Chinese tradition medicine has been valued for many years. Today, drug makers extract medicines from herbs to treat asthma, hepatitis, sore throat, hay fever, typhoid, influenza, coughs and other diseases. More than 300 herbs being used today have been employed in the last 10 decades.
Herbal medicine can also be used to reduce weight aside from its significant value in the treatment of a range of diseases. Scientists have been testing herbal medicines over years and now, they are searching for that one miracle herb that will help obese people burn fat and get back to shape.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rates of obesity have climbed 47 percent in children and 28 percent in adults over the past 33 years. These figures have turned weight loss drug making into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Some scientists have turned to an exotic plant called Caralluma fimbriata chewed by hunters in Indian to curb their hunger. Some have tried hoodia, an African plant which fools you into feeling fool even when you haven’t eaten anything.
These plants were not as promising until a Chinese traditional medicine called Thunder God Vine was discovered. Scientists say that extracts from this plant suppress food intake and can cut the body weight of an obese person by up to 45 percent.
“The substance works by boosting leptin, a fat derived hormone that notifies the body when it already has enough energy and fuel. People who lack leptin eat insatiably and gradually become obese,” said Omut Ozcan, study lead author and an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s hospital and Harvard Medical School. “During the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed. The message from this study is still hope for making leptin work.”
The scientists discovered that a week after treatment with extracts from the Thunder God Vine, the mice suppress food intake by 80 percent compared with the mice which did not receive the treatment. After three weeks, mice which had been treated with the extract had trimmed about to 50 percent of their original body weight.
No toxic effects were discovered but the researchers say more research needs to be done to determine if the extracts are safe for human use.