New science: Can a traditional Chinese herbal pill be used to recover brain function in stroke patients?

Huatou Zaizao pill (HT), a traditional Chinese treatment, is used to promote recovery and rehabilitation from ischemic stroke. A study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looks into the exact mechanisms behind HT’s benefits.

  • Previous studies on the benefits of HT suggest that it can inhibit the aggregation of platelets and the development of thromboses that lead to ischemic stroke. The treatment also has protective properties beneficial to neurons and glial cells and can improve neural function in recovering patients.
  • The researchers believed HT promoted neurogenesis, allowing it to contribute to rehabilitating stroke survivors.
  • They divided rats into five groups: sham group, model group, and three HT groups receiving varied doses of the traditional treatment (500 g/kg, 1,000 g/kg, and 2,000 g/kg). The rats, except for those in the sham group, were given surgery to cause cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury and induce an ischemic stroke. The HT groups were administered treatment for seven days.
  • They assessed the animals’ functional recovery through cylinder test, beam walking test, and adhesive test. They evaluated neurogenesis using double immunofluorescence staining for 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine (EdU) and neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN). Indicators like proteins of kinase A (PKA), cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were assayed using western blotting. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to determine the level of BDNF mRNA.
  • The researchers noted improvements in functional recovery in the HT group compared to the model group. Neurogenesis was also greater in those rats treated with HT, as revealed in the enhanced expression of BDNF mRNA after three days of treatment. Expression of PKA phosphorylated CREB, and BDNF also rose considerably after seven days of treatment.

The researchers concluded that HT does promote both functional recovery and neurogenesis in patients, which justifies its use in rehabilitating stroke survivors.

Read the full text of this study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Duan S, Wang T, Zhang J, Li M, Lu C, Wang L, Zou Y, Fu F. HUATUO ZAIZAO PILL PROMOTES FUNCTIONAL RECOVERY AND NEUROGENESIS AFTER CEREBRAL ISCHEMIA-REPERFUSION IN RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1516-z

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