Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ancient knowledge to future medicines

Mining Of Ancient Herbal Text Leads To Potential New Anti-bacterial Drug ScienceDaily 12/29/06 "A unique Mayo Clinic collaboration has revived the healing wisdom of Pacific Island cultures by testing a therapeutic plant extract described in a 17th century Dutch herbal text for its anti-bacterial properties. Early results show that extracts from the Atun tree effectively control bacteria that can cause diarrhea, as claimed by naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumpf, circa 1650. He documented his traditional healing methods in the book Ambonese Herbal...Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate the feasibility of using sophisticated data mining techniques on historical texts to identify new drugs...The study provides a creative new model for drug discovery. It integrates nontraditional, ancient medical information with advanced technologies to identify promising natural products to investigate as drugs for new and better therapies..."Natural products are invaluable sources of healing agents -- consider, for example, that aspirin derived originally from willow bark, and the molecular basis of the anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent TaxolTM was derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. So it's not so far-fetched to think that the contributions of an ancient text and insights from traditional medicine really may impact modern public health," explains Brent Bauer, M.D., "

This is one of those articles where you think that the research is so obvious why have they not been doing this for decades. Actually in some limited ways researchers have, but lets hope for a more substantial operation.

The recent research on turmeric and rheumatoid arthritis was in part a result of looking at what has been used in history by various cultures to deal with this condition. For reference the researchers think you would need 1.5gms of high quality curcuminoids a day to be effective. Human trials will have results in a few years.

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