies have indicated that the phthalides relieve the asthma induced by histamine and acetylcholine in animals.

Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii), another well known Chinese medicinal plant has ligustilide, butylphthalide and sedanoic acid. In human studies, Chuan Xiong improved the microcirculation through inhibition of thrombus formation and decreasing platelet aggregation in ischemic patients. The effects were similar to or better than papaverine, dextran, and aspirin-persantin.

In animal experiments, 3-n-butylphthalide was effective in protecting the ischemic sites which lack blood supply due blood clots or other problems following cerebral ischemia. Butylphthalide administration inhibitied the increase in myeloperoxidase activity, infiltration of neutrophils into the ischemic site, inhibited nitric oxide synthase activity, as well as reduced the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1)and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), factors responsible for post-ischemic brain injury.

3-n-Butylphthalide has been shown to have anticonvulsant effects in experimental chronic epilepsy in rats. Its anticonvulsant effects were weaker than those of diazepam, but its ability in counteracting the learning and memory impairment was greater than that of diazepam, causing no damage to brain cells. Phthalides present in celery seed oil have also been reported to have sedative activities.

In animal studies, 3n-Butylphthalide and sedanenolide were found to inhibit benzo[a]pyrene induced tumor formation in mice. The chemopreventive activity could be due to the induction of detoxifying enzymes in the target tissues. Both the compounds exhibited high activities with the ability to induce the detoxifying enzyme glutathione S-transferase in mouse liver and small intestinal mucosa.