Phellodendron amurense (Henceforth PA) is tree from the overarching family Rutaceae. It is more specifically known as 'Amur Cork Tree' and is known as one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
A supplement known as 'Cortex Phellodendri' may be sold and, if the species is unspecified, may be a combination of both the species P. Amurense as well as P. Chinensis. These plants are similar for the most part, but the Chinensis species possesses a higher berberine (360% higher) and anti-oxidant (28% higher) content while the species Amurense possesses a higher total protoberberine alkaloid (25% higher) and flavonoid (11% higher) content; Chinensis contains mostly only Berberine in the protoberberine alkaloid class. There is not too much practical difference between the two, although only Chinensis is implicated in slowing down intestinal motility.
As a herbal supplement, Phellodendron Amurense contains a variety of compounds including:
(9Z)-octadec-9-enoic acid (Oleic Acid)
Phellodendron amurense (PA) has been noted to have beta-2-adrenergic agonistic properties with an EC(50) 50% higher than the plant which bears Synephrine (denoting more of a dose needed to achieve the same effects).
Phellodendron amurense (PA) has been shown in humans to alleviate pain associated with osteoarthritis perhaps through alleviating inflammation's (IL-1a) degradative effects on sulfated glycosaminoglycan in joints.
The component berberine has been shown to promote osteoblast differentiation, leading it to possible be an adjunct treatment for bone health.
Phellodendron Amurense has been implicated in preserving neural function at 100-200mg/kg bodyweight (IP injections) in rats administered scopolamine, an anticholinergic research toxin. Benefit was seen with both Phellodendron as well as one of its components, Berberine, in isolation. 200mg/kg bodyweight Phellodendron showed similar effects to the group not given scopolamine, and the group given Phellodendron without the toxin did not experience enhanced effects; suggesting a recovery of deficit but not unilateral improvement.
Many anti-oxidant effects of PA are mediated vicariously through an increase in in vivo glutathione levels via stimulation of the Glutathione S-Transferase enzyme via a peptide found in PA.
The anti-microbial activity of Phellodendron Amurense is most likely due to its protoberberine content and high Berberine content relative to other herbs.
In a screening of medicinal herbs for estrogenicity, Phellodendron Amurense failed to exert any estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects in concentrations below 1mg/mL.
A patented combination of Phellodendron Amurense and Magnolia Officinalis is known as 'Relora', known for its properties of stress and anxiety reduction. Although preliminary, it shows promise in reducing overeating related to stress, an effect similar to that of Rhodiola Rosea.