Herbal anti-malaria drug may help in controlling asthma

Herbal drug for asthmaA common herbal anti-malarial drug can be used to control asthma, significant research shows.

According to researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS), the 'artesunate' herbal drug can herald better treatment outcomes than other asthma drugs currently available.

The team studied the therapeutic effects of artesunate against oxidative stress and oxidative lung damage which are major inflammatory events that contribute to the severity of asthma attacks.

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They found that artesunate could better prevent oxidative lung damage, a major molecular inflammatory event in asthmatic lungs, than clinically-used corticosteroid called dexamethasone.

'Artesunate can be used to better control asthma with improved outcomes and lesser adverse effects than currently available drugs,' said Fred Wong, associate professor at department of pharmacology at NUS.

The study suggests that the patients may eventually be able to adopt artesunate as a safer and more effective alternative to control their asthma.

The team led by Eugene Ho Wanxing, a Ph.D. graduate from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS, will further explore the therapeutic and pharmacological effects of artesunate for asthma, as well as for other medical conditions.

This discovery appeared in the journal Metabolomics.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease of the airways which makes breathing difficult. It is caused by inflammation of the air passages that make them narrow temporarily. Symptoms of narrowing airways include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. There can be several triggers or factors that can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. Common factors include dust, mites, pollen, smoke, pollution, weather changes, cold & cough and respiratory infections. Asthma can be broadly categorised into two categories specific and non-specific. Specific asthma is caused by breathing in allergens or irritants while non-specific asthma is caused by exercise, weather or genetic predisposition. The exact cause of asthma is not known but it is seen in families having a history of asthma. Some children get diagnosed with asthma but their symptoms may disappear in teenage years. This condition is called childhood asthma. For some people, asthma can be a chronic condition, where prolonged inflammation can cause permanent narrowing of airways. A severe onset of asthma symptoms of is called asthma attack. It may require hospitalisation and can often be life-threatening. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be managed well with a number of treatment options aimed at relieving the symptoms and preventing the occurrence of severe asthma attacks. In this section, you'll find detailed information on causes, diagnosis and treatment options for asthma. You can also read specific articles like management of asthma in children, home remedies for asthma, drugs for asthma and useful tips to prevent asthma.

With Inputs from IANS

Image source: Getty Images

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