NOV 17, 2021 3:30 PM PST

Native American Plant Extract Treats Pain and Diarrhea

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Plants with a long history of use as topical analgesics by Native Americans may also be helpful against diarrhea. The corresponding study was published in Frontiers in Physiology by researchers led by the University of California, Irvine in the US. 

Native Americans are known for their proficient use of plant medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Now, in collaboration with the US National Parks Service, researchers are screening native plants in the US for their molecular potential to treat different medical conditions. 

In the first paper published from this effort, researchers have found that some of these plants activate the KCNQ2/3 potassium channel, which is thought to ease pain by inhibiting pain signals. They also found that the same plant extracts have an inhibitory effect on an intestinal potassium channel known as KCNQ1-KCNE3. Previous studies have found that inhibition of this channel prevents diarrhea. 

The researchers say that their findings are still some time away from becoming drugs available to the public. The next step is to use biochemical approaches to ensure their safety and optimize them to treat pain and diarrhea. 

Such naturally-derived drugs may one day provide alternatives to opioid-based analgesics. They may also offer alternative treatment options for those suffering from diarrheal diseases, which account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide. 

“Done in collaboration with the US National Parks Service, this study illustrates how much there is still to learn from the medicinal practices of Native Americans, and how, by applying molecular mechanistic approaches we can highlight their ingenuity, provide molecular rationalizations for their specific uses of plants, and potentially uncover new medicines from plants,” said Geoffrey Abbott, Ph.D., lead author of the study. 

“I personally am very excited about the paper; it was my lab’s first published collaboration with the National Park Service, and it shines a light on the incredible ingenuity and medicinal wisdom of Californian Native American tribes,” he added. 

 

Sources: Frontiers in PhysiologyNeuroscience News

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
JUL 16, 2022
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
Oxytocin nasal sprays do not improve the recognition of emotions such as anger and sadness in healthy men without autism ...
AUG 31, 2022
Health & Medicine
Study Finds CBD is Effective for Young People with Drug Resistant Anxiety
AUG 31, 2022
Study Finds CBD is Effective for Young People with Drug Resistant Anxiety
A pilot study conducted by Orygen (Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health) and published in the A ...
SEP 11, 2022
Plants & Animals
Potential Treatment for Chagas Disease
SEP 11, 2022
Potential Treatment for Chagas Disease
Chagas disease is a condition caused by a parasitic infection; specifically, the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), ...
SEP 17, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Daily Multivitamin May Slow Down Cognitive Decline in Older Adults
SEP 17, 2022
Daily Multivitamin May Slow Down Cognitive Decline in Older Adults
Daily multivitamins may slow down cognitive decline among older adults. The corresponding study was published in Alzheim ...
SEP 27, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
New Research Elucidates the Mechanism of Skin Cancer Metastasis to the Brain and Points to Groundbreaking Treatment
SEP 27, 2022
New Research Elucidates the Mechanism of Skin Cancer Metastasis to the Brain and Points to Groundbreaking Treatment
In advanced stages of skin cancer, patients develop brain metastases about 90% of the time. Though this is one of the mo ...
SEP 30, 2022
Technology
Microbots Created with Algae Cells Deliver Antibiotics Directly to the Lungs
SEP 30, 2022
Microbots Created with Algae Cells Deliver Antibiotics Directly to the Lungs
Pneumonia is a common lung affliction. While a range of things can cause pneumonia, one of the most common include bacte ...
Loading Comments...