Emodin health benefit, review of studies and side effects
February 1 2017

Emodin is a naturally occurring anthraquinone present in the roots and bark of numerous plants of the genus Rhamnus. Extracts from the roots, bark, and/or dried leaves of buckthorn, senna, cascara sagrada, aloe, frangula, and rhubarb have been used as laxatives since ancient times and currently are widely used in the preparation of herbal laxative preparations. Anthraquinones are widely present in plant kingdom, and clinically used as laxatives.

Cancer cells
The mechanism of emodin-mediated cell apoptosis has been investigated extensively in many types of human cancer cells. Emodin induces gene expression profiling changes, but has no effects on caspases.

Anti-angiogenic effects of rhubarb and its anthranquione derivatives.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2008. Food & Drug Authentication Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, PR China.
Rhubarb root (Dahuang) is often included as an ingredient in traditional Chinese compound prescriptions for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. To elucidate the anti-angiogenic properties of rhubarb root, we tested the inhibitory effects of different fractions and a series of anthraquinone derivatives against vessel formation in zebrafish embryos. The 95% ethanol extract and four subsequent fractions of rhubarb root and five anthraquinone derivatives were investigated. Three anthraquinones (aloe-emodin, emodin and rhein) displayed potent anti-angiogenic activities. The angiogenic properties of rhubarb root may partly account for its use in inflammatory diseases.

Effect on pancreatitis
Protective effects of emodin combined with danshensu on experimental severe acute pancreatitis.
Inflamm Res. 2009. Department of Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Nangang Dist, Harbin, Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China.
In the present experiment, we aimed to determine the feasibility and curative effects of emodin combined with danshensu on experimental severe acute pancreatitis and the mutual benefit of this synergistic strategy by a prospective animal study. The combined strategy proved to be more effective than either emodin or danshensu alone and may cause synergistic effects in combination in the early stage of SAP. Broad potential for future clinical practice is foreseeable.

Radiation damage protection
Int J Radiat Biol. 2014. Emodin, an anthraquinone derivative protects against gamma radiation induced toxicity by inhibiting DNA damage and oxidative stress.

5-htp may be used at 50 mg at night while this extract is taken during the day. Ergosterol is found in the cell wall membranes of fungi.