Phyto-Gong from Hong Kong

21. December 2009

Round about 20 herbs are supposed to reverse or stop the destructive process of liver fibrosis - thus a report by Chinese physicians at the Hong Kong University. And now they show that even the replication of HPV viruses can be reduced with this mix.

Until 2012, an enormous research project regarding “Genetic determinates of liver fibrosis in complex mouse models” is planned to start in Germany. An amount of 500,000 Euro after all is supposed to flow from a “support pot”. But if you follow the lines of traditional Chinese medicine, the fight against liver fibrosis gets a whole lot cheaper.

Because: The teachings of the Middle Empire bank on 20 herbs where Western physicians count on high tech and molecular modes of action as weapons against the malaise. Unlike in these parts of the world, Chinese physicians know that liver fibrosis is the result of “a bad blood circulation, an accumulation of toxins and a lack of healthy energy” as the team of researchers around Ybin Feng at the Hong Kong University published in the professional journal “Chinese Medicine”.

Hard biochemical facts

Whoever wants to frown upon such statements, he soon enough – by taking a closer look – will realize: Unlike in these parts, the supporters of TCM believe in magically acting plant extracts – and supply hard biochemical facts explaining the benefits of the substances. The physician Feng teaches that Salvia miltirrhizae for example increases the activity of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) which decreases the concentration of peroxidation products in the liver via a number of reactions. Panax Notoginseng as well belongs to the Armada of the miracle healers by reducing the amount of the malondialdehydes significantly. Solanum nigrum even stops the oxidative stress in hepatic cells while Xiao Chai Hu Tang subdues liver fibrosis completely via the agent Baicalin.

In the meantime Feng and his colleagues were able to clarify why all of those herbs are working. In particular since fibrogenic processes are regulated by the chemokine TGF-1β. The plant extracts listed by Feng function on TGF-1β as inhibitors and thus inhibit one of the central signal routes of liver fibrosis. For example the agent Paclitaxel obtained from Taxus brevifolia blocks the TGF-1β signal route between myofibroblast cells and epithelial cells of the gall. The blockage of the biochemical data highway detains an excessive production of collagen. In patients with hepatitis B and liver fibrosis again the Chinese bank on sage acid which verifiably cures many of the fibrosis cases according to Feng. The Chinese plant agents prove themselves to be similarly potent in the fight against severe liver damages. Berberis aristata, for example shows in vitro remarkable heparo-protective attributes in cells which were then exposed to high concentrations of Paracetamol. Even HP-viruses don’t feel like reproducing under the influence of the herbs – Renshen Yangron Tang surpresses the unwelcome HPV-infection.

Herbal lore with high-tech

The successes are more than remarkable and cause a lot of stir in the Western world. While for example here in these parts of the world biotechnology stagnates for years, Chinese researchers announce spectacular successes in this field time and again. Reason for this scientific fortune: The Chinese start where their ancestors already thousands of years ago supplied the basis for today’s knowledge. In the beginning of our millennium for example, Chinese biotechnologists developed a database connecting traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with the methods of modern genetic technology. Just how the way of thinking of the ancient culture can be transferred to the approach of our high-tech world – Chen Zhu, the director of the Chinese Human-Genome-Center showed it already in 2006 when he introduced the database in Shanghai. The decoding of the human genome with the according genetic technology we could also use to understand the “mysterious” effects of traditional Chinese medicine.

The possible applications now published by Feng sometimes come up in twin packs. Fuzheng Huayu for example is considered a strong therapeutic agent against liver fibrosis and cirrhosis likewise. Nearly unrivalled the reduction of the collagen production seems to happen – a prerequisite for fighting the diseases. According to Feng, even the risks and side effects of the Huayu-agents are clinically proven – something pharmaceutical manufacturers here in this part of the world are only dreaming about: Zero.

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