Traditional Chinese plant shows healing powers in kidney stone treatment

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In the Dai minority region of China, a plant called Hei Gai Guan has been traditionally used to treat urinary issues like infections and kidney stones.

This plant is known scientifically as Aspidopterys obcordata. Local people have used it for a long time to help with these problems, believing in its healing properties.

Researchers have been interested in this plant because of its use in traditional medicine.

They noticed that a specific component from the plant, referred to as AOFOS (short for Aspidopterys obcordata fructo oligosaccharide), seemed to stop the growth of the kind of crystals that make up kidney stones.

These stones are not just painful; they can cause serious health issues.

Understanding how to prevent or treat kidney stones using plants like Hei Gai Guan could be a huge breakthrough. However, scientists didn’t know much about how plant substances like AOFOS worked against kidney stones.

To get a better understanding, a team of researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, decided to study this in detail.

They published their findings in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The team used rats to see if the AOFOS from Hei Gai Guan could really prevent or treat kidney stones.

The researchers created a model in rats that mimicked human kidney stones. They then gave these rats different amounts of AOFOS and observed what happened.

Their experiments combined practical experiments on how crystals form with advanced calculations to predict how AOFOS interacts with the substances that form stones.

Their findings were promising. They found that AOFOS could indeed prevent the formation of kidney stones in rats.

It seemed to work by traveling to the urinary system, where it could do its job. A small dose of AOFOS was effective in treating the rats’ kidney stones. However, when they increased the dosage, it didn’t work as well.

The scientists also tested how the urine of treated rats could prevent stones from forming.

They found that under acidic conditions, the formation of the stone crystals was slow, and the crystals were smaller. But as the urine became less acidic (higher pH), the crystals grew faster and were larger, which is not good.

This led to an important discovery. By controlling the way these plant sugars interact with calcium and oxalate in urine, they could prevent the crystals that form kidney stones from growing.

Essentially, the AOFOS helped by keeping the environment in the urine less favorable for stones to form.

One of the researchers, Xu Youkai, mentioned that this study helps us understand how AOFOS from Hei Gai Guan could be used to prevent or treat kidney stones.

It’s an exciting step forward in using traditional knowledge and modern science together to solve a painful and common health issue.

The hope is that this kind of research will lead to new, natural treatments for kidney stones that are based on traditional uses of plants. It’s a great example of how ancient wisdom and modern science can come together to improve health care.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about pesticide linked to chronic kidney disease, and this drug may prevent kidney failure in people with diabetes.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about drug duo that may treat kidney failure, and results showing these vegetables may protect against kidney damage.

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