Molecular Secrets of Ancient Chinese Herbal Remedy Discovered [& related Alternative Medicine Resources]
For roughly two thousand years, Chinese herbalists have treated Malaria using a root extract, commonly known as Chang Shan, from a type of hydrangea that grows in Tibet and Nepal. More recent studies suggest that halofuginone, a compound derived from this extract’s bioactive ingredient, could be used to treat many autoimmune disorders as well. Now, researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine have discovered the molecular secrets behind this herbal extract’s power.
It turns out that halofuginone (HF) triggers a stress-response pathway that blocks the development of a harmful class of immune cells, called Th17 cells, which have been implicated in many autoimmune disorders.
“HF prevents the autoimmune response without dampening immunity altogether,” said Malcolm Whitman, a professor of developmental biology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and senior author on the new study. “This compound could inspire novel therapeutic approaches to a variety of autoimmune disorders.”
“This study is an exciting example of how solving the molecular mechanism of traditional herbal medicine can lead both to new insights into physiological regulation and to novel approaches to the treatment of disease,” said Tracy Keller, an instructor in Whitman’s lab and the first author on the paper….
Related General Resources for Complementary/Alternative/Integrative Medicine
- MEDLINE plus: Alternative Medicine Trusted health information links from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Includes basic information, news, organizations, specific conditions, multimedia, financial issues, and more
- Bandolier: Evidenced Based Thinking about Healthcare - Alternative Medicine
The site brings together the best evidence available about complementary and alternative therapies for consumers and professionals. It contains stories, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of complementary and alternative therapies with abstracts.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.
- New York Online Access to Health (NOAH)
NOAH offers this selection of complementary and alternative therapies without endorsement.
- Office of Cancer Complementary Alternative Medicine
The NIH, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was established in October 1998 to coordinate and enhance the activities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the arena of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
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