Tags: Heart Disease | ancient | bark | remedy | heart | health | honokiol

Scientists Confirm Ancient Herbal Remedy Boosts Heart Health

By    |   Tuesday, 14 April 2015 12:53 PM

Modern-day scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of a natural compound that has been used for centuries to treat heart conditions.

The compound — honokiol, derived from the bark of the magnolia tree — has been shown to protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure.

In a new report published online in the journal Nature Communications, University of Chicago researchers said the compound reduced the excess growth of cardiac muscle cells and had other heart-protective effects when injected into laboratory mice.

The researchers noted honokiol is an ancient remedy, widely used in Asia for centuries, to protect the heart. They also found the compound activates a protein associated with delayed aging, stress resistance, and metabolic regulation.

"Honokiol … effectively blocked both the induction and progression of cardiac hypertrophy in mice," said researcher Mahesh Gupta, director of the Cardiac Cell Biology Research Program at the University of Chicago. "It even mitigated pre-existing cardiac hypertrophy. This has the potential to play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of heart failure."

Honokiol is available as an herbal remedy, taken by mouth, but the researchers used a highly pure form of it and injected it into the mice.

"We treated the mice with injections into the peritoneal cavity," Gupta emphasized, "rather than by mouth, which is how this compound has traditionally been administered. We are testing to see if oral use will have a similar effect."

He added that researchers are “tremendously excited” about the compound’s promise, and added: "We are working to design a clinical trial involving patients with cardiac hypertrophy and potentially other metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes."

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.

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Scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of a natural compound that has been used for centuries to treat heart conditions.
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015 12:53 PM
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