Sunday, March 6, 2011

Old Folk Remedy & Treatment for Herpes: A Closer Look at Tansy

By Laura Huamán

Found in mainland Europe and Asia, Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a flowering plant that has been used as a home treatment for conditions ranging from fevers to rheumatism to herpes. A team of researchers in Britain and Spain decided to look at the antiviral properties of this plant. The results were published in Phytotherapy Research.

The study found that, contrary to previous suggestions, parthenolide is not a major anti HSV-1 component of tansey. Instead, they found that tansy contains other known antiviral agents: 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (3,5-DCQA) and well as axillarin. The plant, therefore, has multiple properties which give tansey its antiviral activity and the potential to treat the dermatological lesions caused by HSV.

Researchers admitted that the specific molecular targets for tansy extract still require further research. Nevertheless, professor Parra from Spain’s Universidad de Oviedo stated that the findings “shows that systematic pharmacological and phytochemical studies such as this can play pivotal roles in the modernization of European traditional herbal medicines."

I would argue that, more broadly, scientists should continue to look at different cultures’ traditional herbal medicines as sources for potential treatment interventions.

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