Antibacterial Effects of the Urushiol Component in the Sap of the Lacquer Tree (Rhus vernicifluaStokes) onHelicobacter pylori

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Urushiol is a major component of the lacquer tree which has been used as a folk remedy for the relief of abdominal discomfort in Korea. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial effects of the urushiol on Helicobacter pylori.

Materials and Methods:

Monomer and 2–4 polymer urushiol were used. In the in vitro study, pH- and concentration-dependent antibacterial activity of the urushiol against H. pylori were investigated. In addition, the serial morphological effects of urushiol on H. pylori were examined by electron microscopy. In vivo animal study was performed for the safety, eradication rate, and the effect on gastritis of urushiol. The expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was checked.


All strains survived within a pH 6.0–9.0. The minimal inhibitory concentrations of the extract against strains ranged 0.064–0.256 mg/mL. Urushiol caused separation of the membrane and lysis of H. pylori within 10 minutes. Urushiol (0.128 mg/mL × 7 days) did not cause complications on mice. The eradication rates were 33% in the urushiol monotherapy, 75% in the triple therapy (omeprazole + clarithromycin + metronidazole), and 100% in the urushiol + triple therapy, respectively. H. pylori-induced gastritis was not changed by urushiol but reduced by eradication. Only the expression of interleukin-1β in the gastric tissue was significantly increased by H. pylori infection and reduced by the urushiol and H. pylori eradication (p = .014).


The urushiol has an antibacterial effect against H. pylori infection and can be used safely for H. pylori eradication in a mouse model.

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