The effect of Rowachol (200 mg tid), an essential oil preparation, on biliary lipid secretion and serum lipids was measured in six healthy male volunteers before and after four weeks of treatment. Biliary cholesterol and phospholipid secretion increased significantly from 113 +/- 36 (SD) mumol/h to 155 +/- 52 mumol/h (p less than 0.05) and from 409 +/- 145 mumol/h to 587 +/- 185 mumol/h (p less than 0.05), respectively. Bile acid secretion increased from 1519 +/- 662 mumol/h to 2287 +/- 1175 mumol/h (p greater than 0.05 and greater than 0.10). This marked increase in biliary lipid secretion was not followed by a change in molar composition of biliary lipids and lithogenicity of bile. Serum cholesterol and triglycerides declined from 4.9 mmol/l to 4.1 mmol/l (p less than 0.05) and from 1.2 mmol/l to 0.9 mmol/l (p less than 0.05) respectively. The ratio of high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol to total cholesterol increased from 0.22 to 0.31 (p less than 0.05). Although it has been shown previously that Rowachol could dissolve cholesterol gall stones the present results indicate that Rowachol alone has only weak litholytic properties, at least in normal volunteers, but might have several advantages when combined with chenodeoxycholic or ursodeoxycholic acid.
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