Liver fibrosis happens when the proteins including collagen surrounding liver cells start to accumulate excessively.  Liver fibrosis is often a result of all types of liver diseases.

Science used to consider liver fibrosis to be irreversible condition, but recent evidence suggests the opposite.

Acupuncture has been increasingly used to treat chronic liver diseases. And we’re obviously interested to know how acupuncture can be helpful with liver fibrosis. A study published in the current issue of peer-reviewed international journal Acupuncture in Medicine tried to understand what exactly acupuncture does in combination with curcumin for liver fibrosis.

They found that acupuncture significantly enhances curcumin effects for liver fibrosis. They also found biochemical changes at the cellular level.  The effects were attributed to acupuncture and curcumin disrupting platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation. Curcumin is the principal active ingredient of turmeric.  This is yet another great example of how acupuncture and herbal medicines go hand in hand and enhance each others effect.

Ref: Acupuncture combined with curcumin disrupts platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation in carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats. Acupuncture in Medicine doi:10.1136/acupmed-2012-010167

Traditional Chinese medicine for diabetes has scientific backing Reports of a traditional Chinese medicine having beneficial effects for people suffering from type 2 diabetes now has some scientific evidence to back up the claims.

A collaboration between Chinese, Korean, and Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, has revealed that the natural plant product berberine could be a valuable new treatment. Berberine is found in the roots and bark of a number of plants used for medicinal purposes including wound healing and treatment of diarrhoea.

It has also been documented in Chinese literature as having a glucose lowering effect when administered to people with diabetes; yet, until now, its mode of action was unknown.

Garvan scientist Dr Jiming Ye says: “Our studies in animal models of diabetes show that berberine acts in part by activating an enzyme in the muscle and liver that is involved in improving sensitivity of the tissue to insulin – this in turn helps lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it seems berberine can help reduce body weight”. Current medicines for treating type 2 diabetes include metformin and the TZD group of drugs.

However, a large number of patients cannot tolerate metformin and the TZDs can cause undesirable weight gain. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapies to treat type 2 diabetes, which is a growing health problem.

“Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. Given the limitations of existing medicines we are excited to have evidence that berberine may be a helpful new treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, despite its widespread use in traditional medicine practices, it will still have to be evaluated properly following the defined clinical trials process”, said Professor James, head of the Garvan’s Diabetes & Obesity Research Program and co-author of the Diabetes paper.

The next step is to investigate how berberine activates the enzyme that mediates these ‘insulin-sensitising’ effects.

NOTES: This study will be published in the August issue of ‘Diabetes’. The title is: Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin resistant states. Yun S. Lee, Woo S. Kim,Kang H. Kim, Myung J. Yoon, Hye J. Cho, Yun Shen, Ji-Ming Ye, Chul H. Lee, Won K. Oh, Chul T. Kim, Cordula Hohnen-Behrens, Alison Gosby, Edward W. Kraegen, David E. James, and Jae B. Kim

More on Chinese Medicine (Gardenia fruit) and diabetes.

A gardenia fruit extract used in Chinese medicine for
centuries to treat diabetes is effective, scientists confirmed.

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found a chemical from the fruit blocks the action of an enzyme which stops the production of insulin.

Insulin is made in the pancreas, and stimulates cells to
take up as much glucose as they need for energy, thereby regulating
blood sugar levels.

But in people with diabetes, there is too little insulin, which causes blood sugar concentrations to rise.

The research was published in Cell Metabolism.

My comment:

We’ve been using gardenia for ages and never needed any confirmation it to be effective. The pharmaceuticals will obviously try to find a way to excrete and isolate the compound which inhibits UCP2 and make a huge profit selling the medicine. Nothing wrong with that.

However, any Chinese medicine herbalist will tell you that gardenia alone does not treat diabetes. We need a formula of a few herbs to achieve the best effect. When the chemicals form Chinese medicines are excreted and purified, the amount of that particular chemical has to be increased for it to be effective. This can lead to undesirable side-effects and adverse events.

Many infertile man have an increased proportion of genetically abnormal sperm. Normally this is not an issue, because the sperm number is so small, that it fails to fertilise an egg. But in case of ICSI, the potentially genetically abnormal sperm is injected directly in to an egg. This increases the risk risk for ICSI failure as well as the risk of transmitting diseases such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome, congenital heart defects, etc.

Scientists from university of Kent conducted research on six men who had very high levels of chromosome abnormalities in their sperm. After a course of traditional Chinese medicine each of the six men participating in the study showed a significant reduction in the proportion of sperm genetic abnormalities.

This research offers promise to male infertility patients. However more research is needed to convince the skeptics.

“Significant reduction of sperm disomy in six men: effect of traditional Chinese medicine?” Darren Griffin, Helen Tempest, Sheryl Homa and Xiao-Ping Zhai
“Asian Journal of Andrology”

IVF and acupuncture ::

Orthodox medicine currently does not offer any solutions for the bird flu. Chinese Medicine may be of help if or when it spreads worldwide.

Numerous Chinese herbs have antiviral effects. These herbs were successfully used by staff at the hospital of a university in Hong Kong to prevent SARS.

Current laws do not allow to patent herbs. Roche, a Swedish pharmaceutical company found a way around this. It developed Tamiflu, a medication extracted from one of Chinese medicines, star anise. The company uses 90% of the world supply of star anise to transform it into Tamiflu pills. The idea would have been great, but… when you extract something and start to use a high dose of it, you can expect side-effects. Furthermore, in Chinese medicine we use a mix of a few herbs and keep on changing them in the prescription to keep it effective. If the same active ingredient will be used to fight a virus, it is very likely, that that ingredient will become ineffective as the virus mutates.

Lucky we still have many other varieties of Chinese antiviral herbs that can be used should the need arise.

MONDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) — Future treatments for Alzheimer’s disease may run the gamut from calisthenics combined with singing, Chinese herbs, immune-boosting therapies and insulin delivered to the brain via the nose.

Research in these areas and more was presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, held in Washington, D.C.

A study conducted in China, found that an herbal extract improved cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s. The extract, known as GETO (for ginseng, epimedium herb, thinleaf milkwort root and two other herbs), has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine.

Read more here

“If Chinese herbal medicine underwent scientific tests, it could spread to international use…”

Freid Murad, the 1998 Nobel prize winner of physiology and medicine

Read here