Juncus effusus L. (J. effusus) is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has long been used for dealing with gynaecological disorders, such as relieving insomnia, preventing tinnitus, reducing edema with diuretic effect. In our course of evidence-based medical research focused on this herb, one new phenanthrene, Junfusol B (2), together with seventeen known compounds were isolated and identified. All the structures of these compounds were elucidated by spectroscopic methods. The absolute stereochemistry of compounds 1 and 2 was further determined by comparing their calculated and experimental Electronic Circular Dichroism (ECD) spectra and optical rotation (OR) values. The isolates were evaluated for their estrogenic and anti-inflammatory activities which were considered as relevant etiological factors of insomnia, tinnitus and edema in the ancient TCM theory. The results revealed that most of the obtained phenanthrenes in this work were found exerting agonistic effects on estrogen receptor. This is the first report to declare the exact estrogen-regulating potential among this type of compounds from J. effusus. Moreover, phenanthrenes 3 − 7 exhibited significant inhibitions on superoxide anion generation and elastase release in fMLP/CB-induced human neutrophilic inflammation model. J. effusus may be developed as a complementary agent utilized in menopausal multiple syndromes.
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