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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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  • Traditional Chinese medicine maker soars after top respiratory expert backs drug in potentially inhibiting coronavirus Tuesday October 27th, 2020

    • The Banlangen granules could potentially inhibit coronavirus, researchers led by respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan found through a series of in-vitro studies
    • Surge seen as speculative as more clinical trials are needed to establish the drug’s efficacy

    Shares of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) company jumped after receiving validation from the nation’s top respiratory expert on its drug’s effect against the coronavirus, joining two other peers that have enjoyed huge gains this year.

    Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings soared 13 per cent to HK$21.75 in Hong Kong and by 10 per cent to 34.18 yuan in Shanghai on Friday, after Zhong Nanshan, the public face of China’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said one of its products could potentially inhibit the coronavirus.

    Researchers led by Zhong found that Banlangen granules, a herbal medicine popular in China for treating common cold and flu, was effective against the virus in a series of in-vitro studies, Chinese newspaper Nanfang Dailyquoted him as saying during a conference on Tuesday in Guangzhou. The drug was also widely used in the country during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak.

    Investors latched on to the hype surrounding the company even though the studies were still at an early stage and Zhong did not disclose whether or when any research paper or preclinical data will be published. The stock’s advance in Hong Kong marked its biggest daily jump since October 2018, while turnover ballooned 24 times to HK$240 million (US$31 million) from Thursday, according to Refinitiv data.

    Many pointed to the speculative nature of the surge on Friday. “In-vitro studies data is usually the weakest among preclinical data,” wrote Huang Jianping, general manager at asset management firm Shanghai Leader Capital, in a post published on online stocks forum Xueqiu.

    Normally, pharmaceutical companies have to go through three phases of clinical trials on humans to establish the efficacy of the drugs, on top of evidence from animal experiments, he said. “If a Nasdaq-listed company said their drug was found to inhibit the virus in in-vitro studies, the company would be despised by the market.”

    China relied heavily on traditional medicine to combat the virus earlier this year. Despite the government’s efforts to promote the use of such herbal remedies abroad, experts have warned that there is not enough evidence from clinical trials to establish their effectiveness.

    And this is not the first time Zhong’s comments have contributed to a drug maker’s fortunes. Two Shenzhen-listed TCM companies, Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical and Tianjin Chase Sun Pharmaceutical,

    reaped huge profits

    this year, after their drugs were included in the national standard therapy for Covid-19 patients and were recommended by Zhong.

    Shares of Shijiazhuang Yiling have risen 94 per cent since a March low, while those of Tianjin Chase Sun have climbed nearly 50 per cent since mid-March.

    Unlike the two firms, Guangzhou Baiyunshan’s products have not been officially endorsed, and the company reported lower profits for first half of the year. Net profit fell 31 per cent to 1.8 billion yuan (US$269 million) from the same period in 2019.

    Source: South China Morning Post

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  • Tea, apples and cocoa can help lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease, study suggests Sunday October 25th, 2020

    Compounds known as flavanols found in tea can help the heart, the study suggests

    Consuming plenty of tea, apples and cocoa could be as effective as the Mediterranean diet in reducing blood pressure and protecting against heart disease, a study suggests.

    Researchers took urine samples to monitor study participants’ intake of a class of compounds known as flavanols. In a typical British diet, the main source appears to be tea, followed by apples. Cocoa and berries also contain the compounds.

    The 10 per cent of people who consumed the most flavanols tended to have blood pressure that was between 2 and 4 millimetres of mercury lower than the 10 ten per cent who ate the least, reported The Times.

    Crucially, unlike most investigations into links between nutrition and health, it did not rely on the participants, some 25,000 people in Norfolk, reporting what they ate and drank.

    Healthy lifestyle

    Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Reading, who led the study, said: “This is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health. What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols — found in tea and some fruits — and blood pressure.

    “This research confirms the results from previous dietary intervention studies and shows that the same results can be achieved with a habitual diet rich in flavanols.”

    Red wine and chocolate can also contain flavanols, but Professor Kuhnle said any health benefit was probably offset by the alcohol, fat and sugar they also contain.

    Ada Garcia, a senior lecturer in public health nutrition at Glasgow University, said the research, published in Scientific Reports, was “a great step forward to a better understanding of the interplay between diet and disease”.

    Source: i

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  • Forensic scientists are racing to save the pangolin from extinction Saturday October 10th, 2020

    Pangolin scales are a prized ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine – and that has put the animal firmly on the endangered list. Isoscape tracking could help stop their slaughter at the source

    Before researchers suggested pangolins may be a missing link in the transmission of coronavirus from bats to humans, most people had never even heard of them. Yet these scaly, ant-eating mammals are smuggled in huge numbers to Asia and are in danger of extinction.

    There are eight species of pangolin, split evenly between Africa and Asia, and each one of them is barred from international trade. So identifying confiscated scales and body parts as “pangolin” can be enough to prosecute a criminal case. But discerning different species and tracing their geographic origins is more tricky. This is where wildlife forensics comes in, a rapidly developing field that uses scientific procedures to investigate crimes against wildlife. To help crack down on intricate trafficking routes and poaching hotspots, scientists and laboratory technicians are figuring out ways to analyse the DNA and dietary history of seized animals and their products.

    Most consumers come from mainland China and Vietnam, where pangolin meat is a prized delicacy and keratin scales are a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, touted as a cure for anything from asthma to cancer, and as an aid to help mothers with lactation. Pangolins have recently been in the spotlight for their potential role in the Covid-19 pandemic. Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes the novel disease, is suspected to have originated in horseshoe bats and possibly leaped to humans via pangolins.

    Because the four Asian species have been hunted to near extinction, criminal networks are extending to Africa. In 2019 alone, authorities seized 81 tonnes of pangolins scales, with more than half of shipments coming from Nigeria. Traffickers frequently change their routes, however, which makes tracing a shipment’s origins extremely difficult, according to a report by the wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC.

    Forensic techniques, such as DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating, as well as sniffer dogs, are already being used to tackle the illicit trade in timber, rhino horn and elephant ivory. The analysis of DNA can also help identify a pangolin species from confiscated scales. “Seizing tonnes of pangolin scales that arrive in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur is great, but you can only really prosecute people on the ground, and you don’t know where these scales are coming from,” says Rob Ogden, programme director at TRACE, an NGO that brings together forensic scientists and law enforcement agencies around the world. For instance, the distribution of the ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) stretches from Southern Africa through East Africa and as far as Sudan and Chad.

    To tackle this problem, researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) are developing new ways to determine the origins of birds, turtles – and most recently, pangolins – based on what they ate. Different food sources have different ratios of stable isotopes, or atoms of the same element (e.g. oxygen, carbon and nitrogen) with slightly different weights, that are stored in animal tissue. Water and soil also vary in their isotope ratios according to geography, which allows scientists to create an “isoscape” for specific regions or locations that can be matched with that found in pangolin scales.

    Caroline Dingle, an evolutionary ecologist in HKU’s conservation forensics lab, explains that stable isotope analysis could be used to study whether animals are predominantly poached in a single country and shipped directly to Hong Kong, or whether they are hunted across the African continent and consolidated in a transit hub like Nigeria. “That information can be used to help understand where you need to send enforcement,” she says.

    There is one major drawback, though. The isoscapes will vary across the range of a pangolin species, but unless forensic scientists have access to a database showing how they change between, say, South Africa and Sudan, it will be difficult to pin down where an individual animal was caught.

    Fortunately, ecologists have started compiling these isoscapes on the ground by collecting large numbers of water, soil and plant samples. It’s a seemingly herculean task for the immense areas of land on the African continent. “There’s a huge amount of work to do to create an isoscape for any species found across such wide ranges as pangolins,” says Ogden.

    Source: Wired

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