Plant a bone

Plant-based treat­ment of os­teo­poro­sis is gain­ing ground. The Cen­tral Drug Re­search In­sti­tute is adding new di­men­sions to an­cient reme­dies

Down to Earth - - HEALTH - SUCHETANA SINHA |

Scan break you, lit­er­ally. OME DISEASES Os­teo­poro­sis is a med­i­cal con­di­tion in which the bones be­come brit­tle and frag­ile from loss of tis­sue. In In­dia, about 50 mil­lion peo­ple, both men and women, were ei­ther os­teo­porotic or had low bone mass, es­ti­mated the In­ter­na­tional Os­teo­poro­sis Foun­da­tion (iof ) in 2013. Cur­rent treat­ment pro­ce­dure uses hor­mone ther­apy with hu­man parathy­roid hor­mone (pth).But it is ex­pen­sive,and comes with po­ten­tial side ef­fects such as bone can­cer.

Plant-based ther­a­pies are offering al­ter­na­tives to pth. The Cen­tral Drug Re­search In­sti­tute (cdri), un­der the Coun­cil of Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search (csir),has ob­tained a com­pound, dal­bergiphe­nol, from shee­sham ( Dal­ber­gia sis­soo), a tim­ber tree,and is work­ing to mar­ket it as a nu­traceu­ti­cal, which is a blend of nu­tri­tion and phar­ma­ceu- tical el­e­ments. In­ves­ti­ga­tions con­ducted on mice, whose ovaries were re­moved to mimic con­di­tions of menopause,showed an in­crease in their bone biome­chan­i­cal strength.The sci­en­tists found that the frac­ture heal­ing pe­riod re­duced from 21 days to seven days.The find­ings were pub­lished on­line in the jour­nal, Menopause, in April this year.

Ayurvedic ori­gin

cdri also found that the ex­tract from the leaves of Hi­malayan elm ( Ul­mus wal­lichi­ana) has the po­ten­tial to treat bone loss, and can in­crease bone min­eral den­sity in women af­ter menopause. The re­search was able to es­tab­lish (in the rat model) that both th­ese plants can pro­mote the gen­er­a­tion of bone-forming cells called os­teoblast. “Our re­search was in­spired by th­ese plants, found in the Ku­maon re­gion, which have been

PRA­SOON PANDEY Ex­tracts from shee­sham leaves can be used as a rapid frac­ture-heal­ing agent, says Ritu Trivedi, se­nior sci­en­tist at CDRI

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