Treating methamphetamine-induced dopamine damage using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It is more commonly known as “meth” and is illegally used to induce powerful euphoric effects similar to those produced by the use of cocaine. Consistent use of the substance can lead to dopamine neurotoxicity, a condition wherein the brain cannot properly produce dopamine. In order to reduce the effects of meth-induced dopamine neurotoxicity, a team of researchers looked at the potential therapeutic effects of a popular traditional Chinese medicine called Jitai.

  • Jitai is a tablet comprised of 13 different herbs, most of which have been documented to have some sort of benefit to mental health.
  • Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into the following groups: control, meth group, Jitai pre-treatment group (0.087 g/kg), and three Jitai post-treatment groups with low (0.029 g/kg), medium (0.087 g/kg), and high (0.290 g/kg) doses.
  • All groups except the control were administered with 15 mg/kg of methamphetamine via intraperitoneal injections twice daily at four-hour intervals for two days.
  • The groups were given their respective doses:
    – The control group was given a 0.9 percent NaCl solution.
    – The Jitai pre-treatment group was given 0.087 g/kg through oral gavage for seven days before the meth injections.
    – The rats in the Jitai post-treatment groups were administered with Jitai once daily at doses of 0.029, 0.087, and 0.290 g/kg for 10 days.
  • Results showed that pre-treatment with Jitai inhibited behavioral and neural changes associated with dopamine neurotoxicity.
  • Similarly, post-treatment with Jitai reduced meth-induced injury to the dopamine neurons.

This is the first study of its kind to evaluate Jitai tablets as a novel way to treat meth-induced dopamine neurotoxicity.

These findings were published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The full study can be read at this link.

Read more articles on the potent power of Chinese medicine at

Journal Reference:

Xu S, Tu S, Gao J, Liu J, Guo Z, Zhang J, Liu X, Liang J, Huang Y, Han M. PROTECTIVE AND RESTORATIVE EFFECTS OF THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE JITAI TABLET AGAINST METHAMPHETAMINE-INDUCED DOPAMINERGIC NEUROTOXICITY. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 23 February 2018;18(76). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2094-z

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