Extract of Lycopus europaeus L. reduces cardiac signs of hyperthyroidism in rats.
Toxicol Sci. 2002 Nov;70(1):40-5. PMID: 16150466
Extracts from the plant Lycopus europaeus L. are traditionally used in mild forms of hyperthyroidism. High doses caused a reduction of TSH or thyroid hormone levels in animal experiments, whereas in hyperthyroid patients treated with low doses of Lycopus an improvement of cardiac symptoms was reported without major changes in TSH or thyroid hormone concentrations. Lycopus extract was tested in thyroxine treated hyperthyroid rats (0.7 mg/kg BW i.p.). Co-treatment with an hydroethanolic extract from L. europaeus L. started one week later than T4-application and lasted 5.5 weeks. As reference substance atenolol was used. The raised body temperature was reduced very effectively even by the low dose of the plant extract, whereas the reduced gain of body weight and the increased food intake remained unaffected by any treatment. No significant changes of thyroid hormone concentrations or TSH levels were observed. Lycopus extract and atenolol reduced the increased heart rate and blood pressure. The cardiac hypertrophy was alleviated significantly by both treatment regimes. beta-Adrenoceptor density in heart tissue was significantly reduced by the Lycopus extract or the beta-blocking agent showing an almost equal efficacy. Although the mode of action remains unclear, these organo-specific anti-T4-effects seem to be of practical interest, for example in patients with latent hyperthyroidism.