Medicine

Chinese medicine technique may offer some relief in perimenopause

November 04, 2016

  • A Chinese medicine technique using a smooth-edged instrument to scrape or rub certain areas of the body may relieve troublesome symptoms women experience in the years leading up to menopause, according to a new study. Perimenopause can begin eight to 10 years before menopause, as estrogen levels fluctuate and start declining but menstrual cycles continue. During this time, and for another year or more after menstruation stops, women may experience hot flashes, insomnia, tiredness, mood swings, forgetfulness, aches and pains, vaginal dryness and pain during sex.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/11/04/chinese-medicine-technique-may-offer-some-relief-in-perimenopause.html

Mother of boy with flesh-eating eczema which left him ‘looking like a burns victim’ says he has been ‘cured’ by Chinese medicine

12 October 2016

  • A eczema sufferer who developed a flesh-eating infection which left him ‘looking like a burns victim’ has finally found relief after taking Chinese medicine. It was only when he was hospitalised with a rare and sometimes-deadly infection, called eczema herpeticum, that they found something to alleviate his agonising symptoms. The herbal mixture, created and regularly changed according to Owen’s needs, included herbs such as bloodwort root, white mulberry leaf, Chinese anemone root and Imperata grass.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3834098/Mother-boy-flesh-eating-eczema-left-looking-like-burns-victim-says-cured-Chinese-medicine.html

Could Chinese medicine cure leukaemia? Taking a herb alongside treatment ‘helps 85% of patients enter remission’

5 October 2016

  • A Chinese herbal medicine has blasted leukaemia into submission. Seriously ill patients given homoharringtonine, a drug made from the leaves of the plum yew tree, made remarkable recoveries. Some had already been treated unsuccessfully with conventional drugs. All were suffering from a hard to treat form of acute myeloid leukaemia – an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells. The drug is made from the leaves, and sometimes the bark, of Cephalotaxus harringtoni, the Japanese, or Chinese, plum yew.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3823690/Could-Chinese-medicine-cure-leukaemia-Taking-herb-alongside-treatment-helps-85-patients-enter-remission.html

Scientist from China, UK team up to find out how anti-cancer components are produced in Chinese herb ‘Huangqin’

September 27, 2016

  • Scientists from China and UK have started co-efforts on a research to find out how the anti-cancer components are produced inside a traditional Chinese herb. This can lead to development of new health supplement and drugs to help control and fight with cancer, scientists said during the establishment of a new Sino-UK joint research centre.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/nation/Scientist-from-China-UK-team-up-to-find-out-how-anticancer-components-are-produced-in-Chinese-herb-Huangqin/shdaily.shtml

How Chinese medicine kills cancer cells

September 8, 2016

  • Researchers have shown how a complex mix of plant compounds derived from ancient clinical practice in China — a Traditional Chinese Medicine — works to kill cancer cells. Compound kushen injection (CKI) is approved for use in China to treat various cancer tumours, usually as an adjunct to western chemotherapy — but how it works has not been known. This study, published in the journal Oncotarget, is one of the first to characterise the molecular action of a Traditional Chinese Medicine rather than breaking it down to its constituent parts.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160908084319.htm

Chinese medicine gaining popularity in UAE

September 11, 2016

  • Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, are among the many forms of ‘alternative medicine’ available in the UAE. These treatments – many of which were first designed over 2,500 years ago – include acupuncture, herbal treatments, Tai Chi and Tui Na, a form of Chinese massage and manipulative therapy often combined with acupuncture and cupping.Other treatments include Qigong, a system of body movements, postures, medication and breathing exercises, as well as traditional dietary therapies.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/uae-health/chinese-medicine-gaining-popularity-in-uae

Sugar transforms a traditional Chinese medicine into a cruise missile

September 7, 2016

  • More than 20 years ago, a billboard in China piqued the interest of a chemical biologist. It endorsed an extract from the plant known as the “thunder god vine” as an immunosuppressant. A brief review of published research revealed that the extract’s key ingredient—the small molecule triptolide—had been identified 20 years before that billboard ad, and it could stop cells from multiplying. Now, that chemical biologist and his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report that tests of triptolide in human cells and mice are vastly improved by the chemical attachment of glucose to the triptolide molecule. The chemical add-on makes the molecule more soluble and essentially turns it into a “cruise missile” that preferentially seeks out cancer cells, the research says. The change might also decrease side effects in patients and make the drug easier to administer.

http://phys.org/news/2016-09-sugar-traditional-chinese-medicine-cruise.html

Acupuncture May Help Counter Pre-Dementia Memory Loss

August 7, 2016

  • Acupuncture, a Chinese therapy that has been used for centuries, offers a plethora of benefits for a number of conditions including pain, stress, anxiety etc. Now neurologists have discovered that this needle-piercing technique could help counter initial symptoms of dementia. In acupuncture, the extremely thin needles are inserted through skin at strategic points on the body to relieve aches and stress.

http://www.healthnewsline.net/acupuncture-may-help-counter-pre-dementia-memory-loss/2535756/

Acupuncture Vertigo Relief With Micro-Acupuncture

09 April 2016

  • Controlled studies find acupuncture an effective modality for the treatment of vertigo. Clinical data documents positive patient outcomes and scientific measurements demonstrate improved blood flow in the brain. Acupuncture alleviates vertigo. Researchers at Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of vertigo. Researchers from Jianghan University find electroacupuncture combined with ultrasound therapy is an effective treatment protocol for the treatment of vertigo. In addition, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Yueyang Hospital) researchers conclude that acupuncture regulates cerebral blood flow thereby alleviating vertigo due to cerebral circulation insufficiency.

https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1621-acupuncture-vertigo-relief-with-micro-acupuncture

Chinese acupuncture thrives in Lithuania

2016-04-09

  • A Chinese acupuncture clinic in Lithuania’s second largest city currently receives around 100 patients per week, bringing the traditional Chinese medicine skill to more people in the Baltic country. Owner Dainius Butvilas, a 39-year-old Lithuanian, is the only doctor at the clinic, which has been running since 2009 in Kaunas. He can speak Chinese, practices martial arts, and can kill pain with silver needles in the ancient Chinese way.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-04/09/c_135263873.htm

Chinese medicine plant secrets probed

9 April 2016

  • Scientists have unravelled one of the secrets of a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese skullcap – known as Huang-Qin – is traditionally used for fever, liver and lung problems. Scientists have discovered that the plant uses a special pathway to make chemicals with potential cancer-fighting properties. They say it is a step towards being able to scale up production to make new drugs. Prof Cathie Martin, of the John Innes Centre in Norwich, is lead researcher of the study, published in Science Advances.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35997595

Chinese herbal remedy ‘just as effective as methotrexate against arthritis’

15 April 2014

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints – affects around 1.5 million people in the US. Although there is no cure for the condition, medications, such as methotrexate, are used to reduce symptoms. But new research published in the BMJ suggests that a Chinese herbal remedy is just as effective as methotrexate. To reach their findings, the research team, led by Dr. Xuan Zhang of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in China, assessed the effects of methotrexate (MTX) and a herbal remedy, called Triptergium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF), against rheumatoid arthritis in 207 patients with the condition.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275504.php

New Chinese herbal medicine has significant potential in treating hepatitis C

April 12, 2014

  • Data from a late-breaking abstract presented at the International Liver Congress 2014 identifies a new compound, SBEL1, that has the ability to inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) activity in cells at several points in the virus’ lifecycle.[1] SBEL1 is a compound isolated from Chinese herbal medicines that was found to inhibit HCV activity by approximately 90%. SBEL1 is extracted from a herb found in certain regions of Taiwan and Southern China. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat sore throats and inflammations. The function of SBEL1 within the plant is unknown and its role and origins are currently being investigated.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-chinese-herbal-medicine-significant-potential.html

Modern science meets ancient Chinese herbs: Richmond company touts ‘game-changer’ medicine for the flu

November 07, 2015

  • From a nondescript grey building in a commercial park near the Fraser River, a Richmond company is making a bold claim with a new product they say could be a “game-changer” in an age-old problem: fighting the common cold and flu. Many of these products, such as the new cold and flu formula developed in Richmond, combine millenniums-old Asian traditions with state-of-the art Canadian technology, said Dr. Yuan-Chun Ma, president of Richmond-based Canadian Phytopharmaceuticals Corporation (CPC). It’s a new version of a formula known as SHL (or Shuanghuanglian), which has been widely used in China for decades, including in hospital settings, said Ma.

http://www.theprovince.com/health/marriage+traditional+remedies+technology+could+change+medicines+take/11502541/story.html

‘Gifts’ from Chinese herbal medicine

October 5, 2015

  • Derived from a herb used to treat fevers some 1,700 years ago, the anti-malaria drug artemisinin is one of many treatments plucked from the treasure chest of ancient Chinese medicine and repackaged for a modern age. The compound revolutionised cures for a killer disease for which drug resistance is a major problem, and is credited with saving millions of lives. On Monday it also earned its Chinese developer, Tu Youyou, a Nobel Medicine Prize. “It is my dream that Chinese medicine will help us conquer life-threatening diseases worldwide, and that people across the globe will enjoy its benefits for health promotion,” Tu wrote in a 2011 commentary in the science journal Nature Medicine.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/gifts-chinese-herbal-medicine-191809869.html

Cutting-edge genetics circles back to traditional medicine, says expert

09.24.2015

  • Genetic tests are putting advanced scientific techniques to work solving an ancient question, says an expert in alternative medicine: how does human uniqueness affect a person’s health. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have studied the topic for millennia, says Jeffrey Bland, an author based in Washington state where he founded the non-profit Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute. He’ll be speaking at the Dr. Rogers Prize Colloquium at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Saturday, which is open to the public. “We’re starting to move from medicine of the average to medicine of the individual by the nature of these tools, which is really what Chinese medicine has been trying to do for thousands of years.”

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/cutting+edge+genetics+circles+back+traditional+medicine+says+expert/11388415/story.html

Finding a Cure in Traditional Chinese Medicine

September 1, 2015

  • Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years, and now it’s winning a wider audience. Patients around the world are turning to its treatments, in the hope of mitigating the side effects of Western drugs. And that means it’s becoming big business, and a windfall for practitioners. Bloomberg’s Juliette Saly reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-09-02/finding-a-cure-in-traditional-chinese-medicine

Traditional Chinese exercises may help patients with COPD

July 14th, 2015

  • Liuzijue qigong (LQG) is a set of meditative movement and breathing patterns practiced by more than 100 million people in China.
  • In a new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in remission who were randomized to LQG demonstrated marked improvements in their lung function, general health, mental health, and quality of life after 6 months compared with patients randomized to a control group. The LQG program consisted of four 45-minute sessions each week and daily walking for 30 minutes. Control participants walked daily for 30 minutes.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/w-tce071415.php

China’s most poisonous plant may also be deadly for cancer cells, scientists claim

01 July, 2015

  • Chinese scientists discovered nine new compounds in Gelsemium elegans (断肠草), the most poisonous indigenous plant in the country, during their study in subtropical Yunnan province. It is the most toxic of three versions of the flowering plant. The other two are native to North America. They reported the results in the latest issue of the journal Natural Products, which is published by the American Chemical Society.

http://www.scmp.com/tech/science-research/article/1829453/chinas-most-poisonous-plant-may-also-be-deadly-cancer-cells

Mushroom used in Chinese medicine ‘slows weight gain’

24 June 2015

  • A mushroom used for centuries in Chinese medicine reduces weight gain in animals, say researchers in Taiwan. The study, published in Nature Communications, suggested Ganoderma lucidum slowed weight gain by altering bacteria in the gut. The researchers suggested the mushroom could eventually be used in the treatment of obesity. Experts said the science was good, but putting mushroom extract in cans of cola would not help people lose weight. G. lucidum has traditionally been sold for “health and longevity” say researchers at Chang Gung University.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33237991

Could the magnolia tree help combat head and neck cancers?

26 June 2015

  • Researchers from the Birmingham Veteran Affairs Medical Center, AL, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found the compound – called honokiol – blocked a protein that drives tumor growth in squamous cell head and neck cancers, most commonly caused by tobacco and alcohol use. The researchers note that honokiol is well known for its medicinal properties. The compound has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for the treatment of anxiety and stress for hundreds of years. In recent years, however, studies have indicated that honokiol also holds some anticancer properties, with researchers finding it prevents or reduces tumor growth in models of breast, skin, prostate and nonsmall cell lung cancers.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295962.php

Drug makers are interested in an ancient Chinese medicine after Harvard found out how it works

Jun. 22, 2015

  • A company that specialises in turning university research into marketable drugs is licensing Harvard research related to the blue evergreen hydrangea root, a part of the plant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Allied-Bristol Life Sciences, a joint venture between the university commercialisation specialist Allied Minds and the US pharmaceuticals giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, is licensing research carried out by Professor Malcolm Whitman and Dr. Tracy Keller at Harvard from 2002 onward.

http://www.businessinsider.com/allied-bristol-life-sciences-license-harvard-research-on-chinese-medicine-the-blue-hydrangea-root-2015-6

Chinese Herb Promotes Brain Cell Proliferation

June 17, 2015

  • Researchers from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences have found that a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation and neurogenesis. Their results, published in Aging Cell, suggest that the herb Rhizoma Acori tatarinowii could be used to fight against age-related neurodegeneration. Neurogenesis is critical for cognition functions of the brain. However, under the conditions such as aging, chronic stress and central neuron diseases, NPC proliferation decreases dramatically, which leads to the declined neurogenesis and thereby cognition impairment. Therefore, promoting neurogenesis has been considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for anti-aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/06/in-the-lab/chinese-herb-promotes-brain-cell-proliferation/

Harvard study: Could Chinese ‘thunder god vine’ plant be cure-all for obesity?

May 22, 2015

  • Scientists have been scouring the world in recent decades for all manner of miracle plants that can help people slim down. As the market for weight-loss products and supplements has grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry, they’ve looked at dandelions, coffee and nuts, among other things. They’ve been cultivating an edible succulent called the caralluma fimbriata chewed by tribesmen in rural India to control their hunger during a day’s hunt. And they have been trying to isolate and extract whatever it is in an African plant called hoodia, which looks like a spikey pickle, that tricks you into feeling full even if you haven’t eaten a bite. In a paper published in the journal Cell on Thursday, scientists said an extract made from the plant reduces food intake and has led to a dramatic 45 percent decrease in body weight in obese mice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/05/22/harvard-study-could-chinese-thunder-god-vine-plant-be-cure-all-for-weight-loss/

Int’l health experts hail China’s role in fight against malaria

2015-04-25

  • On the occasion of World Malaria Day on April 25, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) hailed China’s role in fighting against malaria. China is the biggest producer of the drug artemisinin, which has benefited millions of people with malaria. Artemisinin, also known as Qinghaosu was first isolated from the Chinese traditional plant artemisia by Chinese scientists. The drug registers the most rapid action of all current drugs against malaria.

http://www.ecns.cn/2015/04-25/163067.shtml

How acupuncture works

23 August, 2011

  • The electrical engineering department of Columbia University and the medicine faculty of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have collaborated on a study that proves how acupuncture works. Professor Edward Yang of Columbia, acupuncture specialist Dr. Li Geng and former HKU medicine faculty dean Professor Lam Shiu-kum spearheaded the eight-year study, which shows that acupuncture works by stimulating the production of endorphins in the area where acupuncture is administered. The study was published in the “European Journal of Physiology” in June. Researchers were in Hong Kong yesterday to discuss their work.

http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/life/hong-kong-and-columbia-professors-prove-acupuncture-works-049700/

Traditional Chinese medicine is getting a voice at the World Health Organization

March 13, 2015

  • Traditional Chinese medicine has received a vote of confidence from the World Health Organization. China’s World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies, a Beijing organization that promotes traditional Chinese medicine, has established official relations with the WHO, and will now be able to attend WHO meetings, and “have a say in global decision-making on major health issues,” according to the group. “The WHO recognizes the value and role traditional medicine can play in national health systems, especially in primary care,” WHO’s representative in China, Bernhard Schwartlander said, according to Chinese media. (The WHO was not immediately available for comment.)

http://qz.com/362182/traditional-chinese-medicine-is-getting-a-voice-at-the-world-health-organization/

Plant-based compound may protect against weight gain

November 26, 2014

  • A compound found in plants and some Chinese herbal medicines may trigger the body to burn calories by stimulating the activity of heat-producing tissue called brown fat, a new study in mice found. In the study, researchers found that the mice that were injected daily with the compound, called berberine, for four weeks burned more calories than the mice that were not injected with the compound. In addition, the bodies of the mice injected with berberine generated more heat when they were exposed to cold air between 39 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 8 degrees Celsius) than the mice that were not injected with the compound.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/11/26/plant-based-compound-may-protect-against-weight-gain.html

A Push to Back Traditional Chinese Medicine With More Data

Nov. 3, 2014

  • Now researchers in some the most highly respected universities in China, and increasingly in Europe and the U.S., are wedding Western techniques for analyzing complex biological systems to the Chinese notion of seeing the body as a networked whole. The idea is to study how genes or proteins interact throughout the body as a disease develops, rather than to examine single genes or molecules. “Traditional Chinese medicine views disease as complete a pattern as possible,” says Jennifer Wan, a professor in the school of biological sciences at the University of Hong Kong who studies traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM. “Western medicine tends to view events or individuals as discrete particles.” But one gene or biological marker alone typically doesn’t yield comprehensive understanding of disease, she says.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-push-to-back-traditional-chinese-medicine-with-more-data-1415036616

New over-the-counter drugs based on Chinese medicine to hit UK chemists

Jun 13, 2015

  • Phynova beats big pharma to market with its Western take on Chinese medicine, becoming first company to win EU regulatory approval. A small Oxford-based company has become the first European drug maker to bring traditional Chinese medicine to the Western market, launching two EU-certified products this year before any of the big pharmaceutical giants managed to move into the potentially lucrative market.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/11671942/New-over-the-counter-drugs-based-on-Chinese-medicine-to-hit-UK-chemists.html

Tai Chi Practice Has an Anti-Aging Effect and Can Help Fibromyalgia Patients Cope with the Disease

May 28, 2015

  • A study published in the journal Cell Transplantation demonstrated the benefits of Tai Chi in terms of aging and in fibromyalgia patients. The study is entitled “Tai Chi Intervention Increases Progenitor CD34+ Cells in Young Adults” and was conducted by a collaborative team of researchers at different universities and hospitals in Taiwan. Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that offers defense training but also health benefits. It is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation” because practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, while breathing deeply. Although Tai Chi is considered a healthy practice worldwide, few efforts have been made to exploit the impact of Tai Chi on lifespan.

http://fibromyalgianewstoday.com/2015/05/28/tai-chi-practice-has-an-anti-aging-effect-and-can-help-fibromyalgia-patients-cope-with-the-disease/

Can Tai Chi slow the aging process?

May 28, 2014

  • Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art and sport, has been found to be beneficial in raising the numbers of an important type of cell when three groups of young people were tested to discover the benefits of Tai Chi, brisk walking or no exercise. The group performing Tai Chi saw a rise in their cluster of differentiation 34 expressing (CD34+) cells, a stem cell important to a number of the body’s functions and structures. The study was published in issue 23(4/5) of Cell Transplantation and is freely available online.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-05-tai-chi-aging.html

Chinese herbal remedy ‘just as effective as methotrexate against arthritis’

15 April 2014

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints – affects around 1.5 million people in the US. Although there is no cure for the condition, medications, such as methotrexate, are used to reduce symptoms. But new research published in the BMJ suggests that a Chinese herbal remedy is just as effective as methotrexate. To reach their findings, the research team, led by Dr. Xuan Zhang of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in China, assessed the effects of methotrexate (MTX) and a herbal remedy, called Triptergium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF), against rheumatoid arthritis in 207 patients with the condition.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275504.php

New Chinese herbal medicine has significant potential in treating hepatitis C

April 12, 2014

  • Data from a late-breaking abstract presented at the International Liver Congress 2014 identifies a new compound, SBEL1, that has the ability to inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) activity in cells at several points in the virus’ lifecycle.[1] SBEL1 is a compound isolated from Chinese herbal medicines that was found to inhibit HCV activity by approximately 90%. SBEL1 is extracted from a herb found in certain regions of Taiwan and Southern China. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat sore throats and inflammations. The function of SBEL1 within the plant is unknown and its role and origins are currently being investigated.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-chinese-herbal-medicine-significant-potential.html

Chinese Herb May Help In Healing Spinal Cord Injuries

August 29, 2013

  • Researchers have found that the Chinese herbal medicine known as Ji-Sui-Kang (JSK) improved spinal cord injury outcomes in rats. The study, published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, showed that JSK improved locomotor function, reduced tissue damaged, and preserved the structure of neural cells in rates with spinal cord injuries. In this study, rats began JSK treatment immediately after undergoing spinal cord injury. Within seven days, hind limb locomotor function was significantly better in JSK-treated rats compared to those receiving only saline.

http://www.asianscientist.com/in-the-lab/chinese-herbal-medicine-heal-spinal-injury-2013/

Acupuncture Helps Ailing Alligator in Brazil

August 28, 2013

  • Bino the albino alligator lives at the Sao Paulo Aquarium, where he’s been since 2007. Veterinarians said Wednesday that he was born eight years ago with his ailments, and nothing seemed to alleviate them. So, in early 2011 veterinarians decided to see if acupuncture might help Bino, as it has other animals living at the aquarium. In the U.S., the number of veterinarians who hold membership in the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture has jumped 50 percent in the last few years to 900 doctors, said Simon Flynn, the executive director of the academy that’s based in Glastonbury, Connecticut. “There are many zoo veterinarians who use acupuncture, a number of equine practitioners who treat race horses with acupuncture, it’s proven to be a useful treatment,” Flynn said. “It’s common with dogs and it’s becoming increasingly common with cats. More veterinarians are seeing the worth of the treatment.”

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/acupuncture-helps-ailing-alligator-brazil-20095488

Chinese Medicine Yields Secrets: Atomic Mechanism of Two-Headed Molecule Derived from Chang Shan, a Traditional Chinese Herb

Dec. 23, 2012

  • The mysterious inner workings of Chang Shan — a Chinese herbal medicine used for thousands of years to treat fevers associated with malaria — have been uncovered thanks to a high-resolution structure solved at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Described in the journal Nature this week, the structure shows in atomic detail how a two-headed compound derived from the active ingredient in Chang Shan works. Scientists have known that this compound, called halofuginone (a derivative of the febrifugine), can suppress parts of the immune system — but nobody knew exactly how. The new structure shows that, like a wrench in the works, halofuginone jams the gears of a molecular machine that carries out “aminoacylation,” a crucial biological process that allows organisms to synthesize the proteins they need to live. Chang Shan, also known as Dichroa febrifuga Lour, probably helps with malarial fevers because traces of a halofuginone-like chemical in the herb interfere with this same process in malaria parasites, killing them in an infected person’s bloodstream.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121223152433.htm

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