Here’s an example of West meeting East for treatment of cancer. An ancient four-herb formula used in China for 1,800 years might one day be available as a prescription pill to treat side effects caused by cancer chemotherapy.
Huang Qin Tang is made with peonies, a flower called skullcap, licorice and fruit from a buckthorn tree. The Chinese medicine has been used for diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and cramps, which happen to be side effects associated with certain chemotherapy drugs.
Now research from Yale University, suggests a Western capsule version of this ancient medicine may reduce gut damage caused by chemotherapy in colon and rectal cancer patients. It apparently works by reducing inflammation and enhancing the recovery of damage to tissue.
The drug is now in preliminary clinical trials in the U.S., and Cheng says early results have been encouraging. The research is part of a growing effort to understand and Westernize Chinese medicine.