A folk remedy may be an effective treatment for the sexually transmitted disease herpes according to Dr Solomon Habtemariam from the University of Greenwich's School of Science.
Tansy, Tanacetum Vulgare, is a flowering plant found across mainland Europe and Asia. From the Middle Ages onwards the plant, whose folk names include Golden Buttons and Mugwort, has been used as a remedy for various conditions, from fevers to rheumatism. However, it's supposed medical benefits have always been questioned.
Joint work between research groups led by Dr Habtemariam from the School of Science at the University of Greenwich at Medway and Professor Francisco Parra at the Universidad de Oviedo in Spain, published in Phytotherapy Research, has revealed the clear potential of tansy as a treatment for herpes.
Dr Solomon Habtemariam says: "We have identified several compounds in the plant with strong antioxidant potential. Antioxidants are important for healing wounds and can be used to treat the skin eruptions and blister-like lesions or cold sores that are the symptoms of herpes. The drugs currently available to treat the disease are becoming less effective as the virus is developing resistance to them. Diseases such as genital herpes are also increasing due to immunosuppressive illnesses such as AIDS.
"Our studies have proved the scientific basis for many traditional medicinal plants. We are now able to identify even more structurally complex natural products and those that are present in plants in minute concentrations with our state-of-the-art analytical facilities. In collaboration with our international partners, we are searching for novel antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agents from natural sources."
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Nick DavisonPublic RelationsUniversity of Greenwich020 8331 8092
Ángel L. Álvarez, Solomon Habtemariam, Malindra Juan-Badaturuge, Caroline Jackson, Francisco Parra, "In vitro Anti HSV-1 and HSV-2 Activity of Tanacetum vulgare Extracts and Isolated Compounds: An Approach to their Mechanisms of Action," Phytotherapy Research, Wiley-Blackwell, DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3382
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 or 2. It is highly contagious and can be passed to others through intimate sexual contact. The disease is a long-term condition with an average rate of recurrence four or five times in the first two years. Over time the frequency of attacks decreases and the condition becomes less severe. It is a common condition particularly among young adults.
University of Greenwich
The University of Greenwich is a large university with three campuses - in Greenwich, at the Old Royal Naval College, a World Heritage site; in Avery Hill, south-east London, set among 86 acres of parkland; and in Medway, at an elegant Edwardian red-brick campus in Chatham Maritime. The university is home to a thriving community of nearly 29,000 students, one in five of them postgraduate, and combines strong regional, national and international links with a record for excellence in research and a mission for access to higher education.
The university carried out more than £15 million of research and consultancy for companies, research councils and other public and private bodies last year. The quality of the university's research work has been recognised in the award of three Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education. The university has also won four recent Times Higher Education awards.Alongside its major economic, social and cultural contribution, the university prides itself on its high standards of teaching, careers guidance and personal support. The two most recent Sunday Times University Guides have placed Greenwich at the top of the London league table for student satisfaction. In the 2011 Sunday Times Guide, Greenwich was ranked 26th overall for student satisfaction, placing it among the top quarter of all UK universities. Greenwich also topped the publication's national league table for student satisfaction in a variety of subjects including Civil, Chemical and other Engineering courses, Law, and Medical Sciences and Pharmacy. The Sunday Times added that students at the Greenwich campus "have some of the most exquisite university grounds in the country".People from more than 100 countries choose to study at Greenwich, as part of an international student community of 5,000. The university also has an extensive international network of partnerships with universities and overseas colleges.