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How a Japanese herbal remedy guards the gastrointestinal tract from inflammatory bowel disease

The research, which was published in Frontiers in Immunology, demonstrates that DKT, a herbal remedy made up of ginger, pepper, ginseng, and maltose, lessened the severity of colitis in lab mice by preserving vital gut bacteria and boosting the number of immune cells that combat inflammation in the colon.

Colitis, causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract, is one of two disorders that make up inflammatory bowel disease.

Zhengzheng Shi and associates at the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Japan report on the effects of a typical herbal cure on colitis (IBD).

A persistent inflammation of the colon known as colitis is characterised by a bacterial imbalance in the gut and an inappropriate immunological response. Currently a global health concern, it has doubled in prevalence over the past 20 years and is most prevalent in Europe and North America. Although there are many different treatments, many are only partially successful. This has prompted some academics to examine traditional herbal remedies more closely, which were first used in China and are now widely utilised in Japan and other Asian nations.

One of the 148 herbal remedies known as Kampo that have been produced in Japan and are frequently given by doctors to treat a range of illnesses is Daikenchuto (DKT), a formula comprising particular proportions of ginger, pepper, ginseng, and maltose.

DKT may be helpful for treating colitis, although there isn’t much evidence to support this. As a result, Shi and the RIKEN IMS research team lead by Naoko Satoh-Takayama thoroughly investigated its results on a mouse model of colitis. Dextran sodium sulphate, which is harmful to the cells that lining the colon, was used to induce colitis in mice. These mice’s body weights remained normal after receiving DKT, and their clinical colitis scores decreased. The cells lining the colon had significantly less damage, according to additional study. 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 anti-inflammatory immune cell expression.

Numerous bacteria and fungus found in gut microbiomes support the immune system and aid in digestion.

Analysis revealed that a family of lactic acid bacteria was decreased in the colitic mice in this study, which is consistent with the idea that colitis is related to an imbalance in these gut microbiota. One of their metabolites, the short-chain fatty acid propionate, was also decreased. When the model mice were given DKT, many of these missing bacteria, especially those from the genus Lactobacillus, were recovered, and propionate levels returned to normal.

Additionally, an aberrant immune response that results in the typical intestinal inflammation is linked to colitis. When the team examined innate intestinal immune cells, they discovered that ILC3 levels were lower in the untreated colitic mice than in the colonic mice that had received DKT treatment. They also discovered that mice created to lack ILC3 suffered more and were not as responsive to DKT treatment. It follows that DKT functions by interacting with ILC3s, which are essential for preventing colitis. Last but not least, the qPCR analysis revealed that these significant immune cells carried GPR43 propionate receptors on their surface.

“Daikenchuto is commonly prescribed to prevent and treat gastrointestinal diseases, as well as for reducing intestinal obstruction after colorectal cancer surgery,” says Satoh-Takayama. “Here we have shown that it can also alleviate intestinal diseases like colitis by rebalancing Lactobacillus levels in the gut microbiome. This likely helps reduce inflammatory immune responses by promoting the activity of type 3 innate lymphoid cells.”

How a Japanese herbal remedy guards the gastrointestinal tract from inflammatory bowel disease

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