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Thunder God Vine: Chinese Herb Might Help Obese Lose Weight

Thunder God Vine Study

An early Chinese herbal medicine has been showing great promise in early clinical trials as a potential tool for weight loss, giving added hope to those afflicted with obesity.

A new study conducted on mice and an extract made from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine called “Thunder God Vine” indicates that the herbal remedy might help with weight loss. In the study, the researchers found that obese mice, which were given high doses of the extract for one week, ate 80 percent less food compared to mice that did not receive the compound. After three weeks, the mice treated with the compound lost 45 percent of their body weight, while mice in the comparison group did not lose any weight.

Study author Umut Ozcan, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, indicated that the substance appears to work by enhancing a fat-derived hormone called leptin which signals to the body that it has enough fuel and energy. Humans lacking leptin can eat voraciously and can become morbidly obese.

Ozcan was quoted in a Washington Post report as having said that “during the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed.”

During the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed. The message from this study is that there is still hope for making leptin work

However, it is not clear whether the extract will work in humans the same way as it does in rodents. Dr. Eric Newman, a radiology resident at Jacobi Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the study, was quoted by Discovery News as having said that “mice and humans are not the same.”

In the study, Ozcan found that with only one week of treatment with an extract made from Thunder God Vine, which they called Celastrol, the mice reduced their food intake by 80 percent as compared with those who did not receive the extract. Three weeks later, those mice had lost nearly half of their initial body weight.

The results were even more effective than a drastic measure used to reduce weight: Bariatric surgery. In addition, scientists reported that they saw other positive health effects ranging from decreased cholesterol levels to improved liver functions.

While the team did not find any toxic side-effects of the extract in mice, the researchers have strongly cautioned that more studies are necessary in order to demonstrate the compound’s safety in humans.

“Celastrol is found in the roots of the Thunder God Vine in small amounts, but the plant’s roots and flowers have many other compounds,” Ozcan said. “As a result, it could be dangerous for humans.”

Still, if the results are confirmed in human studies, the herbal remedy could prove to “be a powerful way to treat obesity and improve the health of many patients suffering from obesity and associated complications, such as heart disease, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes,” according to Ozcan.

In other ancient herbal remedy coverage here at Immortal News, researchers have found a traditional European folk medicine derived from a herb known as roseroot which could treat depression better than conventional medicines.

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