More scientific proof for folk remedies: tansy is a natural anti-viral herpes treatment

Sunday, March 20, 2011 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: folk remedies, herpes, health news

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(NaturalNews) While many mainstream doctors still scoff at the idea that traditional, natural healing modalities -- including therapies with plants -- could actually work, hard scientific evidence is accumulating which proves the medicinal properties of plants. For example, NaturalNews recently reported on a study showing that the common weed milkweed can completely cure many skin cancers(http://www.naturalnews.com/031339_milkweed_s...). Now comes word from UK and Spanish scientists that another plant long used in folk medicine, tansy, can treat herpes.

Known by botanists as Tanacetum vulgare, the flowering plant grows all across mainland Europe and Asia. Often called Mugwort or Golden Buttons by traditional healers, the plant has been used for hundreds of years to treat conditions ranging from rheumatism to high fevers.

New findings just published in the journal Phytotherapy Research show the plant could have powerful anti-viral properties. "Our research focused on the anti-viral properties of tansy, especially the potential treatment it may represent for herpes," lead author Professor Francisco Parra of the Universidad de Oviedo said in a statement to the press. "We currently lack an effective vaccine for either HSV-1 or HSV-2 stands of the disease, which can cause long term infections."

To learn more about the possible medicinal properties of tansy, Professor Parra and his research team, who are studying antiviral compounds, began a collaboration with a group of scientists led by Dr Solomon Habtemariam at the University of Greenwich who are working to establish scientific evidence for traditional medicines. The joint investigation looked at both crude extracts of the aerial parts and roots of tansy and also analyzed purified compounds of the plant for anti-viral activity. And they found it.

"We found that tansy does contains known antiviral agents including 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (3,5-DCQA) as well as axillarin, which contributes to its antiherpetic effect. This shows that multiple properties of the plant are responsible for the supposed antiviral activity of tansy," Dr. Parra said in a media release.

"Although the precise molecular targets for tansy extract require further research this study reveals the clear potential of tansy to treat the dermatological lesions caused by HSV," he added. "This shows that systematic pharmacological and phytochemical studies such as this can play pivotal roles in the modernization of European traditional herbal medicines."

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