Last month researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center announced the discovery of a natural way to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD with the purple periwinkle. The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May. Chronic diseases associated with inflammation are a serious problem for millions of Americans because of the need to use steroids for treatment. Steroids are effective in relieving the symptoms but can damage the liver and lower the immune system when used regularly.The naturally occurring component, vinpocetine, found in the Purple Periwinkle appears to be a safe alternative. “What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine’s excellent safety profile,” explained Chen Yan, Ph.D., a senior author of the study and associate professor at the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center. “Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We’re very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.” “In managing chronic conditions such as COPD, it is crucial to have a therapy that can be used safely over the long term,” said Jian-Dong Li, M.D., Ph.D., another senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a senior author of the study. “There is a great need for a drug like vinpocetine, because patients currently have no good options when it comes to long-term care.”
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