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Traditional Chinese herbal remedies may help spinal cord injuries

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A recent study has found an ancient medicinal practice called Ji-Sui-Kang which has been found to improve loco-motor function in laboratory rats with spinal cord injuries. Ji-Sui-Kang, or JSK is part of traditional Chinese herbal medicines that have been used to treat a variety of ailments for millennia.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers reported that laboratory animals after being treated with JSK showed decreased tissue damage. The structure of their neural cells was found to better preserved when compared to rats in a control group.

The JSK treatment also may reduce inflammation and cell death, as well as boost local oxygen supply in the affected area, researchers say. The JSK appeared to restore function and promote tissue regeneration.

"A number of anecdotal reports from Chinese medicine practitioners indicate that treatment with a novel herbal formulation, JSK, for periods of one week or three months improved functional recovery," the study's co-lead investigator Shucui Jiang, head of the Hamilton NeuroRestorative Group at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, said.

Researchers divided their rat test subjects into two groups. One group was treated with the herbal medicine treatment while the control group was administered saline solution. Treatment began immediately after spinal cord injury and the test period was 21 days.

Within seven days at the beginning of the experiment, the hind limb loco-motor function was significantly better in the group of rats treated with JSK as compared to the group that only got the saline.

The rats treated with JSK continued to display better motor function, appeared to support their weight better, and showed more coordinated movement than those in the control group during the 21-day period. Researchers found that the structure of the injured spinal cord of those treated with JSK was better preserved. Additionally, the size of the injured area was significantly reduced about a week after the injury.

"Our data suggest that JSK may enhance tissue recovery by reducing cell growth inhibitors and by promoting the proliferation of cells within the injured spinal cord," co-lead investigator Michel Rathbone, a professor at the Department of Medicine at McMaster University said.

The scientists say their study suggests JSK treatment could help protect against further spinal cord injury caused by damage to local blood vessels.

Citing proprietary reasons, the authors of the study did not reveal the entire herbal composition of their JSK treatment - but listed some of the ingredients which included ginseng, rhizoma, glycyrrhizae radix, paeoniae alba radix and cinnamomi cortex.

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