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Table 1 Summary of active components and pharmacological effects of mineral drugs

From: Mineral medicine: from traditional drugs to multifunctional delivery systems

Compound Source Efficacy indications Pharmacological activity and mechanism
Mercury Cinnabar (HgS) Tranquillization with heavy prescription, improving eyesight, and removing toxicity substances Conserve dopaminergic neurons from lipopolysaccharide-induced neurotoxicity by suppressing the microglial activation and proinflammatory factor production [114]
Neuroprotective effect on ischemic stroke and reperfusion injury [115]
Neuroprotective effect on neurodegenerative diseases [116]
Reduce oxidative stress by regulating 5-HT metabolism [126]
Iron Magnetite (Fe3O4) Tranquillization with heavy prescription and suppressing hyperactive liver and subsiding yang Induce apoptosis of A549 lung adenocarcinoma cell line [127]
Ochre (Fe2O3) Suppressing hyperactive liver for descending adverse qi and cooling blood for hemostasis Inhibit the expression of some inflammatory cytokines and interferon response genes, regulate T cell immune activity, and play an anti-inflammatory role [128]
Induction of TNF in RAW264.7 cells- α and IL-6 expression [129, 130]
Calcium Gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) Clearing heat-fire and quenching thirst Increase the utterance level of Aquaporin-3, accelerate the formation of collagen and capillaries on the wound, and promote the proliferation of granulation tissue, thereby promoting the healing of the skin wound [131, 132]
Arsenic Realgar (As2S2) Killing ascarid and removing toxic substances, eliminating dampness and phlegm, and preventing malaria Inhibit the proliferation of leukemia cell line F-36P and induce its apoptosis [133]
Inducing apoptosis of human liver cancer HepG2, QGY-7703 cells and blocking cell cycle G2/M progression [134,135,136,137]
Inhibit the overexpression of microRNA-372 to restrain the pervasion and diaspora of prostate neoplasm cells [138]
Prohibition of gastric carcinoma cells metastasis via the NFA Tc3/c-Myc roadway [139, 140]
Repress the activity of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 in human chest cancer cells [91, 141]
Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) Eliminating pus and necrotic tissues, dissipating phlegm, and preventing malaria Induce Molt-4 and Mutz-1 autophagy damage in leukemia cells [133]
Aluminum Alum (KAl (SO4)2·12H2O) Killing ascarid and removing toxicity substance for external, eliminating phlegm for calming endogenous wind and hemostasis for internal Reduce the content of collagen in the myometrium, gene representation, and albumen concentration of MMP-2 and MMP-9 to improve uterine leiomyoma [142]
Halloysite (Al4(Si4O10) (OH)8 · 4H2O) Astringing sores, promoting granulation and hemostasis Protect locally inflamed gastrointestinal mucosa
Copper Blue vitriol (CuSO4·5H2O) Eliminating necrosis and detoxication Promote bile secretion and have a sialagogic effect
Sodium Mirabilite (Na2SO4·10H2O) Clearing heat for detumescence and moistening dryness for relaxing bowels Promote intestinal activity and improve gastrointestinal dysfunction [143]
Magnesium Talc (Mg3(Si4O10) (OH)2) Clearing heat and freeing strangury Protect the inflamed gastrointestinal mucosa or damaged skin tissues [144]