Traditional Plant Medicine Could Cure H1N1 Flu Virus, Chinese Scientists Find

Friday, October 02, 2009 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: antiviral medicine, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The government's pro-vaccine push and the mainstream media's near hysteria over the increased number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases can leave some people feeling almost helpless. After all, there are reports that anti-virus drugs like Tamiflu don't always work (and are known to have horrendous side effects), and no one can truly say the barely-tested flu vaccine has in any way been proven safe or effective. But what is overlooked by mainstream news and most of the medical community is that a host of natural therapies exist that can help the body fight off infections. And now Chinese scientists have documented that an ancient plant remedy for flu appears to offer a knock-out punch to the dreaded H1N1 virus.

Researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University and the China Medical University have analyzed the roots of a plant called Ferula assa-foetida (F. assa-foetida, for short) because it was used a century ago as a traditional medicine to fight the great 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak -- that pandemic killed between 20 to 100 million people. There were reports the traditional plant medicine was effective but no one had documented the plant's antiviral compounds, until now.

More powerful than prescription antiviral drugs

In a study published in the September 25th issue of the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Natural Product, scientists Fang-Rong Chang and Yang-Chang Wu reveal that in lab experiments Ferula assa-foetida exhibits a remarkable ability to kill the H1N1 swine flu virus.

In their study, Chang and Wu identified a group of chemical compounds in extracts of the plant that turned out to be far more potent against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drug available for the flu. "A standardized plant extract of F. assa-foetida, a species that has been used to treat influenza for many years, may also be worthy of being further investigated as a new phytomedicine," the authors write.

The scientists also noted that the roots of F. assa-foetida have been used for centuries in folk medicine as a natural anti-cancer treatment, antibiotic, diuretic, antispasmodic treatment and more. The plant, which grows mainly in Iran, Afghanistan and mainland China, reportedly tastes much like onions when it is cooked. When raw, the sap of the Ferula assa-foetida has such a bad smell that sometimes it is called the "Dung of the Devil" plant.

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