The aim of this study is to identify the minor compounds in Jing liqueur, determine the concentration of metals, amino acids, and polysaccharides, and evaluate their Nrf2 activity and cytotoxicity. Jing liqueur that contains Chinese medicine is one of the best-selling liqueurs in
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The aim of this study is to identify the minor compounds in Jing liqueur, determine the concentration of metals, amino acids, and polysaccharides, and evaluate their Nrf2 activity and cytotoxicity. Jing liqueur that contains Chinese medicine is one of the best-selling liqueurs in China, which is also marketed in the United States. Totally, we have isolated 189 minor compounds including one new molecule (7
) from a concentrated Jing liqueur, with the concentrations of most isolated compounds at micromolar levels. The structures of all these compounds were determined by using MS and NMR (1D and 2D) or by comparison of their chemical and physical data with reported values in the literatures. Besides, the concentrations of iron (0.52 mg/L), zinc (0.21 mg/L), calcium (11.0 mg/L), L
-proline (2.33 mg/L), L
-arginine (1.73 mg/L), total amino acids (9.84 mg/L), and total polysaccharides (337.4 mg/L) were determined. Jing liqueur, the five fractions and most of the compounds isolated from Jing liqueur were screened for their activities in the Nrf2-ARE and MTT assays. At 5.2 mg/mL the crude enhanced the Nrf2 activity. At 80 μg/mL, fraction IV weakly but fraction V strongly activated Nrf2. Among the compounds screened in the Nrf2 assay, eighteen activated Nrf2 at 40 μg/mL and compounds 51
from fraction V were the most active. The crude, all the five fractions, and Nrf2 activators were not cytotoxic toward HepG2 cells. In conclusion, Jing liqueur contains different classes of compounds including flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, coumarins, cinnamic acid or coumaric acid, and phenyl ethanol (or acetic acid) derivatives, benzoquinone, naphthoquinone, anthraquinones or phenanphrene derivatives, xanthones, chromone, and γ-pyrone derivatives, lignans, other aromatic compounds, and others. Jing liqueur and the eighteen compounds, which were isolated from Jing liqueur, could activate Nrf2 without any cytotoxicity.