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
  • 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
NOV 16, 2021
Health & Medicine
Psilocybin and Cannabis to Treat Anxiety and Addiction
NOV 16, 2021
Psilocybin and Cannabis to Treat Anxiety and Addiction
Johns Hopkins University Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research just received a $4.9 million grant to study h ...
NOV 24, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A prescription digital therapeutic to treat alcohol use disorders
NOV 24, 2021
A prescription digital therapeutic to treat alcohol use disorders
Can a software application be used treat alcohol use disorders? The medical technology company Pear Therapeutics is ...
DEC 02, 2021
Immunology
New mRNA Vaccine Stops Ticks, Prevents Lyme Disease
DEC 02, 2021
New mRNA Vaccine Stops Ticks, Prevents Lyme Disease
Yale University researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine against ticks that could help prevent Lyme disease. This is a ...
DEC 29, 2021
Plants & Animals
The Blueprint for a Potential Dog Allergy Vaccine
DEC 29, 2021
The Blueprint for a Potential Dog Allergy Vaccine
Dog allergies are becoming increasingly common; some estimates suggest that 10-20% of the world’s population has s ...
JAN 20, 2022
Health & Medicine
Transverse Myelitis Listed as a Side Effect of AstraZeneca's Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccine, Recommended for J&J's Vaccine
JAN 20, 2022
Transverse Myelitis Listed as a Side Effect of AstraZeneca's Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccine, Recommended for J&J's Vaccine
After reviewing data, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concludes there is a likely causal relationship between the UK ...
JAN 20, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Review Finds Improved Transparency Among Antidepressant Drug Trials
JAN 20, 2022
Review Finds Improved Transparency Among Antidepressant Drug Trials
Trials relating to newly developed antidepressant drugs are becoming more transparent. The corresponding study was publi ...
Loading Comments...