Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that impairs movement. People with this condition may experience tremors, mainly in the hands; bradykinesia or slowness of movement; rigidity or tightness in the limbs; and gait and balance problems.
In this study, a team of researchers from Germany and China looked at the neuroprotective effects of the Chinese goldthread in lab and animal models of Parkinson’s disease. The research team pre-treated the cell model of Parkinson’s disease with water extract of the Chinese goldthread.
Results showed that pre-treatment with the water extract of the Chinese goldthread resulted in significant increases in cell viability and intracellular ATP concentration. In addition, it attenuated programmed cell death. When the research team examined the alkaloids in the Chinese goldthread, they found that berberine and coptisine were the main active compounds responsible for the observed neuroprotective effect. However, the full extract of the Chinese goldthread was more effective than the tested single alkaloids. In the animal model of Parkinson’s disease, the Chinese goldthread improved motor functions and increased tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons.
With these findings, the research team concluded that Chinese goldthread and its main alkaloids could be used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. While Parkinson’s disease itself is not life-threatening, its complications can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from Parkinson’s as the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the rhizome of the Chinese goldthread is commonly used alone or in combination with other herbs to treat diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases. These include diabetes, diarrhea, ear infections, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriasis, and respiratory infections. (Related: Best of both worlds: Herbal blend of traditional Chinese and African medicines found to treat inflammation.)
Scientists have also found that Chinese goldthread shows promise in treating certain health problems, such as:
If you wish to try Chinese goldthread, consult a health professional first. The extracts of the Chinese goldthread’s roots can be found in many natural food stores. Dietary supplements containing the herb are also available online.
For more studies on Chinese goldthread and its potential health benefits, go to ChineseMedicine.news.