Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chinese Ants Show Promise in Fighting Arthritis, Other Diseases

(HealthDay News) -- Substances found in a type of Chinese ant may provide anti-inflammatory and painkilling benefits against several diseases, a new report says.

Chemists analyzing extracts from a Chinese medicinal ant, Polyrhacis lamellidens, found two polyketides, potent natural products that other studies have deemed as promising treatments for arthritis, bacterial infections and many other diseases. Polyketides are also found in plants, fungi and bacteria.

The findings, published in the April 25 issue of American Chemical Society's Journal of Natural Products, support Chinese folk medicine's practice of using ants as a health food or drink ingredient to treat conditions such as joint pain or hepatitis.

Researchers have long suspected this is due to substances in the ants, but the exact chemicals responsible for the medicinal effects have largely been unknown.

More information
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about alternative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

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