HKBU study finds Chinese herbal medicine Uncaria rhynchophylla effective in treating Parkinson’s disease
Basic research and a pilot clinical study conducted by the School of Chinese Medicine has found the Chinese herbal medicine “Uncaria rhynchophylla” (Gouteng) or prescriptions containing Gouteng, to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease and the side effects of Parkinson’s disease treatment resulting from Western medicine. The research team has applied for a US patent for this research result, and will soon start the second phase of the clinical study with the support of a research grant from the Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government.
The research was conducted by a team led by Dr. Li Min, Associate Professor of the Teaching Division of the School. The researchers identified an active compound Isorhynchophylline (IsoRhy) in the Chinese herbal medicine Uncaria rhynchophylla as a potential neuronal autophagy inducer which promoted the clearance of the pathogenic protein alpha-synuclein in the neurons of patients with Parkinson’s disease. This unique function of IsoRhy could contribute to the therapeutic action of Uncaria rhynchophylla in Parkinson’s disease.
Based on the pharmacological research, Dr. Li’s team conducted a pilot clinical study on the efficacy of a Chinese medicine prescription “JWLJZT” which contained Uncaria rhynchophylla (Gouteng), Codonopsis pilosula (Dangshen), Poria cocos (Fuling), Atractylodes macrocephala (Baizhu) and Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Gancao) for treating Parkinson’s disease patients. From 2007 to 2009, researchers observed the therapeutic efficacy of JWLJZT on 47 patients, aged from 50 to 74 years old, who had been suffering from the disease for 18 months to 11 years and who had been taking the same type of Western medicine.
During the 24-week clinical research period, patients continued to take the same dosage of Western medications. Among them, 22 also took “JWLJZT” and the other 25 took a placebo. The study revealed that patients who received the Chinese medicine treatment had made significant improvements in their communication skills, and their non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, constipation and poor appetite had been greatly relieved. In addition, no obvious side effects were found in both groups during the study period.
Dr. Li said the research results were encouraging: “They provide not only pharmacological proof of the efficacy of Gouteng in treating Parkinson’s disease, but will also help promote the effectiveness and safety of Chinese medicine to the international medical arena.” Dr. Li also extended her heartfelt thanks to Eu Yan Sang (Hong Kong) Limited for its generous support of HK$2 million to this clinical research.
With the grant of around HK$600,000 from the Food and Health Bureau, the team will commence the second phase of the clinical study soon. Parkinson’s disease patients aged between 18 and 80 are invited to participate in this 40-week clinical research. For enrollment, please contact Mr. Choi (Tel: 6700 8538 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
研究團隊最近獲香港食物及衛生局約港幣六十萬元的研究經費資助，以進行第二階段為期四十星期的臨床研究，歡迎十八至八十歲的原發性帕金遜症患者參加，報名請聯絡蔡先生（電話：6700 8538 電郵：email@example.com）。