A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine produces compounds which may help treat cancer and liver diseases, find a team of scientists. The research led by Professor Cathie Martin of the John Innes Centre revealed the secrets of a plant used as the traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese skullcap, Scutellaria baicalensis, otherwise known in Chinese medicine as Huang-Qin, is traditionally used as a treatment for fever, liver and lung complaints. Previous research on cells cultured in the lab has shown that certain compounds called flavones, found in the roots of this plant, not only have beneficial anti-viral and anti-oxidant effects, but they can also kill human cancers while leaving healthy cells untouched. ‘Flavones in leaves and flowers of Huang-Qin produce chrysin and its derived flavones which reduce tumor growth.’ In live animal models, these flavones have also halted tumour growth, offering hope that they may one day lead to effective cancer treatments, or even cures. As a group of compounds, the flavones are relatively well understood. But the beneficial flavones found in Huang-Qin roots, such as wogonin and baicalin, are different: a missing - OH (hydroxyl) group in their chemical structure left scientists scratching their heads as to how they were made in the plant. Lead author Cathie Martin explained that many flavones are synthesised using a compound called naringenin as a building block. But naringenin has this -OH group attached to it, and there is no known enzyme that will remove it to produce the flavones we find in Huang-Qin roots. Working in collaboration with Chinese scientists, Cathie and her team explored the possibility that Huang-Qin's root-specific flavones (RSFs) were made via a different biochemical pathway. Step-by-step, the scientists unravelled the mechanism involving new enzymes that make RSFs using a different building block called chrysin. "We believe that this biosynthetic pathway has evolved relatively recently in Scutellaria roots, diverging from the classical pathway that produces flavones in leaves and flowers, specifically to produce chrysin and its derived flavones," said Martin. The study is published in Science Advances. (ANI)Source: ANI << Major Inflammatory Players Revealed in Diabetic Kidney Disea... Zika Virus Linked To Another Brain Disease Similar To Multip... >> Recommended Reading Home Grown Herbs for Holistic Nutrition Creating a little kitchen garden at home is an immensely fulfilling way to incorporate healing herbs bundled with protective nutrients in the daily diets. READ MORE Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is a rapidly growing health problem in India. READ MORE Tumor Markers For Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis An ideal tumor marker for a cancer should be specific to that cancer and not generate false positive results. READ MORE Alcoholic Liver Disease Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Alcoholic Liver Disease. READ MORE Biliary Cirrhosis Biliary cirrhosis occurs due to obstruction to the flow of bile through bile ducts either within the liver or outside the liver. READ MORE Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result in complete cure of the disease if it is detected early. READ MORE Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. Hepatitis A vaccine is available that is 95% effective in preventing the disease. READ MORE Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk of morbidity is anywhere between 1.3% (in highly experienced centers) to 60%. READ MORE Milk Thistle Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication milk thistle is used in cases of liver diseases. READ MORE Wilson's Disease This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before other organs. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Post-Nasal Drip Iron Intake Calculator Noscaphene (Noscapine) More News on: Alcoholic Liver DiseaseLiver BiopsyHepatitis ALiverWilson's DiseaseBiliary CirrhosisMilk ThistleCurrent Treatments for Liver CancerFatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in IndiaLiving Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?