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Cancer-blocking herb to be taken off shelves in Europe
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A herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can block cancer growth, researchers have discovered this week - and it's about to disappear from stores throughout Europe

A herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can block cancer growth, researchers have discovered this week - and it's about to disappear from stores throughout Europe.
The herb, thunder god vine (lei gong teng), has been used for centuries by TCM as a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. But researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine say it can also stop tumour growth. Its active ingredient, triptolide, is an anti-inflammatory, an immunosuppressant, contraceptive - and anti-tumour agent, says Jun Liu, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences.
Yet, on May 1, it will disappear from the shelves around Europe under an EU directive that will dramatically reduce the range of herbal remedies we can buy. Every single remedy from TCM, Ayurvedic and Amazonian medical traditions will disappear under the EU's Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive. Of the hundreds of remedies currently available, just 79 will survive - and a pharmaceutical company manufactures a third of these.
In laboratory tests, low doses of thunder god vine blocked cell growth in 60 different types of cancer, and even killed off some cancers.
(Source: Nature Chemical Biology, 2011; 7: 182).


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