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Family Apiaceae / Umbelliferae
Angelica keiskei (Miq.) Koidz.

Scientific names Common names
Angelica keiskei (Miq.) Koidz. Asitaba (Tag.)
Archangelica keiskei f. foliosa Konta & S. Matsumoto Tomorrow's leaf (Engl.)
Archangelica utilis Makino ex Y.Yabe  
Archangelica keiskei Miq.                            Unresolved  
Angelica keiskei (Miq.) Koidz. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
JAPANESE: Ashitaba.

- Ashitaba derives from the Japanese words ashita (tomorrow) and ba (leaf), which relates to the plant's ability to regenerate new leaves after taking cuttings.
- Angelica derives from Latin for angel. Keiskei derives from Ito Keisuke, the 19th century Japanese botanist, also referred to as the father of modern Japanese botany.

Ashitaba is a herbaceous, perennial plant growing to a height of 50 to 120 centimeters. Roots are stout, conic, or cylindric. Flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs). Plant is self-fertile and regenerative. Harvesting a leaf at the break of day often results in a new sprout growing overnight.

Note: Archangelica keiskei Miq. is a plant often confused with Angelica keiskei. It is often considered synonymous with Angelica keiskei. The name Archangelical keiskei Miq. is unresolved.

- Endemic to Japan; especially in the Seven Islands of Izu.
- Of recent interest and cultivation in the Philippines for its herbal medicinal benefits.

- Substantial in vitamin B12 and chalconoids.
- All genus members contain furocoumarins.
- Roots have yielded psoralen, bergapten, xanthotoxin, and angelicin.
- Study isolated seven compounds: 1-cerotol (1), daucosterol (2), stigmasterol (3), quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranside (4), luteolin-7-rhamno-glucoside (5), luteolin-7-O-α-D-glucpyranoside (6) and steviol-l3-O-β-glucopyranoside 19-β-glucopyranosyl ester octaacetate (7). (5)

- Considered tonic, diuretic, appetite stimulant, wound healing and anti-infective.
- Fumocourmarin increases sensitivity to sunlight and may cause photodermatitis.
- Studies have suggest anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiviral, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antiproliferative, chemopreventive, antidiabetic activities.

Parts used
Roots, leaves, stems.


Edibility / Nutrition
- Consumed as vegetable and medicine for hundreds of years.
- Leaves, roots and stems are edible.
- Leaves are eaten raw or cooked.
- Roots are cooked or pickled.
- In Japan, used in the preparation of soba, tempura, socho, tea, ice cream, etc.
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
- In Japan, the yellow sap from stems and stalks once used for external treatment of smallpox.
- Roots traditionally used as diuretic, laxative, analeptic, and galactagogue.
- Used as remedy for bowel disturbances, dysuria, arthritis, and immune diseases.
- In Chinese medicine, believed to activate Qi and Xue. Use in the treatment of menstrual problems. Also believed to increase kidney yin and yang qi.
- Used as lactagogue, to increase mother's milk.

Cosmetic Toxicity Study / Leaf Extract:
Study evaluated aqueous and ethanol fractions of leaf extract for toxicity when used for cosmetic purposes using the acute eye irritancy test. No changes or damage was seen in terms of ocular or corneal lesions, corneal turbidity, eyelid swelling or discharge. The extracts showed promise as cosmetic ingredients. (2)
Xanthoangelols / Inhibition of Inflammatory-Induced Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor: Ashitaba exudates yielded xanthoangelol and xanthoangelols B and D which significantly inhibited TNFα-induced PAI-1 production. Results suggest Ashitaba can decrease elevated PAI-1 production, and daily consumption might maintain anticoagulant status by inhibition of elevation of PAI-1 under inflammatory conditions. (3)
Chemopreventive / Chalcones, Coumarins and Flavanones / Exudate: Study of an ethyl acetate fraction of stem exudates yielded 17 compounds, viz., five chalcones, seven coumarins, and three flavanones. All compounds, except for 10, 16, ad 17, exhibited potent inhibitory effects on EBV-EA (Epstein-Barr virus early antigen) induction in Raji cells, known to be a primary screening test for antitumor-promoters. Results suggest the chalcones, coumarins, and flavanones from the stem exudates may be useful as a chemopreventive in chemical carcinogenesis, and may also be valuable as food ingredients. (6)
Chalcones / Adiponectin / Anti-Metabolic Syndrome: Study of an ethanol extract yielded xanthoangelol, 4-hydroxyderricin and six chalcones. The chalcones markedly increased the expression of the adiponectin gene and production of adiponectin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Results suggest potential benefit in preventing the metabolic syndrome. (7)
Antitumor / Leaves: Study evaluated a leaf extract of A. archangelica on growth of Crl mouse breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Results showed antiproliferative activity in vitro and antitumor activity in vivo. The antiproliferative activity could not be attributed to xanthotoxin or furanocoumarins alone. Flavanoids and polysaccharides present in the leaves might have contributed to the antitumor activity. (8)
Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study of an n-hexane fraction of A. keiskei showed an anti-inflammatory effect, probably mediated through down-modulation of iNOS and COX-2 gene products by blocking the signaling pathways of MAPKs and NF-kB. (9)
Antiproliferative / Hepatocarcinoma Cells: Study showed Angelica keiskei chalcone can increase the expression of Caspase-3 and Bax protein in mice, and inhibit the proliferative activity of mice hepatocarcinoma cells. (10)
Angiotensin 1-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor / Antihypertensive: An ACE inhibitor was extracted from an 80% ethanol extract of leaves. The antihypertensive effects on spontaneously hypertensive rats were observed by long-term administration and by single intravenous administration. (11)
Antitumor / Antimetastatic / Xanthoangelol / Roots: Study evaluated the antitumor and antimetastatic effects of various fractions from a 50% ethanol extract of roots. Study isolated xanthoangelol which showed inhibition of tumor growth in LLC-bearing mice as well as lung metastases, and prolonged survival time in carcinectomized mice. The effects may be due to inhibition of DNA synthesis in LLC cells and tumor-induced neovascularization through inhibition of capillary-like tubes by vascular endothelial cells, and inhibition of binding of VEGF to vascular endothelial cells. (12)
CCl4 Toxicity Exacerbation / Hepatoprotective on D-Galactosamine-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study evaluated the
hepatoprotective effects of a methanol extract of AK in rats with D-galactosamine and carbon tetrachloride hepatotoxicity. Results showed AK exerted protective effects on D-galactosamine induced hepatotoxicity. However, it exacerbated toxicity induced by CCl4, possibly through increase in activity of aniline hydroxylase, a cytochrome P450 isoenzyme responsible for the metabolic activation of CCl4. (13)
Antioxidant Enzymes / Lipid Effects / Luteolin: Study on the feeding effects of AL and its processed products in rats fed on a high fat diet showed an increase in expression of antioxidant enzymes, reduced hepatic cholesterol content, and increased effective absorption of luteolin. (14)
Effects in Metabolic Syndrome: Ingestion of Ashitaba green juice for 8 weeks significantly decreased visceral fat are, body weight, BMI and body fat. No adverse effects were observed. Results suggest a safe foodstuff or supplement for the prevention of metabolic syndrome. (15)
Inhibition of SARS-Cov Cysteine Proteases / Chalcone 6 : Two viral proteases of severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus (SARS-CoV), a chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) and a papain-like protease (PLpro) are attractive targets of anti-SAR drugs. Study isolated nine alkylated chalcones and four coumarins from A. keiskei. One of the chalcones, chalcone 6, showed potent inhibitory activity against the two viral proteases with competitive inhibition of 3CLpro and non-competitive inhibition with PLpro. (16)
Antidiabetic / Chalcone : Ethanol extract of A. keiskei yielded two major chalcones, 4-hydroxyderricin (4HD) and xanthoangelol, that showed strong insulin-like activities via an independent pathway of peroxisome proliferator-activated-y activation. 4-HD specially showed preventive effects on diabetic progression in genetically diabetic KK-Ay mice. (17)
• Chalcones / Apoptosis in Stomach Cancer Cells / Stems: Study of stems identified two chalcones: xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin. The chalcones showed anticancer activity as evidenced by growth inhibition of human stomach cancer KATO III cells via induction of apoptosis. (19)
• Inhibition of PAI-1 Release from Human Endothelial Cells: Ashitaba exudate suppresses lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), a risk factor for thrombotic disease in mice. Study evaluated the effects of ashitaba chalcones on PAI-1 levels in medium of stimulated human endothelial cells. Xanthoangelol inhibited PAI-1 production by 77.1%. Study suggests further research towards understanding the antithrombotic mechanism of ashitaba. (20)
• Antioxidant: Study evaluated three medicinal plants viz. Neem (Azadirachta indica), Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) and Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) for antioxidant activity and trace elements. Angelica keiskei yielded carotenoids (120), tocotrienols (11), tocopherols (3.7), Mg (167), Mn (1.6), Cu (1.2), Se (6.5) and Zn (7.7) in mg/kg. Of the three, ashitaba showed the highest antioxidant activity. (21)
• Effect on Body Weight and Visceral Fat / Double Blind Pilot Study / Chalcone: A two-part randomized, placebo controlled double blind pilot study evaluated the effect of ashitaba chalcone powder on body weight and visceral fat in slightly obese adults. There was no significant differences in primary endpoints or safety measures. There was a significant reduction of visceral fat and body weight in the treatment group at 8 weeks compared to baseline. Study sowed evidence of safety of ashitaba chalcones at dose of 200 mg/day for 56 days in humans. (22)

Buyer beware !
• Ashitaba has been getting a lot of press, being touted as the new "miracle" herb. However, a lot of potted "ashitaba" being sold locally from roadside herbal gardens and mall stalls, intentionally or unintentionally, is actually Sabungai (Gynura procumbens) rather than ashitaba (Angelica keiskei). (See Sabungai)

- Cultivation.
- Seeds, plants, and tea products in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated August 2017 / April 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Leaves / File:Angelica keiskei leaves.jpg / sphl / 14 September 2005 / GNU Free Documentation License, / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Flowers / Angelica keiskei flowers.jpg / sphl / 16 September 2005 / GNU Free Documentation License / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Flowers / Angelica keiskei / sphl / © AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center — / click on image to go to source page / AVRDC
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Seeds / Angelica keiskei / © AshitabaPlant / click on image to go to source page / AshitabaPlant

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ashitaba / Wikipedia
Comparison of the toxicity of aqueous and ethanol fractions of Angelica keiskei leaf using the eye irritancy test / HYEONG-U SON,* EUN-KYUNG YOON,* YONG-SOO CHA, MIN-A KIM, YONG-KYU SHIN, JONG-MYUNG KIM, YONG-HEE CHOI, and SANG-HAN LEE / Exp Ther Med. 2012 November; 4(5): 820–824.
/ doi: 10.3892/etm.2012.677
Xanthoangelols isolated from Angelica keiskei inhibit inflammatory-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) production / Ohkura N, Nakakuki Y, Taniguchi M, Kanai S, Nakayama A, Ohnishi K, Sakata T, Nohira T, Matsuda J, Baba K, Atsumi G. / Biofactors. 2011 Nov-Dec;37(6):455-61 / doi: 10.1002/biof.187
Research on the Effects of Ashitaba, Angelica Keiskei Koidzum
i / Dr. Kevin Lance Jones, L.Ac., O.M.D.
Study on Chemical Constituents of Angelica keiskei / ZHOU Xian-li, LIANG Cheng-qin, XU Qing, ZHANG Xiao-yan, LIANG Xiao-feng, HUANG Qiu-yun, SU Xiao-jian / Chinese Journal of Experimental Traditional Medical Formulae, 2012-03
Chalcones, coumarins, and flavanones from the exudate of Angelica keiskei and their chemopreventive effects / Toshihiro Akihisaa* et al / Cancer Letters 201 (2003) 133–137
Six New Chalcones from Angelica keiskel Inducing Adiponectin Production in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes / Hiromu Ohnogi et al / Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 76(5), 961-966, 2012
Antitumour Activity of Angelica archangelica Leaf Extract / STEINTHOR SIGURDSSON, HELGA M. ÖGMUNDSDOTTIR, JONAS HALLGRIMSSON and SIGMUNDUR GUDBJARNASON / in vivo 19: 191-194 (2005)
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Angelica keiskei Through Suppression of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases and Nuclear Factor-κB Activation Pathways / Hyoung Joo Lee, Tae Won Choi, Hyun Jung Kim, Dongwoo Nam, Sang Hoon Jung, Eun Ha Lee, Hee Ju Lee, Eun Myoung Shin, Hyeung-Jin Jang, Kyoo Seok Ahn, Bum Sang Shim, Seung-Hoon Choi, Sung-Hoon Kim, Gautam Sethi, and Kwang Seok Ahn / Journal of Medicinal Food. June 2010, 13(3): 691-699 / doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.1271.
Effect of Angelica keiskei chalcone on the expression of apoptosis-regulating proteins of mice hepatocarcinoma cells / Yang Meng, Jinyi Zhong, He Sun / The Chinese-German Journal of Clinical Oncology, June 2011, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 325-327
Effects of angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor from ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) on blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats. / Shimizu E, Hayashi A, Takahashi R, Aoyagi Y, Murakami T, Kimoto K. / J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 1999 Jun;45(3):375-383.
Antitumor and antimetastatic activities of Angelica keiskei roots, part 1: Isolation of an active substance, xanthoangelol / Kimura Y, Baba K / International journal of cancer, 106:3 2003 Sep 1 pg 429-37
Protective Effects of Angelica keiskei Extracts Against D-Galactosamine (GalN)-induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats / Sang-Hoon Choi and Kwan Ha Park* / J. Fd Hyg. Safety, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 235~241 (2011)
The effects of Angelica keiskei Koidz on the expression of antioxidant enzymes related to lipid profiles in rats fed a high fat diet / Eunmi Kim, Jinho Choi and Ikhyun Yeo / Nutrition Research and Practice (Nutr Res Pract) 2012;6(1):9-15 /
Efficacy and Safety of Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) on the Patients and Candidates with Metabolic Syndrome: A Pilot Study / Hiromu Ohnogi, Shoko Hayami, Yoko Kudo, Tatsuji Enoki / JJCAM, 2012; 9(1): 49-55.

Chalcones isolated from Angelica keiskei inhibit cysteine proteases of SARS-CoV / Ji-Young Park, Jin-A Ko, Dae Wook Kim, Young Min Kim, Hyung-Jun Kwon, Hyung Jae Jeong, Cha Young Kim, Ki Hun Park, Woo Song Lee* & Young Bae Ryu*/ Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2016 / DOI:10.3109/14756366.2014.1003215
Antidiabetic Activities of Chalcones Isolated from a Japanese Herb, Angelica keiskei / Tatsuji Enoki ,* Hiromu Ohnogi , Kinuko Nagamine , Yoko Kudo , Katsumi Sugiyama , Masashige Tanabe , Eiji Kobayashi, Hiroaki Sagawa , and Ikunoshin Kato / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (15), pp 6013–6017 /
DOI: 10.1021/jf070720q
The Health and Medicinal Benefits of Ashitaba / BioFoundations
Chalcones from Angelica keiskeiInduce Apoptosis in Stomach Cancer Cells / Shinsaku Takaoka, Hiroshige Hibasami, Kazuya Ogasawara & Nami Imai / Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants, Vol 14 (2008), Issue 3-4 /
Inhibition of PAI-1 release from human endothelial cells by Angelica keiskei Koidzumi (Ashitaba) chalcones is structure-dependent / Naoki Ohkura, Hiroaki Oiwa, Katsunori Ohnishi, Masahiko Taniguchi, Kimiye Baba, Gen-ichi Atsumi / J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2015; 4(4): 355-357 / doi: 10.5455/jice.20150910123122
Inhibition of PAI-1 release from human endothelial cells by Angelica keiskei Koidzumi (Ashitaba) chalcones is structure-dependent / Naoki Ohkura, Hiroaki Oiwa, Katsunori Ohnishi, Masahiko Taniguchi, Kimiye Baba, Gen-ichi Atsumi. / J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2015; 4(4): 355-357 / doi: 10.5455/jice.20150910123122
Trace Elements and Antioxidants in Some Medicinal Plants / Olafisoye OB, Ojelade OD and Osibote OA* / Research and Reviews in Biosciences, Voll 11, Issue 3 (2017)
(22) |
A Two Part Randomized, Placebo Controlled Double Blind Pilot Study to Determine the Effect of Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) Chalcone Powder (ChalCurbR) on Body Weight and Visceral Fat in Slightly Obese Adults / Katsunori Ohnishi and Vincent Hackel / Adv Obes Weight Manag Control 2017, 7(2): 00189

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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