Archive for the ‘Research News’ category

New research indicates ayurvedic drugs to have a two-yr expiry

June 27th, 2011

A research conducted for the stability of ayurvedic preparations involving medicated ‘ghee’ (grhita) and oil (taila), conducted at the department of Rasa Shastra, BHU, has fixed the shelf-life of such preparations as a maximum of two years.

Consumers need to note that only ‘asavarishta’ (herbal liquid preparation) and ‘bhasma’ (metallic-herbo formulations) have no expiry date and can be used even after two years of manufacturing.

This comes in the light of a number of ayurvedic preparations involving medicated ghee and oil, including Mahanarayana Taila with analgesic properties are used in Panchakarma procedure and most of them have a shelf-life of 18 to 24 months. According to the Pharmacovigilance Centre for North Region, the rule 161 (B) of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945 has made it mandatory to print the manufacture and expiry date of all ayurvedic, siddha and unani ( ASU) drugs from April 1, 2010 onwards.

Liv.52 – Herbal Medicine for Liver Diseases

April 16th, 2011

A Blend of proven herbs with antioxidant properties ensures optimum liver function through the protection of the hepatic parenchyma. Liv.52 neutralizes all kind of toxins and poisons from food, water, air and medications, the detoxification process cleans and protect the liver.

Liv.52 Himalaya was introduced in 1955 by Himalaya Herbals. Since then, it has been sold worldwide and is recognized by thousands of health professionals as one of the most effective liver formula, with beneficial effects reported in over 300 studies on a variety of cases. Liv.52 Himalaya is a unique, all-natural, complex multi-ingredient formula. It is safe and effective in protecting the liver against harmful toxins from drugs, alcohol, food and water.

The different ingredients in Himalaya Liv.52 are herbs used in Ayurveda for the treatment of liver diseases from ancient times. Himsra, Kasani, Mandur bhasma, Kakamachi, Arjuna, Kasamarda, Biranjasipha, Jhavuka are the herbs used in the Liv.52 are not only effective against the liver infections and disorders but also allows a normal liver functioning.

A recent study conducted on different peoples suffering from liver related disorders concludes, Liv.52 Himalaya herbal medicine is very useful in serious liver diseases including Hepatitis, alcohol liver disease, pre-cirrhotic and early cirrhosis conditions, elevated liver enzymes, fatty liver conditions, protein energy malnutrition and radiation or chemotherapy induced liver damage. It is safe and effective in protecting the liver.

Liv.52 herbal medicine is available in the form of tablets and syrup. It is also clinically proven that Liv.52 product by Himalaya Herbals is safe to use by anyone as it is not known to have any side effects. But it should be taken under medical supervision and as per the prescribed dosage.

Honey can help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics

April 13th, 2011
Washington: A study has found that Manuka honey could help in clearing chronically infected wounds, and even in reversing bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Professor Rose Cooper from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is looking at how manuka honey interacts with three types of bacteria that commonly infest wounds: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Her group has found that honey can interfere with the growth of these bacteria in a variety of ways and suggests that honey is an attractive option for the treatment of drug-resistant wound infections.

Honey has long been acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties. Traditional remedies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by diverse ancient civilisations.

Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honeybees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand and is included in modern licensed wound-care products around the world.

However, the antimicrobial properties of honey have not been fully exploited by modern medicine, as its mechanisms of action are not yet known.
Cooper`s group is helping to solve this problem by investigating at a molecular level the ways in which manuka honey inhibits wound-infecting bacteria.

“Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections,” she explained.
“Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections.

“Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin – effectively reversing antibiotic resistance.
“This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey,” she revealed.
This research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective antimicrobial options.

“We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria,” Cooper said.

At present, most antimicrobial interventions for patients are with systemic antibiotics.

“The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonised wounds to susceptible patients,” she concluded.
The research was presented at the Society for General Microbiology`s Spring Conference in Harrogate.


Eating strawberries may help prevent esophageal cancer

April 7th, 2011

Washington: Scientists have found that eating strawberries may be a way to help people at risk of esophageal cancer protect themselves from the disease.

Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) and researchers in China jointly conducted the study.

The study is the first-ever collaborative Ohio State cancer clinical trial to be conducted in China.

“We concluded from this study that six months of strawberry treatment is safe and easy to consume. In addition, our preliminary data suggests that strawberries decreased histological grade of precancerous lesions and reduced cancer-related molecular events,” said Tong Chen, lead author, and assistant professor at Ohio State.

Previously research by Chen and colleagues have found that freeze-dried strawberries significantly inhibited tumor development in the esophagus of rats.

Based on these results, the researchers embarked on a phase Ib clinical trial in China to investigate the effects of freeze-dried strawberries on patients with esophageal precancerous lesions.

“We found that daily consumption of strawberries suppressed various biomarkers involved in esophageal carcinogenesis, including cell proliferation, inflammation and gene transcription,” said Chen.

Each of the 36 study participants ate 60 grams of freeze-dried strawberries daily for six months. The researchers obtained biopsy specimens before and after the strawberry consumption.

The results showed that 29 out of 36 participants experienced a decrease in histological grade of the precancerous lesions during the study.

“Our study is important because it shows that strawberries may slow the progression of precancerous lesion in the esophagus. Strawberries may be an alternative, or may work together with other chemopreventive drugs, for the prevention of esophageal cancer. But, we will need to test this in randomized placebo-controlled trials in the future,” he said.

The finding is to be presented during a press briefing at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 102nd meeting 2011 in Orlando, Fla.


Being Vegan increases risk of heart attack, Research says

April 7th, 2011

People who follow a vegan lifestyle – strict vegetarians who try to eat no meat or animal products of any kind – may increase their risk of developing blood clots and atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries,” which are conditions that can lead to heart attacks and stroke, according to a new study.

Researchers come to the conclusion after a review of dozens of articles published on the biochemistry of vegetarianism during the past 30 years.

In the review, researcher Duo Li notes that meat eaters are known for having a significantly higher combination of cardiovascular risk factors than vegetarians.

Lower-risk vegans, however, may not be immune. Their diets tend to be lacking several key nutrients – including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, Li said.

While a balanced vegetarian diet can provide enough protein, this isn`t always the case when it comes to fat and fatty acids. As a result, vegans tend to have elevated blood levels of homocysteine and decreased levels of HDL, the “good” form of cholesterol. Both are risk factors for heart disease.

It concludes that there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to help contend with those risks. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon and other oily fish, walnuts and certain other nuts.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include seafood, eggs, and fortified milk. Dietary supplements also can supply these nutrients.

The finding appeared in ACS` bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry .

Eating 3 bananas a day could slash stroke risk by 21%

April 6th, 2011

London: British and Italian researchers have found that eating three bananas cuts the risk of a stroke.

They said that having one banana for breakfast, one for lunch and one in the evening would provide enough potassium to reduce the chances of suffering a blood clot on the brain by around 21 per cent.

The findings suggest that thousands of strokes could be prevented by the consumption of other potassium-rich foods such as spinach, nuts, milk, fish and lentils, reports the Daily Mail.

Although some previous studies have suggested bananas could be important for controlling blood pressure and preventing strokes, results have not always been consistent.

In the latest research, scientists analysed data from eleven different studies – dating back to the mid-Sixties – and pooled the results to get an overall outcome.

They found a daily potassium intake of around 1,600 milligrammes, less than half the UK recommended daily amount for an adult of 3,500mg, was enough to lower stroke risk by more than a fifth.

The average banana contains around 500 milligrammes of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and controls the balance of fluids in the body.

Too little potassium can lead to an irregular heartbeat, irritability, nausea and diarrhoea.

Researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Naples said potassium intake in most countries is well below the recommended daily amount.

But if consumers ate more potassium-rich foods and also reduced their salt intake, the annual global death toll from strokes could be cut by more than a million a year.

The study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


Homo imperatorin, molecule isolated from Bael fruit seed

February 21st, 2011
Banaras Hindu University has recently been successful in their attempt to isolate a molecule from the Bael fruit which is known for its high medicinal value. This molecule supposedly shows anti fungal properties and the research study got its recognition on the last two days of the two day seminar on emerging trends in chemical sciences, organised by department of chemistry, BHU, on Sunday, it also marked a breakthrough in the isolation and synthesis of designer molecule with medicinal value.

“The molecule- homo imperatorin- responsible for anti-fungal properties in the seeds of ‘bael’ fruit (Aegle marmelos Correa) has been isolated for the first time and it has taken five long years of research work,” said Bhuwan B Mishra, one of the members of research team while talking to TOI on Sunday. It was conducted in continuation of work on discovery of bioactive constituents from Indian medicinal plant, especially anti-fungal constituents, he added. The research study for isolation of ‘imperatorin’ and ‘iso imperatorin’ from the seeds of the fruit has been already published in Phytochemistry, a reputed European Journal in its December, 2010 issue.

Saying that special precaution for maintaining purity of the molecule was taken during isolation, Mishra also emphasized that the new molecule was characterized under infra-red (IR) spectrum, mass spectrum and ultra violet (UR) spectrum studies that also helped in analysis of chemical and medical properties of the molecule. The characterization and isolation of the molecule promises a new beginning for emergence of natural products in drug discovery apart from coming up with designer molecules with medicinal value, he added.

The ‘Bael’ plant is considered a sacred plant, commonly grown in temple gardens in the country and the fruit is known to possess significant therapeutic and medicinal value and is widely used in homeopathy and ayurveda.

Guggul to battle Prostate Cancer

January 14th, 2011

Prostate cancer has been  increasing in occurence in men that has devastating effects on the individual. The regular cancer treatments have a lot of side effects that again are difficult to deal with. Ayurveda seems to have a probable treatment for this. Guggul, a yellowish product produced by the Mukul tree, has been credited to show promising results against prostate cancer, according to a recent research.  The study has shown that Guggul helps in inhibiting the growth of the cancerous cells by killing the cells and preventing them from spreading into the surrounding areas called apoptosis.

The study has moved away from the traditional use of Guggul for curbing cholesterol levels in the body. In some earlier studies of natural remedies against prostate cancer vitamin D, lycopene, omega- 3 fatty acids and Green Tea has shown to provide effective results.

Himalaya to fortify research into serious diseases

November 30th, 2010

Himalaya Drug Company is one of the most popular brands for Ayurvedic and herbal products. Seeing the potential for herbal medications not only in the country but also overseas, Himalaya has decided to come out with formulations and increase research in the fields of oncology, hepatitis B, women’s health issues and tropical diseases.

The company aims to provide evidence based research and also strengthen its research base, launch produces and increase accessibility in the markets.
Though allopathic medicine has a niche, herbal medicines have found one for it too. The herbal formulations not only provide effective treatment for chronic conditions but also help in preventive care. When both the medicinal forms come together across different healthcare practices it can create a powerful healthcare partnership.

Himalaya has been the only Indian company invited to present a paper on a drug that it released called Cystone for problems of the urinary tract, at the International Congress on Complimentary Medicine Research held in Norway. It is one of the very few brands known in Ayurvedic medicines in India along with names like Dabur, Baidyanath, etc, despite India being the place of origin for Ayurveda. But Himalaya distinguishes itself from classic Ayurveda and puts itself under the name of Contemporary Ayurveda, changing with time and modernity.

Commonwealth Games popularizes Ayurveda

October 5th, 2010

With the launch of the Commonwealth Games, Ayurveda, Yoga and Medical tourism in general will draw a huge number of visitors and will potentially fetch $200 million, a study that was released on Tuesday said.

Ayurveda and yoga alone will be a $135-million business during the 12-day event, while the revenue prospects for medical tourism are expected at around $65 million, says the study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

“Job opportunity for Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga, spa and medical tourism professionals is projected for 50,000 people,” said chamber secretary general D.S. Rawat, releasing the study. He also added that visitors from Canada, Britain and Australia would take advantage of the ancient Indian medicinal practices and traditions while they are here for the games.

According to the study, each foreigner visiting India during the Games is likely to spend Rs.10,000-Rs.35,000 ($225-$775) on ayurveda and related treatments, while the spend on medical tourism will be higher at Rs.40,000-Rs.120,000 ($885-$2,650). Occupancy at ayurveda and naturopathy centres have gone up by 60 percent, it adds.

Around 200,000 patients from overseas visit India each year, fetching a business worth over $500 million. This is expected to touch $2 billion by 2012, due to advantages such as low-cost treatment compared to the US and Europe.

Assocham also suggested to the Ministries of Health and Tourism to jointly set up a separate department and training institute to bridge the gap of skilled professionals in this field and also authorize the ayurvedic and Herbal centres.