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Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest NewsFor our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

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  • Mushroom compound may help treat cancer Tuesday October 19th, 2021
    • Researchers recently modified a metabolite derived from a Himalayan fungus. They believe it may help treat cancer.
    • Early results suggest that the modified fungal metabolite is well tolerated in people with advanced cancer and that it has anti-cancer effects.
    • The researchers are currently planning phase 2 clinical trials.

    Cordycepin is a metabolic product derived from Cordyceps sinensis, a Himalayan fungus that people have used in herbal treatments for cancer, aging, and inflammation for millennia. Researchers first characterized the compound in 1950.

    Over the last 71 years, hundreds of studies have found that cordycepin may have beneficial effects on various health problems, including:

    • cancer
    • cardiac conditions
    • inflammation
    • mental health problems and issues with brain function
    • metabolic disorders
    • pain
    • respiratory conditions

    Despite cordycepin’s success in cell cultures and animal studies, little research exists on the effects of cordycepin on people, because it breaks down quickly in the bloodstream. This means that only small amounts reach the target site.

    Figuring out a way to make cordycepin more stable in the body could lead to new therapeutics for cancer and other conditions.

    In a recent study, researchers led by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and biopharmaceutical company NuCana found a way to make cordycepin more stable in the body. They called their new drug NUC-7738 and conducted a phase 1 clinical trial in people with advanced cancer.

    From cellular studies, the researchers learned that NUC-7738 was better able to reach cancer cells and generate high levels of anti-cancer metabolites than regular cordycepin.

    Early results from clinical trials involving patients with treatment-resistant advanced stage tumorsalso showed that the novel chemotherapy drug was well tolerated and exhibited signs of anti-cancer activity.

    “In this study, the authors show that a modified form of the cordycepin molecule, NUC-7738, makes it effective at lower concentrations and for longer,” Dr. Cornelia de Moor, Ph.D., told Medical News Today. Dr. de Moor is an associate professor in RNA biology at the University of Nottingham, U.K., and was not involved in the study.

    “Excitingly, this appears to be not only true in cell culture and animals but also in cancer patients.”

    The study appears in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

    One of the main problems with using cordycepin to treat people is that it breaks down easily in the body upon contact with an enzyme known as adenosine deaminase (ADA). It also relies on a nucleoside transporter called hENT1 to reach cancer cells, and phosphorylating enzyme (ADK) to be converted into an anti-cancer metabolite.

    To overcome these issues, the researchers modified cordycepin with ProTide technology, a novel approach to delivering drugs to cancer cells.

    ProTide technology works by attaching small molecules to preactivated compounds to help them reach their target cells. Once reached, these small molecules break down, leaving the preactivated compounds to do their work.

    Scientists already use this approach in Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral drugs, including remdesivir and sofosbuvir, for viral infections, including hepatitis C, Ebola, and COVID-19. The FDA also recently fast-tracked anti-cancer drug Acelarin, which uses the same technology.

    Employing ProTide technology, the researchers synthesized several preactivated versions of cordycepin before selecting one — NUC-7738 — for further investigation.

    They then tested NUC-7738 alongside regular cordycepin on a wide set of cancer cell lines. NUC-7738 was at least seven times more potent than regular cordycepin.

    NUC-7738 performed particularly well on teratocarcinoma cells, which is a form of testicular cancer. These cells were over 40 times more sensitive to NUC-7738 than to cordycepin.

    Next, the researchers conducted cellular tests to measure the effects of NUC-7738 on ADA, ADK, and hENT1. Unlike regular cordycepin, which was dependent on all three, NUC-7738 did not respond to inhibition of any of them.

    The authors of the study then began an ongoing phase 1 clinical trial to test the drug in patients. As of June 1, 2021, they enrolled 28 people across the U.K. with various forms of advanced cancer, including melanoma, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer, to receive doses of NUC-7738 ranging from 14 to 900 milligrams per meter squared.

    Early results from this trial suggest that cancer patients tolerate well all doses of the drug. The researchers also noted signs of anti-tumor activity and prolonged disease stabilization, especially among those with immunotherapy-resistant melanoma.

    The researchers conducted various genetic analyses on tissues treated with cordycepin and NUC-7739 to understand their genetic mechanisms. While genes for ADK were enriched in tissues treated with cordycepin, those treated with NUC-7738 were not enriched, suggesting that NUC-7738 does not work via ADK.

    The researchers found, however, that removal of the phosphoramidite HINT1 gene from tissue led to decreased sensitivity to NUC-7738, although it had no effect on cordycepin. Further investigation found that NUC-7738 requires low levels of HINT1to work. HINT1 is a gene that is present in most cancer tissues.

    Other genetic analyses showed that while treatment with cordycepin caused minimal but significant changes in multiple genes, NUC-7738 resulted in more change in a smaller number of genes. Both NUC-7738 and cordycepin had the biggest impact on the expression of coding mRNAs.

    “How exactly cordycepin works is still a mystery,” Dr. de Moor told MNT. “The paper shows interesting data from a genetic screen in tissue culture, but as yet, the only mutations that make sense are in the enzymes that metabolize cordycepin and NUC-7738.”

    “The effects on the induction of inflammatory genes are entirely in line with our observations and the wider literature. We have shown that it is likely that Cordyceps produces cordycepin to suppress the insect immune response, which is similar to the human inflammatory response. This property of cordycepin is therefore likely to be selected by evolution,” she continued.

    The researchers conclude that their findings are a proof of concept for NUC-7738 to treat various forms of cancer and thus warrant further clinical evaluations. They are currently planning phase 2 clinical trials for the drug.

    “The clinical trial is still incomplete and will have to be followed up with further trials, but the data look promising for cancer therapy with this new type of cancer drug,” said Dr. de Moor. “In addition, the favorable reports on the toxicity of NUC-7738 open the possibility that it will be also applicable at lower doses in other diseases.”

    She concluded:

    “It is clear that nature found an effective way of repressing inflammation — and potentially curing cancer — that we don’t yet understand but that we can use nevertheless. If NUC-7738 does eventually make it as a new medicine, this will demonstrate once again that nature is a treasure trove of ideas for medicines, which has been neglected by the major pharmaceutical companies for far too long.”

    Source: Medical News Today

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  • COVID-19: How Thailand is using a ‘cheap and effective’ traditional herbal medicine to treat coronavirus Monday October 11th, 2021

    Thailand’s government is using green chiretta to treat people with asymptomatic or mild coronavirus infections, following a trial in prisons which found that 99% of those who consumed the plant recovered.

    In Thailand’s fields, convicted criminals tend to a precious crop.

    In the blazing sun, in neon orange tops, they bend and scrape, painstakingly weeding the ground around neat lines of dark green plants.

    They’re growing green chiretta (Andrographis paniculate) – or Fah talai jone, as it’s called in Thailand.

    It’s a traditional herbal medicine commonly used in Thai homes to treat colds, but it is now playing a central role in the country’s fight against COVID-19.

    “Its properties help to reduce fever and coughing,” one of the prisoners tells me.

    In jail for drugs offences, the 31-year-old is now tasked with harvesting a plant which has been used to treat more than 69,000 other offenders with coronavirus.

    “I feel proud to be looking after these Thai herbs that are used to help cure prisoners who have COVID,” he says.

    After his team snips and gathers all the mature stems, the plant is dried and ground by another group.

    The dark green powder is then packed into capsules before being shipped to other prisons nearby.

    In July, Thailand’s cabinet approved green chiretta for use in people with asymptomatic or mild coronavirus infections following a successful trial in prisons.

    The government claims that out of 11,800 inmates who took it to treat coronavirus, 99.02% recovered.

    A few miles down the road from where the plants are being harvested, Chainat jail is one of those using the herbal remedy.

    During an outbreak of COVID-19 in August, more than 700 inmates took 15 pills a day for five days.

    Staff say all of them recovered.

    Jail medic Chitsanuphong Saublaongiw believes the traditional tablet was effective in easing mild symptoms.

    “From the research, green chiretta has a substance called andrographolide, which is the substance that helps limit the spread of the virus,” he explains.

    “After taking green chiretta, the prisoners had better chest X-ray results, fewer symptoms, the disease was less severe, and they returned to normal quickly,” he adds.

    “Asymptomatic patients didn’t develop any severe symptoms.”

    Often overcrowded and cramped, the virus has spread rapidly in Thailand’s jails.

    Around a quarter of the country’s prisoners tested positive in the six months from April 2021.

    Severe infections are still treated with antivirals or hospital care, but cheap and available green chiretta has offered Thailand an alternative option for those in the early stages of COVID-19 at a time when the country has been tackling a surge in cases.

    “In prisons, we sleep close to each other, so we can’t [social] distance,” says Poj, one of those given the tablet at Chainat jail.

    His name has been changed to protect his identity.

    “I had a high fever, then after taking green chiretta, the fever reduced,” he explains. “[My] sore throat and cough also reduced when I took green chiretta for five days.”

    Some 141 jails around the country now plan to produce 38 million green chiretta tablets by November. They’ll be used to treat more inmates.

    The government has also been trialling the treatment in some hospitals and is encouraging 24,000 villages to grow the crop, so they have supplies.

    “If we use modern medicine, the cost is 20 times, 30 times, 50 times higher… and in the prisons, it’s very crowded,” Somsak Thepsuthin, Thailand’s minister of justice, tells me at a chiretta event in Bangkok.

    “We must have this to treat people. If it’s a mild illness, we can use this medicine, as it’s inexpensive and effective.”

    But green chiretta isn’t a silver bullet to cure the world of COVID-19.

    Thai authorities have only cleared it for use in mild cases – it doesn’t stop you from getting the virus, and it isn’t a substitute for a vaccine.

    The World Health Organisation’s list of recommended drugs to treat coronavirus doesn’t mention the herbal remedy.

    Critics in Thailand say more testing is needed to prove its efficacy.

    “Andrographolide is referred to as a substance found in green chiretta that helps suppress viruses and inflammation,” says associate professor Dr Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai, of the department of clinical pharmacy at Srinakharinwirot University.

    “However, COVID-19 is still a new emerging infectious disease, so there is no sufficient research to confirm that green chiretta can prevent and cure COVID-19 yet.”

    While she supports people with colds using it at home, this is no replacement for antivirals in severe coronavirus cases.

    “The suitable amount of andrographolide for patients is still debatable, and it still needs further studies to verify its efficacy and side effects,” Dr Tangkiatkumjai adds.

    Two more trials of green chiretta involving COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms are being conducted on 1,400 people, with initial results due next spring.

    While Thailand has also been investing in revolutionary coronavirus vaccines and antivirals, green chiretta, a traditional herbal pill, has a new role in fighting a modern pandemic.

    Source: Sky News





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  • The #1 Food to Lower Cholesterol, According to a Dietitian Friday August 27th, 2021

    Oats are whole grains that promote heart health and have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Find out the secret behind oats that make them the top food choice for lowering cholesterol.

    As a registered dietitian, I often get asked about my go-to list of foods. One food I always mention is oats. Oats are commonly eaten as a breakfast item. A bowl of hot oatmeal with nuts and berries is my go-to breakfast for a gloomy morning. Its mushy and hearty texture comforts my soul. The goodness of oats goes beyond comfort, though. Research has cited that people who eat more whole grains, such as oats, have a lesser risk of heart disease by 21 percent than those who consume minimal amounts. Other studies have noted that eating an extra serving or two whole grains may reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol. So, what is so unique about oats?

    What are oats?

    Oats are the seeds of oat grass. They are whole grains that consist of the seed, including the bran, which houses the majority of the dietary fiber; the germ, which is packed with vitamins and minerals; and the endosperm, which contains the starch.

    Commonly eaten as a breakfast food, oats are also milled into flour for breads, cereals and pasta, and rolled into flakes and used as an ingredient for cookies, scones and muffins. Oats could also be blended with water to make a creamy, non-dairy beverage, oat milk.

    Oats are highly nutritious, offering 150 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of dietary fiber for every serving of 40 grams.

    Oat health benefits

    You may have heard that eating whole grains may provide several health benefits, including lowering your cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your risk for heart disease and cancers. Here is more information on some of the health benefits of oats. 

    Keep your heart healthy

    What makes oats so special to the point where they are one of the most researched foods when it comes to heart health? The secret lies within beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber present in oats. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning into a gel and acting as a sponge that binds to cholesterol and fats and removing them from the blood stream to be excreted. Research has found that eating 3 grams of beta-glucan from whole oats may reduce total cholesterol by 12 points. With 2 grams of soluble fiber present in every 40-gram serving of oats and with beta-glucan making up the majority of the soluble fiber, you may benefit from oats’ cholesterol-lowering properties by eating 1.5 servings of oats regularly.

    Stabilize blood sugar

    The soluble fiber in oats also can stabilize your blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of glucose, the building block of carbohydrates. By doing so, you are less likely to experience sudden spikes and dips in your blood sugar level.

    Maintain healthy waistline

    Recent research from Tufts University also noted that eating whole grains such as oats may help maintain a healthy waistline. As noted in the study, when one consumes less refined grains, which have the bran and the germ of the grain removed, and eats more whole grains over time, they would see less of an increase in their waistline.

    This effect could be explained by the soluble fiber’s ability to absorb water. It creates a satiating effect where you may feel full sooner due to including whole grains as part of your meals and snacks, thereby eating fewer portions of food.

    Types of oats

    Keep in mind, though, eating 1.5 servings of oats once is likely not going to reap all the health benefits. Instead, consuming 25 to 38 grams of dietary fiber daily, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, along with following the recommendations from The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, would maximize your chances of lowering your cholesterol.

    Oats come in different varieties and are processed to varying degrees for palatability and digestibility. The less processed the oats are, the more cooking time is required.

    Oat groats are the least processed among all types, with only the outer hull removed. Known for their chewiness, they require soaking before cooking.

    Steel-cut oats are similar to oat groats, except they are cut into two to three pieces. Like the groats, they are also chewy in texture and require soaking and extended cooking.

    Rolled oats are processed differently than steel-cut oats. Rather than cutting into pieces, they are steamed, pressed with a roller and then dried. Because of their shape, preparation time is reduced significantly with no soaking required. Unlike steel-cut oats, rolled oats provide a creamy texture.

    Quick-cooking oats are rolled oats cut into smaller flakes, which further reduces the cooking time.

    Instant oats are cooked and dried oat groats which are then cut into thin flakes. Because the oats are cooked during processing, they soften once combined with a hot liquid. While instant oats provide convenience, many varieties available are added with sugar and salt. That said, choose one that is low in sugar and salt, or one that is unflavored, or with no added sugar and salt. By choosing so, you can add your own ingredients, such as frozen fruits and unsalted nuts and seeds.

    Oat bran, on the other hand, only consists of the outer layer that covers the groat. Medium brown in color and rich in flavor, it is abundant in fiber, with one serving (1/2 cup) providing 116 calories, 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber.

    You can boost up the fiber content in your cereal by adding a tablespoon or two of oat bran to your cereal or to your favorite smoothie. You can also increase the fiber content in your homemade breads and cakes with oat bran.

    While oats can stabilize your blood sugar level, keep in mind that their effects on your blood sugar vary, depending on the oat variety, you eat. The least processed the oats are, the lower their glycemic index is. The glycemic index measures how fast or slow the food is absorbed and consequently increases the blood sugar level. Oat groats and steel-cut oats have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats and instant oats, where the two former take longer to digest and release into the bloodstream.

    Oats are a whole grain that offers numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol. They are versatile where you can eat them as a whole food or add them to a wide array of recipes. Start enjoy oats today! We have these recipes to make with a package of oats to help you get started. 

    Source: Eating Well

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