TCM herb found to be effective at treating pancreatitis

Traditional Chinese medicinal herb Spatholobus suberectus was found to be an effective treatment for pancreatitis, according to a study. In addition, when combined with heparin, it was revealed to enhance the drugs protective effect against pancreatitis.

A team of researchers from the Capital Medical University Beijing in China analyzed the effect of Spatholobus suberectus stem extract in the treatment of pancreatitis alone and in combination with heparin. Spatholobus suberectus is traditionally used in China for managing disorders, such as rheumatism, anemia, and abnormal menstruation. It is reported to contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-platelet properties. Therefore, the researcher team tried to look at the potential beneficial effects of the traditional Chinese medicinal herb on pancreatitis.

For the study, the research team carried out a study on rats. They induced pancreatitis by treating the rats with cerulean five times at an interval of one hour without any pre-treatment of drug. The now pancreatitis-induced rats were given Spatholobus suberectus and heparin alone and in combination for a week.

Results showed that rats treated with Spatholobus suberectus alone and in combination with heparin increased the prothrombin time and pancreatic blood flow compared to the control group. Moreover, the researchers observed a decrease in concentration of IL-1? and D-dimer and activity of amylase and lipase in the Spatholobus suberectus and heparin-treated group – these act as mediators to the prevention of the synthesis of DNA, causing damage to pancreatic cells. A histopathology study also showed that treatment with Spatholobus suberectus and heparin alone and in combination reduces edema, hemorrhages, leukocyte infiltration in the TS of pancreatic tissues.

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In conclusion, the findings of the study revealed that treatment with Spatholobus suberectus alone is effective in managing pancreatitis by stopping the inflammatory pathway. In addition, it enhances the protective effect of heparin against pancreatitis. The findings of the study were published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines.

More on pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is defined as the inflammation of the pancreas – a long, flat gland located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas is responsible for the production of enzymes that aid in digestion and hormones that help in the regulation of how the body processes sugar. There are two types of pancreatitis – acute and chronic. It can develop as acute pancreatitis, which appears suddenly but only lasts for day. On the other hand, it can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which occurs for a long period of time and can get worse overtime, resulting to lasting damage.

The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis depend on which type a person experiences. With acute pancreatitis, a person may encounter upper abdominal pain, abdominal pain that radiates to the back, abdominal pain that feels worse after eating, fever, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, or tenderness when the abdomen is touched. Meanwhile, a person with chronic pancreatitis may experience upper abdominal pain, sudden weight loss, and oily, smelly stools or steatorrhea.

Pancreatitis can be a result of excessive alcohol consumption, gallstones, abdominal surgery, certain medications, cigarette smoking, cystic fibrosis, family history of pancreatitis, high levels of calcium in the blood, high triglyceride levels in the blood, infection, injury to the abdomen, and pancreatic cancer. The disease can lead to severe complications, such as pseudocyst, infection, kidney failure, breathing problems, diabetes, malnutrition, and pancreatic cancer. (Related: Fresh vegetable diet protects against pancreatitis and risk of pancreatic cancer.)

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