According to a recent study, the herbal remedy daikenchuto, which contains ginger, pepper, ginseng, and maltose, guards the gut against inflammatory bowel disease.
Zhengzheng Shi and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Japan reveal the advantages of a traditional herbal remedy for colitis, one of the two conditions that make up inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, which was released in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, shows that daikenchuto (DKT), a herbal remedy made of ginger, pepper, ginseng, and maltose, lessened the severity of colitis in lab mice by preserving crucial gut bacteria and by increasing the number of immune cells that fight colon inflammation.
Chronic colon inflammation known as colitis is brought on by an aberrant immune reaction and a bacterial imbalance in the gut. In the last 20 years, the prevalence has more than doubled, and it is now a major worldwide health issue, especially in Europe and North America. Despite the abundance of available treatments, they are only partially successful. This has led some scientists to research conventional herbal medicines, which were first used in China and are now often used in Japan and other Asian countries.
A mixture known as Daikenchuto (DKT) has specific amounts of ginseng, ginger, pepper, and maltose. It is one of the 148 herbal medications produced in Japan under the name Kampo that are frequently given by physicians to treat various ailments. DKT may be helpful in the treatment of colitis, according to the prior study, although the data is lacking, especially at the molecular level. Shi examined its effects on a mouse model of colitis as part of a team at RIKEN IMS directed by Naoko Satoh-Takayama.
Dextran sodium sulfate, which is harmful to the cells lining the colon, was used to induce colitis in mice. After taking DKT, the body weights of these mice stayed normal, and their levels of clinical colitis improved. An additional investigation found that the cells lining the colon had considerably less damage. After demonstrating that DKT does, in fact, aid in the prevention of colitis, the researchers examined the mice’s gut microbiomes and the levels of expression of immune cells that fight inflammation.
The gut microbiome contains a wide variety of bacteria and fungi that help digestion and the immune system. This study’s colitic animals had lower levels of a particular family of lactic acid bacteria, which is in line with the theory that colitis is caused by an imbalance in these gut microbiota, according to analysis. The short-chain fatty acid propionate, one of their metabolites, was also lowered. Many of these missing bacteria, particularly those from the species Lactobacillus, were found when the model mice were given DKT, and the propionate levels stabilized.
Additionally, an aberrant immune response that results in typical intestinal inflammation is linked to colitis. When the scientists looked at innate intestinal immune cells, they found that ILC3 levels were lower in the colitic animals that had not undergone DKT treatment than in the colonic mice that had. They also found that ILC3-deficient mice suffered more and responded less well to DKT treatment. Therefore, DKT interacts with ILC3s, which are crucial for avoiding colitis, to carry out their activity. The GPR43 propionate receptors were present on the surface of these important immune cells, according to qPCR analyses.
Daikenchuto is widely prescribed, according to Satoh-Takayama, to prevent and treat digestive disorders as well as to minimize intestinal blockage after colon cancer surgery. They have shown that it can help treat gastrointestinal diseases like colitis by adjusting the levels of lactobacillus in the gut microbiome. Encouraging the function of type 3 innate lymphoid cells probably reduces inflammatory immune responses.
Written By Dylan Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson
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