. Medical and Hospital News .

Revealed: secrets of ancient Chinese medicinal herb
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Dec 23, 2012

Scientist in the United States on Sunday offered a molecular-level explanation for how a Chinese herbal medicine used for more than 2,000 years tackles fever and eases malaria.

The herb is an extract of the root of a flowering plant called blue evergreen hydrangea, known in Chinese as chang shan and in Latin as Dichroa febrifuga Lour.

Chang shan's use dates back to the Han dynasty of 206 BC to 220 AD, according to ancient documents recording Chinese oral traditions.

In 2009, researchers made insights into its active ingredient, febrifuginone, which can be pharmaceutically made as a molecule called halofuginone.

They found that halofuginone prevented production of rogue Th17 immune cells which attack healthy cells, causing inflammation that leads to fever.

A study published in the journal Nature on Sunday found halofuginone works by hampering production of proteins for making "bad" Th17 cells, but not the "good" ones.

Specifically, it blocks molecules called transfer RNA (tRNA), whose job is to assemble a protein bit by bit, in line with the DNA code written in the gene.

As for malaria, halofuginone appears to interfere with the same protein-assembly process that enables malaria parasites to live in the blood, the study said.

"Our new results solved a mystery that has puzzled people about the mechanism that has been used to treat fever from a malaria infection going back probably 2,000 years or more," said Paul Schimmel, who headed the team at the Scripps Research Institute in California.

Halofuginone has been tested in small-scale human trials to treat cancer and muscular dystrophy. Drug engineers also eye it as a potential tool for combatting inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis, which are also autoimmune diseases.


Related Links
Hospital and Medical News at InternDaily.com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Super-fine sound beam could one day be an invisible scalpel
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Dec 24, 2012
A carbon-nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery. Today's ultrasound technology enables far more than glimpses into the womb. Doctors routinely ... read more

'No Christmas' for Philippine typhoon victims

Christmas misery in Haiti camp, three years after quake

Apocalypse... but not as we know it

360,000 Haitians still displaced after 2010 quake: IOM

KAIST announced a major breakthrough in indoor positioning research

Third Boeing GPS IIF Begins Operation After Early Handover to USAF

Putin Urges CIS Countries to Join Glonass

Third Galileo satellite begins transmitting navigation signal

What howler monkeys can tell us about the role of interbreeding in human evolution

Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see

Do palm trees hold the key to immortality?

Study: Human hands evolved as weapons

China survey reports fewer sightings of engangered porpoise

Century-old Wallace map of natural world updated

Lizard tails detach at a biological 'dotted line'

Nepal campaigners plead for killer elephant's life

Pigs in southern China infected with avian flu

New whole plant therapy shows promise as an effective and economical treatment for malaria

Tracking the origins of HIV

WHO head warns diseases set to rise

Hong Kong activist arrested 6 months after Hu protest

China gives hijackers death sentences

US lawmakers, Chinese friends seek Liu Xiaobo release

Banquets off the menu for China military: state media

Pirates attack ship off Nigeria, kidnap Italian sailors

Four Chinese hostages freed in Colombia

Piracy will swell again if seas not policed: S.African Navy

Mekong River attackers get death sentences

Hong Kong probes UBS over interbank rate rigging claims

Outside View: U.S economy in 2013

World Bank ups Chinese growth projection for 2013

China property market revives despite controls

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement