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New Approach Explains How Traditional Chinese, Indian Medicines Work

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People have been treated - and healed - by ancient Chinese medicines and by Indian Ayurvedic compounds for thousands of years. But because modern science has not understood how these traditional techniques worked, many doctors have been reluctant to incorporate them into their practices, or use them to formulate new and more effective drugs.

Now, an international team of researchers has developed a new procedure for analyzing how substances used by these traditional healers actually work in the body -- their so-called mode of action, or MOA. This approach allows scientists to predict how the active chemical ingredients in traditional medicines affect biological processes, and what side effects they might have.

In their report, published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, the researchers explain how compounds used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda affected inflammation and cancer.

The researchers say this new understanding removes a major barrier to tapping the healing potentials of ancient medical knowledge.

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