GreenMedInfo.com Hall of Fame

 

Glycyrrhizin, an active component of licorice roots, protects mice exposed to a lethal amount of influenza virus. 

Abstract Title:

Glycyrrhizin, an active component of licorice roots, reduces morbidity and mortality of mice infected with lethal doses of influenza virus.

Abstract Source:

1: Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1997 Mar;41(3):551-6. PMID: 9055991

Abstract:

The antiviral effect of glycyrrhizin (GR), an active component of licorice roots, was investigated in mice infected with influenza virus A2 (H2N2). When mice that had been exposed to 10 50% lethal doses of the virus were treated intraperitoneally with 10 mg of GR per kg of body weight 1 day before infection and 1 and 4 days postinfection, all of the mice survived over the 21-day experimental period. At the end of this period, the mean survival time (in days) for control mice treated with saline was 10.5 days, and there were no survivors. The grade of pulmonary consolidations and the virus titers in the lung tissues of infected mice treated with GR were significantly lower than those in the lung tissues of infected mice treated with saline. GR did not show any effects on the viability or replication of influenza virus A2 in vitro. When splenic T cells from GR-treated mice were adoptively transferred to mice exposed to influenza virus, 100% of the recipients survived, compared to 0% survival for recipient mice inoculated with naive T cells or splenic B cells and macrophages from GR-treated mice. In addition, the antiviral activities of GR on influenza virus infection in mice were not demonstrated when it was administered to infected mice in combination with anti-gamma interferon (anti-IFN-gamma) monoclonal antibody. These results suggest that GR may protect mice exposed to a lethal amount of influenza virus through the stimulation of IFN-gamma production by T cells, because T cells have been shown to be producer cells of IFN-gamma stimulated with the compound.

Study Type : Animal Study

Additional Links:

Substances : Licorice
Diseases : Influenza A
Pharmacological Actions : Antiviral Agents
Additional Keywords : Influenza virus A2 (H2N2)
 

Pomegranate reduces the intima media thickness size of the artery, while also reducing blood pressure and LDL oxidation.  

Abstract Title:

Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation.

Abstract Source:

1: Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33. PMID: 15158307

 
Abstract:

Dietary supplementation with polyphenolic antioxidants to animals was shown to be associated with inhibition of LDL oxidation and macrophage foam cell formation, and attenuation of atherosclerosis development. We investigated the effects of pomegranate juice (PJ, which contains potent tannins and anthocyanins) consumption by atherosclerotic patients with carotid artery stenosis (CAS) on the progression of carotid lesions and changes in oxidative stress and blood pressure. Ten patients were supplemented with PJ for 1 year and five of them continued for up to 3 years. Blood samples were collected before treatment and during PJ consumption. In the control group that did not consume PJ, common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) increased by 9% during 1 year, whereas, PJ consumption resulted in a significant IMT reduction, by up to 30%, after 1 year. The patients' serum paraoxonase 1 (PON 1) activity was increased by 83%, whereas serum LDL basal oxidative state and LDL susceptibility to copper ion-induced oxidation were both significantly reduced, by 90% and 59%, respectively, after 12 months of PJ consumption, compared to values obtained before PJ consumption. Furthermore, serum levels of antibodies against oxidized LDL were decreased by 19%, and in parallel serum total antioxidant status (TAS) was increased by 130% after 1 year of PJ consumption. Systolic blood pressure was reduced after 1 year of PJ consumption by 12% [corrected] and was not further reduced along 3 years of PJ consumption. For all studied parameters, the maximal effects were observed after 1 year of PJ consumption. Further consumption of PJ, for up to 3 years, had no additional beneficial effects on IMT and serum PON1 activity, whereas serum lipid peroxidation was further reduced by up to 16% after 3 years of PJ consumption. The results of the present study thus suggest that PJ consumption by patients with CAS decreases carotid IMT and systolic blood pressure and these effects could be related to the potent antioxidant characteristics of PJ polyphenols.

 
Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Pomegranate
 

Ginger has a gastroprotective effect through its acid blocking and anti-Helico bacter pylori activity. 

Abstract Title:

Gastroprotective Effect of Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale) Extract: Role of Gallic Acid and Cinnamic Acid in H+, K+-ATPase/H. pylori Inhibition and Anti-oxidative Mechanism.

Abstract Source:

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Jul 1. PMID:19570992

Abstract Author(s):

Annaiah HN, M Dharmesh S, Nanjundaiah SM

Abstract:

Zinger officinale has been used as a traditional source against gastric disturbances from time immemorial. The ulcer-preventive properties of aqueous extract of ginger rhizome (GRAE) belonging to the family Zingiberceae is reported in the present study. GRAE at 200 mg kg(-1) b.w. protected up to 86% and 77% for the swim stress-/ethanol stress-induced ulcers with an ulcer index (UI) of 50 +/- 4.0/46 +/- 4.0 respectively, similar to that of lansoprazole (80%) at 30 mg kg(-1) b.w. Increased H(+), K(+)-ATPase activity and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were observed in ulcer-induced rats, while GRAE fed rats showed normalized levels and GRAE also normalized depleted/amplified anti-oxidant enzymes in swim stress and ethanol stress-induced animals. Gastric mucin damage was recovered up to 77% and 74% in swim stress and ethanol stress, respectively after GRAE treatment. GRAE also inhibited the growth of H. pylori with MIC of 300 +/- 38 mug and also possessed reducing power, free radical scavenging ability with an IC(50) of 6.8 +/- 0.4 mug ml(-1) gallic acid equivalent (GAE). DNA protection up to 90% at 0.4 microg was also observed. Toxicity studies indicated no lethal effects in rats fed up to 5 g kg(-1) b.w. Compositional analysis favored by determination of the efficacy of individual phenolic acids towards their potential ulcer-preventive ability revealed that between cinnamic (50%) and gallic (46%) phenolic acids, cinnamic acid appear to contribute to better H(+), K(+)-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori inhibitory activity, while gallic acid contributes significantly to anti-oxidant activity.

 
 
Study Type : Animal Study

Genistein is superior to the bone drugs alendronate, raloxifene and estradiol in osteoporotic, ovariectomized rats.  

Abstract Title:

Effects of genistein aglycone in osteoporotic, ovariectomized rats: a comparison with alendronate, raloxifene and oestradiol.

Abstract Source:

1: Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Aug 11. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 16502262

Abstract:

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Genistein aglycone positively affects bone loss in postmenopausal women, but bone quality data are still lacking. To clarify this, we investigated the effects of genistein compared with alendronate, raloxifene and oestradiol in an animal model of established osteoporosis. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Six months after ovariectomy, 96 ovariectomized (OVX) rats were divided into 8 equal groups, randomized to treatments (genistein aglycone (1 and 10 mg kg(-1) s.c.); alendronate (0.003 and 0.03 mg kg(-1) s.c.); raloxifene hydrochloride (0.05 and 0.5 mg kg(-1) s.c.); 17-alpha-ethinyl oestradiol (0.003 and 0.03 mg kg(-1) s.c.)) for 12 weeks. Untreated OVX (n=12) and sham OVX (n=12) were used as controls. At the beginning and end of treatment, bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) were assessed. At the end of the experiment, calcium, phosphorus, bone-alkaline phosphatase (b-ALP), collagen C-telopeptide (CTX), osteoprotegerin (OPG) and soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (sRANKL) were assayed. Femurs were removed and tested for breaking strength and histology. KEY RESULTS: Genistein (10 mg kg(-1)) showed a greater increase in both BMD (P<0.0001 vs OVX) and BMC than all the other treatments. Moreover, genistein significantly increased breaking strength, bone quality, b-ALP (P<0.0001 vs OVX) and OPG, and reduced CTX and sRANKL compared with the other treatments at all dose levels. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The results strongly suggest that the genistein aglycone might be a new therapy for the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis in humans.

Study Type : Animal Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Genistein
Diseases : Osteoporosis
 

Ginkgo biloba is as effective as the drug donepezil (Aricept) in improving symptoms of Alzheimers, but with less side effects.  

Abstract Title:

Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761(R), donepezil or both combined in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease with neuropsychiatric features: a randomised, double-blind, exploratory trial.

Abstract Source:
Aging Ment Health. 2009 Mar;13(2):183-90. PMID: 19347685
Abstract Author(s):

Hoerr R, Ihl R, Nikolova G, Panayotov P, Schlaefke S, Yancheva S

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: This randomised, double-blind exploratory trial was undertaken to compare treatment effects and tolerability of EGb 761(R), donepezil and combined treatment in patients with AD and neuropsychiatric features. METHOD: We enrolled 96 outpatients, aged 50 years or above, who met the NINCDS/ADRDA criteria for probable AD, scored below 36 on the TE4D, a screening test for dementia, below 6 on the Clock-Drawing Test (CDT) and between 9 and 23 on the SKT, a cross-culturally validated cognitive test battery. They scored at least five on the 12-item Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). EGb 761(R) (240 mg per day), donepezil (initially 5 mg, after 4 weeks 10 mg per day) or EGb 761(R) and donepezil combined (same doses) were administered for 22 weeks. RESULTS: Changes from baseline to week 22 and response rates were similar for all three treatment groups with respect to all outcome measures (SKT, NPI, total score and activities-of-daily-living sub-score of the Gottfries-Bråne-Steen Scale, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, CDT and Verbal Fluency Test). An apparent tendency in favour of combination treatment warrants further scrutiny. Compared to donepezil mono-therapy, the adverse event rate was lower under EGb 761(R) treatment and even under the combination treatment. CONCLUSION: These exploratory findings helped to develop three hypotheses that will have to be proven in further studies: (1) there is no significant difference in the efficiency between EGb 761(R) and donepezil, (2) a combination therapy will be superior to a mono-therapy with one of both substances and (3) there will be less side effects under a combination therapy than under mono-therapy with donepezil.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Ginkgo biloba
 

Pycnogenol reduces smoking-induced platelet aggregation as effectively as aspirin, without increasing bleeding time. 

Abstract Title:

Inhibition of smoking-induced platelet aggregation by aspirin and pycnogenol.

Abstract Source:

1: Thromb Res. 1999 Aug 15;95(4):155-61. PMID: 10498385

Abstract:

The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not. These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Pine Bark Extract

 

Propolis is superior to the drug acyclovir in the treatment of genital herpes. 

Abstract Title:

A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV).

Abstract Source:
1: Phytomedicine. 2000 Mar;7(1):1-6. PMID: 10782483
Abstract:

Ninety men and women with recurrent genital HSV type 2 participated in a randomized, single-blind, masked investigator, controlled multi-centre study comparing the efficacy of ointment of Canadian propolis containing natural flavonoids with ointments of acyclovir and placebo (vehicle) on healing ability and capacity to remedy symptoms. Thirty individuals were randomized to each group. Treatment was intended to start in the blister phase. All participants had HSV type 2 isolated, confirmed by serum immunoglobulin levels. The participants were examined on the 3rd, 7th and 10th days of treatment by gynaecologists, dermatovenerologists or urologists at seven different medical centres. Apart from clinical symptoms the number and size of the herpetic lesions were noted. At each examination the lesions were classified into four stages: vesicular, ulcerated, crusted and healed. The study ointments were applied to affected areas four times daily. In women with vaginal or cervical lesions a tampon with the appropriate ointment was inserted four times daily for 10 days. Endpoint variables were healing time and time until loss of symptoms. RESULTS: On Day 10, 24 out of 30 individuals in the propolis group had healed. In the acyclovir group 14 out of 30 and in the placebo group 12 out of 30 had healed. (p = 0.0015). The healing process appeared to be faster in the propolis group. In the propolis group 15 individuals had crusted lesions on Day 3 compared to 8 individuals in the acyclovir group and none in the placebo group (p = 0.0006). On Day 7, 10 participants in the propolis group, 4 in the acyclovir group and 3 in the placebo group had healed. At the initial examination all patients had local symptoms and 28% general symptoms. At Day 3, 3 patients in the propolis group had local symptoms compared to 8 and 9 in the acyclovir and placebo groups respectively. Of the women, 66% had vaginal superinfections of microbial pathogens at the initial examination. In the acyclovir and placebo groups no change in the vaginal flora was found following treatment whereas in the propolis group the incidence of superinfection was reduced by 55%. (p = 0.10 n.s.). CONCLUSION: An ointment containing flavonoids appeared to be more effective than both acyclovir and placebo ointments in healing genital herpetic lesions, and in reducing local symptoms.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Bee Propolis
Diseases : Herpes Genitalis
Pharmacological Actions : Antiviral Agents
 

Red yeast rice is a well-tolerated and effective alternative to statin therapy for patients with blood lipid disorders. 

Abstract Title:

Red yeast rice for dyslipidemia in statin-intolerant patients: a randomized trial.

Abstract Source:

1: Ann Intern Med. 2009 Jun 16;150(12):830-9, W147-9. PMID: 19528562

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Red yeast rice is an herbal supplement that decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of red yeast rice and therapeutic lifestyle change to treat dyslipidemia in patients who cannot tolerate statin therapy. DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Community-based cardiology practice. PATIENTS: 62 patients with dyslipidemia and history of discontinuation of statin therapy due to myalgias. INTERVENTION: Patients were assigned by random allocation software to receive red yeast rice, 1800 mg (31 patients), or placebo (31 patients) twice daily for 24 weeks. All patients were concomitantly enrolled in a 12-week therapeutic lifestyle change program. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was LDL cholesterol level, measured at baseline, week 12, and week 24. Secondary outcomes included total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzyme, and creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) levels; weight; and Brief Pain Inventory score. RESULTS: In the red yeast rice group, LDL cholesterol decreased by 1.11 mmol/L (43 mg/dL) from baseline at week 12 and by 0.90 mmol/L (35 mg/dL) at week 24. In the placebo group, LDL cholesterol decreased by 0.28 mmol/L (11 mg/dL) at week 12 and by 0.39 mmol/L (15 mg/dL) at week 24. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was significantly lower in the red yeast rice group than in the placebo group at both weeks 12 (P < 0.001) and 24 (P = 0.011). Significant treatment effects were also observed for total cholesterol level at weeks 12 (P < 0.001) and 24 (P = 0.016). Levels of HDL cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzyme, or CPK; weight loss; and pain severity scores did not significantly differ between groups at either week 12 or week 24. LIMITATION: The study was small, was single-site, was of short duration, and focused on laboratory measures. CONCLUSION: Red yeast rice and therapeutic lifestyle change decrease LDL cholesterol level without increasing CPK or pain levels and may be a treatment option for dyslipidemic patients who cannot tolerate statin therapy.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Red Yeast Rice
 

Crocus sativus L. (saffron) was shown to be as effective as fluoxetine in the treatment of depression. 
 

Abstract Title:

Comparison of petal of Crocus sativus L. and fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients: a pilot double-blind randomized trial.

 

Abstract Source:

1: Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar 30;31(2):439-42. Epub 2006 Dec 15. PMID: 17174460

Abstract:

Depression is one of the most common neuropsychiatric conditions, with a lifetime prevalence approaching 17%. Although a variety of pharmaceutical agents is available for the treatment of depression, psychiatrists find that many patients cannot tolerate the side effects, do not respond adequately, or finally lose their response. On the other hand, many herbs with psychotropic effects have far fewer side effects. They can provide an alternative treatment or be used to enhance the effect of conventional antidepressants. A number of recent preclinical and clinical studies indicate that stigma and petal of Crocus sativus have antidepressant effect. Our objective was to compare the efficacy of petal of C. sativus with fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients in an 8-week pilot double-blind randomized trial. Forty adult outpatients who met the DSM- IV criteria for major depression based on the structured clinical interview for DSM- IV participated in the trial. Patients have a baseline Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score of at least 18. In this double-blind and randomized trial, patients were randomly assigned to receive capsule of petal of C. sativus 15 mg bid (morning and evening) (Group 1) and fluoxetine 10 mg bid (morning and evening) (Group 2) for a 8-week study. At the end of trial, petal of C. sativus was found to be effective similar to fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (F=0.03, d.f.=1, P=0.84). In addition, in the both treatments, the remission rate was 25%. There were no significant differences in the two groups in terms of observed side effects. The present study is supportive of other studies which show antidepressant effect of C. sativus.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Saffron
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs
 

Curcumin inhibit the growth of hormone-independent and multi-drug resistant breast cancer cells. 

Abstract Title:

Curcumin as a possible lead compound against hormone-independent, multidrug-resistant breast cancer.

Abstract Source:

 1: Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Feb;1155:278-83. PMID:19250217

Abstract:

We examine the possible evidence that the phytochemical curcumin may overcome resistance to hormonal and cytotoxic agents in breast cancer. We present our observations on MCF-7R, a multidrug-resistant (MDR) variant of the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. In contrast to MCF-7, MCF-7R lacks aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and overexpresses the multidrug transporter ABCB1 and the products of different genes implicated in cell proliferation and survival, like c-IAP-1, NAIP, survivin, and COX-2. Nevertheless, in cytotoxicity and cell death induction assays, we found that the antitumor activity of curcumin is substantial both in MCF-7 and in MCF-7R. We elaborated the diketone system of curcumin into different analogues; the benzyloxime and the isoxazole and pyrazole heterocycles showed remarkable increases in the antitumor potency both in the parental and in the MDR MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, curcumin or, more potently, the isoxazole analogue, produced early reductions in the amounts of relevant gene transcripts that were diverse (i.e., they were relative to Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) in MCF-7 and the inhibitory of apoptosis proteins and COX-2 in MCF-7R) in the two cell lines. Thus, the two compounds exhibited the remarkable property of being able to modify their molecular activities according to the distinct characteristics of the parental and MDR cells. We discuss also how curcumin may (1) exert antitumor effects in breast cancer through ER-dependent and ER-independent mechanisms; and (2) act as a drug transporter-mediated MDR reversal agent. Overall, the structure of curcumin may represent the basis for the development of new, effective anticancer agents in hormone-independent MDR breast cancer.

 
Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Curcumin
 

Melatonin is superior to methylprednisolone in experimental spinal cord injury. 

Abstract Title:

Comparison of the effects of melatonin and methylprednisolone in experimental spinal cord injury.

Abstract Source:

J Neurosurg. 2000 Jul ;93(1 Suppl):77-84. PMID: 10879762

Article Affiliation:

Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara Numune Hospital, Turkey.

Abstract:

OBJECT: Melatonin is a very effective antioxidant agent. This study was performed to investigate the effects of melatonin in experimental spinal cord injury (SCI). The authors also compared its effects with those of methylprednisolone, which also protects the spinal cord from secondary injury because of its antioxidant effect on membrane lipids. METHODS: Adult male albino rats were used for the study, and paraplegia was produced using a previously described weight-drop technique. Melatonin and methylprednisolone were given intraperitoneally by bolus injections of 100 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg, respectively, immediately after induction of trauma. The animals were killed, and 1-cm samples of injured spinal cord were obtained at 1, 24, and 48 hours postinjury. Lipid peroxidation was estimated by thiobarbituric acid test. Electron microscopic studies were performed to determine the effects of melatonin on neurons, axons, and subcellular organelles after experimental SCI. A grading system was used for quantitative evaluation. Following SCI, there was significant increase in lipid peroxidation. In melatonin- and methylprednisolone-treated groups, lipid peroxidation was found to decrease to the baseline (preinjury) levels. There was a significant difference between trauma-alone and treatment groups, but no statistical difference was found between the melatonin- and methylprednisolone-treated groups. Electron microscopic findings showed that SCI produced by the weight-drop technique resulted in profound tissue damage. CONCLUSIONS: Both melatonin and methylprednisolone have been shown to protect neuron, axon, myelin, and intracellular organelles including mitochondrion and nucleus. However, this study provides quantitative evidence that this protection of neurons and subcellular organelles of spinal cord after secondary injury is much more obvious in melatonin-treated rats than those treated with methylprednisolone. In view of these data, melatonin has been shown to be very effective in protecting the injured spinal cord from secondary injury.

Study Type : Animal Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Melatonin
Pharmacological Actions : Antioxidants, Neuroprotective Agents
 

Licorice extract inhibits replication of the SARS-associated virus. 

Abstract Title:

Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, and replication of SARS-associated coronavirus.

Abstract Source:

1: Lancet. 2003 Jun 14;361(9374):2045-6. . PMID: 12814717

Abstract:

The outbreak of SARS warrants the search for antiviral compounds to treat the disease. At present, no specific treatment has been identified for SARS-associated coronavirus infection. We assessed the antiviral potential of ribavirin, 6-azauridine, pyrazofurin, mycophenolic acid, and glycyrrhizin against two clinical isolates of coronavirus (FFM-1 and FFM-2) from patients with SARS admitted to the clinical centre of Frankfurt University, Germany. Of all the compounds, glycyrrhizin was the most active in inhibiting replication of the SARS-associated virus. Our findings suggest that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS.

Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Licorice
Diseases : SARS
Pharmacological Actions : Antiviral Agents
 

Dietary flaxseed may reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer. 

 
Abstract Title:

Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer.

Abstract Source:

1: Clin Cancer Res. 2005 May 15;11(10):3828-35.PMID: 15897583 

Abstract:

PURPOSE: Flaxseed, the richest source of mammalian lignan precursors, has previously been shown to reduce the growth of tumors in rats. This study examined, in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, the effects of dietary flaxseed on tumor biological markers and urinary lignan excretion in postmenopausal patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients were randomized to daily intake of either a 25 g flaxseed-containing muffin (n = 19) or a control (placebo) muffin (n = 13). At the time of diagnosis and again at definitive surgery, tumor tissue was analyzed for the rate of tumor cell proliferation (Ki-67 labeling index, primary end point), apoptosis, c-erbB2 expression, and estrogen and progesterone receptor levels. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were analyzed for lignans, and 3-day diet records were evaluated for macronutrient and caloric intake. Mean treatment times were 39 and 32 days in the placebo and flaxseed groups, respectively. RESULTS: Reductions in Ki-67 labeling index (34.2%; P = 0.001) and in c-erbB2 expression (71.0%; P = 0.003) and an increase in apoptosis (30.7%; P = 0.007) were observed in the flaxseed, but not in the placebo group. No significant differences in caloric and macronutrient intake were seen between groups and between pre- and posttreatment periods. A significant increase in mean urinary lignan excretion was observed in the flaxseed group (1,300%; P < 0.01) compared with placebo controls. The total intake of flaxseed was correlated with changes in c-erbB2 score (r = -0.373; P = 0.036) and apoptotic index (r = 0.495; P < 0.004). CONCLUSION: Dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer.

 
Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Flaxseed
Diseases : Breast Cancer
 
 

Procyanidin B-2 may provide an effective treatment for male pattern baldness  

Abstract Title:

The first clinical trial of topical application of procyanidin B-2 to investigate its potential as a hair growing agent.

 

Abstract Source:

1: Phytother Res. 2001 Jun;15(4):331-6. PMID: 11406858

Abstract:

Procyanidin B-2 is a compound we have identified in apple which acts as a growth-promoting factor on murine hair epithelial cells. This report describes our investigation of the hair-growing effects of 1% procyanidin B-2 tonic after sequential use for 4 months. A double-blind clinical trial was performed, involving a total of 29 subjects (procyanidin B-2, 19 men; placebo, 10 men). No adverse side effects were observed in either group. In the procyanidin B-2 group, 78.9% showed an increased mean value of hair diameter, whereas only 30.0% in the placebo group showed any increase (p < 0.02, Fisher's exact probability test). The increased ratio of hairs measuring more than 40 microm in diameter after 4 months of procyanidin B-2 treatment was significantly higher than that of the placebo controls (p < 0.05, two-sample-t-test). The increase in number of total hairs in the designated scalp area (0.25 cm(2)) of procyanidin B-2 subjects after a 4 month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo controls (procyanidin-B-2, 3.67 +/- 4.09 (mean +/- SD)/0.25 cm(2); placebo, -2.54 +/- 4.00/0.25 cm(2); p < 0.001, two-sample t-test). Procyanidin B-2 therapy shows potential as a promising cure for male pattern baldness. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Apples
 

Graviola (Annona muricata) contains compounds with cytotoxic effects against tumor cell lines, including colon cancer cells in which it was 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin.

Five novel mono-tetrahydrofuran ring acetogenins from the seeds of Annona muricata.

Abstract Source:

 J Nat Prod. 1996 Feb;59(2):100-8. PMID: 8991944

Abstract Author(s):

Fang XP, Gu ZM, McLaughlin JL, Rieser MJ, Wood KV, Zeng L

Abstract:

Bioactivity-directed fractionation of the seeds of Annona muricata L. (Annonaceae) resulted in the isolation of five new compounds: cis-annonacin (1), cis-annonacin-10-one (2), cis-goniothalamicin (3), arianacin (4), and javoricin (5). Three of these (1-3) are among the first cis mono-tetrahydrofuran ring acetogenins to be reported. NMR analyses of published model synthetic compounds, prepared cyclized formal acetals, and prepared Mosher ester derivatives permitted the determinations of absolute stereochemistries. Bioassays of the pure compounds, in the brine shrimp test, for the inhibition of crown gall tumors, and in a panel of human solid tumor cell lines for cytotoxicity, evaluated relative potencies. Compound 1 was selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells (HT-29) in which it was 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin.

Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Graviola
Diseases : Colon Cancer
 

Garlic may provide an ideal alternative to acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) in arteriosclerosis prevention. 

Abstract Title:

Effect of garlic on thrombocyte aggregation, microcirculation, and other risk factors.

Abstract Source:

1: Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1991 Apr;29(4):151-5. PMID: 2071264

Abstract:

Significant positive effects could be achieved in a placebo-controlled double-blind study through the administration of 800 mg of garlic powder over a period of four weeks. Spontaneous thrombocyte aggregation disappeared, the microcirculation of the skin increased by 47.6% (from 0.63 +/- 0.13 to 0.93 +/- 0.22 mm/s), plasma viscosity decreased by 3.2% (from 1.25 +/- 0.34 to 1.21 +/- 0.43 mPas), diastolic blood pressure by 9.5% (from 74 +/- 9 to 67 +/- 5 mmHg), and blood glucose concentration by 11.6% (from 89.4 +/- 8.8 to 79.0 +/- 11.9 mg/dl). The vascular protection of garlic as atherosclerosis prevention by influencing the mentioned risk parameters for cardiovascular diseases must be pointed out. Especially interesting is the thrombocyte aggregation inhibiting effect. Thus, the application of garlic may be useful in case of acetylsalicyclic acid intolerance.

Additional Links:
Substances : Garlic
Diseases : Arteriosclerosis
Pharmacological Actions : Anti-Platelet, Cardioprotective
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs
 

Noni fruit puree is comparable in analgesic and aninflammatory activity to tramadol and hydrocortisone, respectively. 

Abstract Title:

Analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni) fruit.

Abstract Source:

1: Phytother Res. 2009 Jun 22. PMID: 19548275

Abstract:

M. citrifolia is a tropical plant with a long tradition of medicinal use in Polynesia and tropical parts of eastern Asia and Australia. One of its favorite uses is the treatment of painful inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. The analgesic activity of Noni fruit puree on mice was investigated using the hot plate test. A 10% solution of freeze concentrated Noni fruit puree in the drinking water of mice reduced the pain sensitivity comparably to the central analgesic drug tramadol. This effect was only partly reversed by the application of the morphine antagonist naloxone. An alcohol extract of noni fruit puree also caused an inhibition of MMP-9 release from human monocytes after stimulation with LPS. This effect was comparable to hydrocortisone (10(-5) m). The findings suggest that preparations of noni fruits are effective in decreasing pain and joint destruction caused by arthritis. Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Study Type : Animal Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Noni
Diseases : Arthritis
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs
 

Pumpkin seed oil reduces the symptoms of arthritis as effectively as indomethacin, without causing liver damage. 

Abstract Title:

Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats.

Abstract Source:

1: Pharmacol Res. 1995 Jan;31(1):73-9. PMID: 7784309

Abstract:

Pumpkin-seed oil (PSO), a natural supplement rich with antioxidant ingredients, was given to rats in which arthritis was induced using Freund's complete adjuvant. Its effect was compared with that of indomethacin, as a classical anti-inflammatory agent. Two experimental patterns were studied, an acute phase that was applied only with PSO and a chronic phase applied for both PSO and indomethacin. Compared to normal untreated rats, it was shown that the induction of arthritis caused a decrease in serum sulphhydryl groups, with an increase in serum ceruloplasmin in both phases. Blood glutathione was first elevated in the acute phase, then its level was reduced in the chronic phase. Serum N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase activity was elevated only at the acute phase, while plasma total proteins and albumin were reduced at the chronic phase. Liver glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity was markedly increased, while no changes were observed in the levels of liver lipid peroxides and glutathione. These changes in the studied parameters were attributed to the superoxides and free radicals during arthritic inflammation. Administration of PSO succeeded in modulating most of the altered parameters affected during arthritis, especially at the chronic phase. Also, a remarkable inhibition of paw oedema was observed. A similar pattern was obtained upon treatment with indomethacin except that indomethacin markedly elevated liver lipid peroxides levels. Concurrent administration of PSO with indomethacin caused no changes in the parameters studied compared to that induced by treatment with indomethacin alone.

Study Type : Animal Study
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Diseases : Arthritis
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs
 

A diet high in plant sterols, vegetable proteins and viscous fibers is as effective as the statin drug Mevacor in managing hypercholesterolemia. 

Abstract Title:

A dietary portfolio approach to cholesterol reduction: combined effects of plant sterols, vegetable proteins, and viscous fibers in hypercholesterolemia.

Abstract Source:

Metabolism. 2002 Dec ;51(12):1596-604. PMID: 12489074

Abstract Author(s):

Augustine Marchie, Cyril W C Kendall, David J A Jenkins, Dorothea Faulkner, Edward Vidgen, Karen G Lapsley, Philip W Connelly, Tina L Parker

Abstract:

Plant sterols, soy proteins, and viscous fibers are advised for cholesterol reduction but their combined effect has never been tested. We therefore assessed their combined effect on blood lipids in hyperlipidemic subjects who were already consuming a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet before starting the study. The test (combination) diet was 1 month in duration and was very low in saturated fat and high in plant sterols (1 g/1,000 kcal), soy protein (23 g/1,000 kcal), and viscous fibers (9 g/1,000 kcal) obtained from foods available in supermarkets and health food stores. One subject also completed 2 further diet periods: a low-fat control diet and a control diet plus 20 mg/d lovastatin. Fasting blood lipids, blood pressure, and body weight were measured prior to and at weekly intervals during the study. The combination diet was rated as acceptable and very filling. The diet reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol by 29.0% +/- 2.7% (P<.001) and the ratio of LDL-cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol by 26.5% +/- 3.4% (P<.001). Near maximal reductions were seen by week 2. In the subject who took Mevacor and control diets each for 4 weeks, the reduction in LDL:HDL-cholesterol on Mevacor was similar to the combination diet. We conclude that acceptable diets of foods from supermarkets and health food stores that contain recognized cholesterol-lowering dietary components in combination (a dietary portfolio) may be as effective as the starting dose of older first-line drugs in managing hypercholesterolemia.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Fiber, Vegetables: All
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs

 

Policosanol is at least as effective as various statin drugs in decreasing the progression and increasing regression of cardiovascular disease.  

Abstract Title:

Policosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?

Abstract Source:

1: Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17.Click here to read . PMID: 12126462

Abstract:

Policosanol is a mixture of alcohols isolated and purified from sugar cane. Recently, Cuban researchers found 5-20 mg daily of policosanol to be effective at improving serum lipid profiles. Policosanol is believed to decrease total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis and increasing LDL processing. Lipid profile improvements are seen in healthy volunteers, patients with type II hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetics with hypercholesterolemia, postmenopausal women with hypercholesterolemia, and patients with combined hypercholesterolemia and abnormal liver function tests. Additionally, policosanol has performed equal to or better than simvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, probucol, or acipimox with fewer side effects in patients with type II hypercholesterolemia. Policosanol also decreases several other risk factors of cardiovascular disease by decreasing LDL oxidation, platelet aggregation, endothelial damage, and smooth muscle cell proliferation. Furthermore, policosanol decreases progression and increases regression of cardiovascular disease assessed by thallium-labeled myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (TL-MPS) and Doppler-ultrasound, and decreases symptoms of cardiovascular disease assessed by the Specific Activity Scale. In post-marketing studies, only 0.31 percent of patients have had adverse events. Furthermore, in animal toxicity studies doses up to 1500 times normal human doses (on the basis of body weight) have shown no negative effects on carcinogenesis, reproduction, growth, and development. However, despite the positive research on policosanol on Cubans, policosanol produced in Cuba is not available in the United States, and only Cuban subjects have been studied. Further research is needed to determine if the same effects will be obtained in U.S. populations with non-Cuban produced policosanol.

 

Cranberry is as effective as the drug trimethoprim in the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in older women, without increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance/super-infection and/or fungal infection. 

Abstract Title:

Cranberry or trimethoprim for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections? A randomized controlled trial in older women.

Abstract Source:

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Feb;63(2):389-95. Epub 2008 Nov 28. PMID: 19042940

Abstract Author(s):

Argo I, Daly F, Davey P, McMurdo ME, Phillips G

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: To compare the effectiveness of cranberry extract with low-dose trimethoprim in the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in older women. PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and thirty-seven women with two or more antibiotic-treated UTIs in the previous 12 months were randomized to receive either 500 mg of cranberry extract or 100 mg of trimethoprim for 6 months. RESULTS: Thirty-nine of 137 participants (28%) had an antibiotic-treated UTI (25 in the cranberry group and 14 in the trimethoprim group); difference in proportions relative risk 1.616 (95% CI: 0.93, 2.79) P = 0.084. The time to first recurrence of UTI was not significantly different between the groups (P = 0.100). The median time to recurrence of UTI was 84.5 days for the cranberry group and 91 days for the trimethoprim group (U = 166, P = 0.479). There were 17/137 (12%) withdrawals from the study, 6/69 (9%) from the cranberry group and 11/68 (16%) from the trimethoprim group (P = 0.205), with a relative risk of withdrawal from the cranberry group of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.19, 1.37). CONCLUSIONS: Trimethoprim had a very limited advantage over cranberry extract in the prevention of recurrent UTIs in older women and had more adverse effects. Our findings will allow older women with recurrent UTIs to weigh up with their clinicians the inherent attractions of a cheap, natural product like cranberry extract whose use does not carry the risk of antimicrobial resistance or super-infection with Clostridium difficile or fungi.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Cranberry
 

Crocus sativus L. (saffron) was shown to be as effective as fluoxetine in the treatment of depression.  

Abstract Title:

Comparison of petal of Crocus sativus L. and fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients: a pilot double-blind randomized trial.

Abstract Source:

1: Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar 30;31(2):439-42. Epub 2006 Dec 15. PMID: 17174460

Abstract:

Depression is one of the most common neuropsychiatric conditions, with a lifetime prevalence approaching 17%. Although a variety of pharmaceutical agents is available for the treatment of depression, psychiatrists find that many patients cannot tolerate the side effects, do not respond adequately, or finally lose their response. On the other hand, many herbs with psychotropic effects have far fewer side effects. They can provide an alternative treatment or be used to enhance the effect of conventional antidepressants. A number of recent preclinical and clinical studies indicate that stigma and petal of Crocus sativus have antidepressant effect. Our objective was to compare the efficacy of petal of C. sativus with fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients in an 8-week pilot double-blind randomized trial. Forty adult outpatients who met the DSM- IV criteria for major depression based on the structured clinical interview for DSM- IV participated in the trial. Patients have a baseline Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score of at least 18. In this double-blind and randomized trial, patients were randomly assigned to receive capsule of petal of C. sativus 15 mg bid (morning and evening) (Group 1) and fluoxetine 10 mg bid (morning and evening) (Group 2) for a 8-week study. At the end of trial, petal of C. sativus was found to be effective similar to fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (F=0.03, d.f.=1, P=0.84). In addition, in the both treatments, the remission rate was 25%. There were no significant differences in the two groups in terms of observed side effects. The present study is supportive of other studies which show antidepressant effect of C. sativus.

Study Type : Human Study
Additional Links:
Substances : Saffron
Additional Keywords : natural substances versus drugs

 

Grapefruit seed extract is comparable to metformin in positively modulating blood lipid profiles and blood sugar. 

Abstract Title:

Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of methanol seed extract of Citrus paradisi Macfad (Rutaceae) in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats.

Abstract Source:

1: Nig Q J Hosp Med. 2008 Oct-Dec;18(4):211-5. PMID: 19391322

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Alcohol decoction of Citrus paradisi Macfad (Rutaceae) seed is reputed for the local management of array of human diseases including, anemia, diabetes mellitus and obesity by some Yoruba herbalists (SouthWest, Nigeria). Despite its historic use, scientific evaluation of its folkloric use in the management of diabetes mellitus is scarce. OBJECTIVES: The present study was designed at investigating the glucose and lipid lowering effects of methanol seed extract of Citrus paradisi Macfad (MECP) in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. In addition, the phytochemical analysis of the extract was also conducted using standard procedures. METHODS: Young adult, male, alloxan-induced diabetic rats were randomly divided into groups I - VI with 12 rats in each group. Group I rats were the normal untreated rats while group II rats served as the diabetic untreated rats while Rats in groups III - VI served as diabetic rats treated with 100, 300 and 600 mg/kg/day MECP and 20 mg/kg/ day metformin, respectively, for 30 days. On the 15th and respectively, 31st day, blood samples from the fasted rats were obtained for fasting plasma glucose (FPG), plasma triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein- cholesterol (HDL-c), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) and very low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-c) from the sacrificed rats. RESULTS: Oral treatment with 100 - 600 mg/kg/day MECP, for 30 days, resulted in significant (p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001) reductions in FPG, TG, TC, LDL-c, VLDL-c in the diabetic rats, effects which were comparable to that of metformin. The extract also caused significant (p < 0.05, p < 0.01) rise in HDL-c values in the alloxan diabetic rats. Phytochemical result showed the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, tannins and saponin in varying concentrations. The biological effects recorded for the extract could be due to any or a combination of these phytochemical constituents. CONCLUSION: Results of this study lend support to the traditional use of grapefruit seeds in the management of type 1 diabetic patients and may suggest a role in orthodox management of the disease.

Study Type : Animal Study

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