Chinese herbs may offer hope for spinal cord injuries

New research from Canada suggests that a Chinese herbal blend significantly improved the condition of rats who had undergone spinal chord injuries.

A Chinese herbal medicine significantly improved the condition of rats who had suffered spinal cord injuries, according to new research published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. The study was mentioned on

Scientists conducted the research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They did not reveal the exact ingredients of the Chinese herbal formula, Ji-Sui-Kang (JSK), but indicated that it included ginseng, rhizoma (chuan xiong), glycyrrhizae radix (gan cao), paeoniae alba radix (bai shao) and cinnamomi cortex (rou gui).

Researchers began treating rats with JSK immediately after injury. Within seven days, hind limb locomotor function was significantly better in the rats treated with the herbs compared to those rats that did not receive the herbs. JSK-treated rats continued to have better motor function than controls throughout the 21-day test period. Those animals appeared to support their weight better and have more coordinated movements than the rats that did not receive the herbs. "Our present study provides an important and necessary foundation for further studies of JSK," said co-lead investigator Shucui Jiang, MD, PhD, head of the Hamilton NeuroRestorative Group at McMaster University, in a release.

Last year, UCLA researchers discovered that a diet enriched with a popular omega-3 fatty acid and an ingredient in curry spice seemed to preserve walking ability in rats that have experienced damage to their spinal cords. The findings, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, suggest that these dietary supplements help repair nerve cells and maintain neurological function after degenerative damage to the neck.

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