The authors studied the ouabain-like effect of sanguinarine (SG,) an alkaloid, and a derivative formed in the gastrointestinal tract, dihydrosanguinarine (DHSG,) on the sodium pump (Na(+)K(+)-ATPase.) The sodium pump maintains the intracellular pH by changing the flow of sodium and potassium ions across the cell wall. SG is found in the Papaveraceae, Fumariaceae and Rutaceae families of plants. SG is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
In this study, only SG, and not DHSG, had an inhibiting action on the sodium pump. DHSG had no effect on the sodium pump. The conversion from SG to DHSG takes place in the gastrointestinal tract. SG should be effective in topical application, such as in cosmetics or in mouth washes. Any action from oral tablets will, likely, be very brief.
CONCLUSION: Sanguinarine (SG) should be useful in local treatments with cosmetics and mouth washes. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Activity against the sodium pump by oral or needle dosing will be very brief. The derivative, DHSG, is ineffective against the sodium pump. SG has activity similar to that of ouabain.
NOTE: One good source of sanguinarine is Chelidonium majus (greater celandine,) an herb. Bloodroot is another. Sanguinarine’s action of inhibiting the sodium pump may have important anticancer uses. The Papaveraceae plants include poppies. The Fumariaceae plants include bleeding-heart. The Rutaceae family includes rue.
Increased sodium pump activity means that the intercellular pH becomes more alkaline and the extracellular space becomes more acid. This is one method by which cancer cells can insure their own survival. Proton pump inhibitors block this action. Proton pump inhibitors are beneficial in fighting these cancers.
Read about the relationship of the diuretic effect of parsley and the sodium pump.
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