Kidney-toning Chinese medicines improve Parkinson's disease symptoms

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: Chinese medicines, Parkinson''s disease, kidney-toning herbs

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(NaturalNews) According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, loss of coordination and uncontrolled movements associated with Parkinson's disease affect "one million people in the US and an estimated seven to 10 million worldwide." Specialists at the University of Rochester speculate that, by 2030, Parkinson's disease could affect twice as many people as it does now.

Even as this neural disease grips the elderly, there is hopeful, new evidence emerging that could help patients protect neural cells from dying off and spurring Parkinson's disease. In fact, molecular level evidence has been observed in China. Two Chinese herbal medicines that are well known for toning the kidneys are showing promise for also protecting neural cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain, which is where Parkinson's likes to take hold.

Synthetic chemicals wreaking havoc on brain chemistry

As synthetic chemicals are ingested, they can store up in the tissues of the human body and manipulate expressions of genes and pathways.

With Parkinson's symptoms increasing, it's obvious that the population is being bombarded by cellular manipulating synthetics.

As nerve cells die off in the substantia nigra, Parkinson's disease symptoms begin to set in. These physical symptoms show up in elderly people, in their hands and facial expressions. Symptoms include chronic rigidity, impaired coordination, slow movement, and tremors in the hands, legs and face. As neurons progressively die off in the substantia nigra, less dopamine is produced in the brain. Dopamine production, which acts as a chemical messenger controlling coordination and movement, can dwindle, leaving Parkinson's patients with little ability to control movements in their hands, legs and face.

As new studies come out on the neurotoxic effects of chemical compounds like PCBs, professionals are beginning to make connections between environmental neurotoxins and cognitive decline in the elderly. As the brain's neuron pathways are manipulated by environmental pollutants like PCBs and aspartame, it's becoming clear how synthetic chemicals can destroy the cognitive abilities of people as they age. Aspartame, which excites neuron cells to death, could have a role in destroying brain function as people age. PCBs, which were banned decades ago, continue to show up in people's tissue samples today. Both chemicals affect expressions in the brain.

Two Chinese medicines can protect vulnerable neuron cell deaths

In a time when people are assaulted worldwide by environmental pollutants, there are positives. One study shows how two herbal Chinese medicines help protect the brain from neuron death.
This study, published in the Neural Regeneration Research, reports that kidney-toning Chinese medicines, such as Herba Epimedii (Epimedium leaf) and Herba Cistanches (desert-living Cistanche) have the ability to protect nerve cells by regulating expressions of neurotrophic and apoptosis related factors.

In the study, four groups of Wistar rats were treated in the gastrointestinal tract with three Chinese herbal medicines and a control of distilled water. The herbal medicines included were cistanche, epimedium and dodder seed. A set amount of each medicine was given to cultured neural MES23.5 cells for 24-hour periods on 14 consecutive days. After each 24-hour treatment, the neural cells were incubated in a hydrogen peroxide solution for three hours as they were exposed to damage.

The results showed that each herbal medicine improved the survival rate of hydrogen peroxide-injured MES 23.5 cells.

The medicines also inhibited cell death expression of FasL and caspase-3 and stopped apoptotic Bcl-2 expression.

The results of the enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay were also promising.

Herba Cistanches and Herba Epimedii treatments increased expressions of nerve growth and brain-derived neurotrophic factors. In injured MES23.5 cells, the two kidney-toning medicines increased expressions of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factors.

In short, two of the herbal medicines studied not only tone the kidneys but can regulate the expression of DNA in nerve cells, halting cell death associated with Parkinson's disease.

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