If you or someone you know is an ex-smoker aged between 40 and 80 who suffers from shortness of breath and chronic cough, participation in a pioneering study on ginseng for lung disease could provide some relief from symptoms.
For over 2000 years Chinese herbs have been used to treat disease. Researchers at RMIT University and four Victorian Hospitals are undertaking ground breaking research into the use of the traditional Chinese herb ginseng for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.
These diseases are a growing health problem worldwide. In Australia, more than 1.2 million people are affected and currently there is no cure from any common Western medical treatments.
Professor Charlie Xue, Director of the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research Program at RMIT’s Health Innovations Research Institute, said there has been increasing interest in complementary and alternative medicine for the management of COPD.
In Chinese herbal medicine, Ginseng has been used for thousands of years to treat breathlessness, fatigue as well as debilitation and reduced mental and physical capacities due to chronic illness.
“Our research is looking at patients in the early stages of COPD to determine whether herbal medicine can improve their condition. Historically, ginseng has been used to improve lung, digestive and immune functions, and to increase general wellbeing. We want to determine whether, and to what degree, ginseng can improve lung function and quality of life for COPD patients.”
“Laboratory trials have shown ginseng has great potential – not only for its quality and safety but also its efficacy in treating the symptoms of COPD,” Professor Xue said.
The research is funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Complementary Medicine.
Ex-smokers aged 40-80 who suffer from shortness of breath and chronic cough are needed for the trial, which is running until the end of 2013.
Volunteers who meet the relevant criteria are randomly assigned to receive 24 weeks of treatment with either ginseng or placebo capsules. The study has been approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee.
To find out more, or to volunteer, contact the Trial Coordinator at RMIT University: by phone, (03) 9925 6527, or email, email@example.com.
Johannah Shergis is a Clinical Researcher at the School of Health Sciences, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, RMIT University.
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