Is Chinese Herb Chang Shan useful for curing Autoimmune Disorders?
In the two thousand years long history river, Chinese herbalists have used a root extract to treat Malaria , which is commonly named as Chang Shan, it comes from a kind of hydrangea only growing in Tibet and Nepal. There are increasing number of recent studies reveal that halofuginone, a compound derived from this extract's bioactive ingredient,could be useful on curing autoimmune disorders too.And recently the molecular secrets behind this herbal extract's power have discovered by researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
In a news release, researcher Malcolm Whitman, PhD, professor of developmental biology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, says "Halofuginone prevents the autoimmune response without dampening immunity altogether" .
Researcher Tracy Keller, who is an instructor in Whitman's lab, says in the release "This study is an exciting example of how solving the molecular mechanism of traditional herbal medicine can lead both to new insights into physiological regulation and to novel approaches to the treatment of disease".
Cells stop the synthesis of non-vital proteins when amino acids are in short supply. Keller's team discovered that halofuginone mimics such a shortage by blocking an enzyme that feeds one amino acid to the protein-making machinery.
Keller found that the drug triggers a chemical cascade that responds to amino acid scarcity, called AAR. This inhibits the growth of malaria parasites, stops blood cells from making proteins that cause inflammation, and stops the development of specific white blood cells that trigger conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.
This could make the drug effective on curing autoimmune disease. However, for halofuginone mimics nutrient deprivation, it could also possible used in other field. Animals that are known could live longer, receiving only just adequate nutrition, maybe because diseases which involve inflammation are prevented. That means halofuginone might work possibly as an anti-aging drug, says Keller.