Ancient Chinese medicine could boost cancer therapy

An ancient Chinese remedy for gastrointestinal problems may spare cancer patients the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy drugs, and boost the effectiveness of treatment, new research suggests.

The 1800 year-old recipe, called Huang Qin Tang, consists of a mix of flowers from the Chinese skullcap plant, extract of peonies, liquorice, and the fruit of the buckthorn tree.

The remedy has been used for years to treat stomach upsets and nausea. Now, researchers at start-up pharmaceutical company PhytoCeutica and Yale University School of Medicine, both in Connecticut, have shown that the blend can also aid cancer treatment, reducing diarrhea and gut damage caused by chemotherapy in colon and rectal cancer patients.

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