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Health Agencies Update |

Herbal Medicine Examined

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
JAMA. 2013;309(8):759. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.854.
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Febrifugine, a traditional Chinese medicine used to treat fever associated with malaria, likely inhibits the synthesis of proteins in humans and the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. This property may explain the compound's mechanism of action, according to a study funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences that investigated the compound's structure and interactions.

Febrifugine is the active ingredient in Chang Shan, an herbal remedy believed to have been used for about 2000 years, according to the study's authors (Zhou H et al. Nature. 2013;494[7435]:121-124). Previous evidence suggests that halofuginone, which is derived from febrifugine, suppresses the immune system; this derivative has been tested in clinical trials as a treatment for cancer and scleroderma. The new study probed the precise chemical structure of halofuginone and how it interacts with other compounds.

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A Chinese herbal remedy derived from a type of hydrangea and used for fever associated with malaria inhibits protein synthesis in the malaria parasite, a new study suggests.

(Photo credit: Photo credit: Keith Edkins)

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