Estrogen-like activity of volatile components from Vitex rotundifolia L.

Hu Y, Hou TT, Xin HL, Zhang QY, Zheng HC, Rahman K, Qin LP
Indian Journal of Medical Research, 2007


The fruits of Vitex rotundifolia L. are used as a traditional medicine in China. Dried fruits of V. rotundifolia (rich in essential oils) have been known to show strong estrogenic activity. Therefore, we investigated volatile components in the essential oil isolated from the fruits of V. rotundifolia and its estrogen-like biological activity in human breast adenocarcinoma cells.

Essential oil was extracted by SFE (supercritical fluid extraction) and its chemical composition was analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The estrogenic activity of essential oil was evaluated in the MCF-7 cells by proliferation assay.

The chemical composition of 40 compounds was determined and this represented 84.1 per cent of the total oil which was characterized by a high content of unsaturated fatty acids (54.84% of total oil). The oil contained mainly linoleic acid (47.46%), palmitic acid (5.18%), untriacontane (2.28%), bicetyl (2.61%) and stearic acid (2.2%). The essential oil strongly stimulated the proliferation of MCF-7 cells, and this effect was significantly inhibited by the specific estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780.

Our results showed estrogen-like biological activity of the essential oil of the fruits from V. rotundifolia, and in future has a potential medical application.


Hu Y, Hou TT, Xin HL, Et Al. Estrogen-like activity of volatile components from Vitex rotundifolia L. Indian J Med Res. 2007;126(1):68-72.

[maxbutton id=”325″]