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Herbs could fight inflammation

30th June 2008

European researchers have found that a substance found in many aromatic herbs, including oregano, can be effective against inflammation.

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The study, carried out by researchers at Bonn University and the ETH in Zurich, found that the substance, beta-carophyllin (E-BCP) inhibits inflammation.

E-BCP is found in many spice and food plants including basil, rosemary, cinnamon and black pepper.

According to Professor Andreas Zimmer of the Life&Brain-Zentrum in Bonn, experiments on mice have shown that E-BCP inhibits inflammation, and is also effective against osteoporosis.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reported using E-BCP to treat mice with swollen paws found that the swellings subsequently subsided in up to 70% of the animals.

Beta-caryophyllin docks on specific receptor structures in the cell membrane also known as cannabinoid-CB2 receptors and produces a change in cell behaviour.

The enocannabinoids are manufactured by the human body and play a part in maintaining its equilibrium.

Research is finding that the endocannabinoid system is significant in a growing variety of disorders, and an imbalance in the system can lead to cardiac disorders, allergies and chronic pain, or even memory loss.

Drug researchers are already familiar with the CB1 receptors in nerve cells of the brain. Both receptors form part of the endocannabinoid system, which acts like a brake on inflammatory processes, stopping the immune system from overreacting.

In future, drugs based on E-BCP might be used to control chronic disorders as Chrone┬┤s disease, an inflammation of the intestinal tract.

 

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