Traditional Chinese MedicineTraditional Chinese medicine is a true fount of wisdom and effective remedies for many common health conditions and ailments. Thus, recently it was found out that a flowering Tibetan evergreen shrub, which has been widely used in Traditional Chinese and Indian folk medicines for treating such bacterial diseases as malaria and others, can also be used to combat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and even slow down the processes related to aging. Positive effects can be achieved at the expense of an interesting property of this natural remedy: it can make cells ‘think’ that they are starving.

A herbal remedy known as Dichroa febrifuga became a point of interest of a group of scientists at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston, led by Dr. Tracy Keller. They looked close at chemical content of the plant and found out that halofuginone, one of the elements which can be found in the roots of Dichroa febrifuga, has a unique property to block certain immune reactions which can cause serious diseases like multiple sclerosis.  multiple sclerosisScientists found out that by blocking some enzymes, halofuginone can mimic a lack of important amino acids and make cells stop producing a type of proteins which our body considers not important.

Keller’s specialists found out that such a response on physical lack of amino acids causes a chain of additional chemical reactions in our body (sometimes referred to as an AAR chemical reaction chain), and this sequence eventually leads to stopping our body producing certain proteins that can cause inflammation and create a perfect environment for the growth of malaria parasites, as well as terminate the development of some certain blood cells that can cause the diseases like multiple sclerosis or irritable bowel syndrome.

This discovery can be a milestone point on the way to finding a new treatment for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. In addition to the mentioned properties of halofuginone, the experiments with lab rats have shown that this chemical can prologue the lifespan as it wards off numerous inflammatory diseases. According to Keller, this way halofuginone can be used as an anti-aging medication. Those who want to learn more about the findings of this study and possible ways to use this natural remedy of Traditional Chinese medicine for treating multiple sclerosis and related conditions, could find the report about it in one of the latest issues of the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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