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The main alkaloids of sophora (kushen), namely oxymatrine and matrine, have been used in China as an herbal drug for more than 25 years. The alkaloids are reported to prevent leukopenia during cancer therapy and to inhibit cancer cell growth; both the crude herb and the alkaloids are therefore used in cancer therapy. Sophora subprostrata (shandougen), another source of the alkaloids, is a common ingredient in herb formulas for the treatment of hepatitis B. Recently, the alkaloid oxymatrine was shown to strongly inhibit hepatitis C and coxsackie virus (the major cause of viral myocarditis). Sophora is a common ingredient in herbal formulas for skin diseases; the alkaloids have also been used for that purpose, both orally and by injection. It is reported effective in treating eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. The alkaloids have a mild sedative action, and can be used for treating insomnia if taken before bed. The dosage of alkaloids administered orally or by injection is usually about 400-600 mg per day, which is the amount provided here in 2-3 tablets of the White Tiger preparation. If excessive doses are taken it can cause mild dizziness, nausea, vomiting and constipation; these symptoms will remit once the use of the material has stopped. An advantage of using oxymatrine for the therapeutic purposes listed is that, according to the published reports, the benefits are attained with a relatively low dosage and the toxicity is also low. Usually, very high dosage preparations of complex herb formulas are used in China to treat the same disorders, while many patients find it difficult to comply with those recommendations for the extended period of treatment that is often required. Still such herbal formulas may be given along with this one to provide for other requirements of the clinical situation.

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