From Our 2008 Archives

Antsy Rheumatoid Arthritis Antidote?

Compounds in Chinese Ant May Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hepatitis, Scientists Say

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

April 24, 2008 — Will rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis meet their match in a certain type of Chinese ant?

The Chinese ant Polyrhacis lamellidens has painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in Chinese folk medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis, Chinese and Japanese researchers report.

Those scientists have now identified two substances, called polyrhacitides A and B, that may be responsible for the ants' effects. They discovered those substances by studying an extract made from the ants.

The researchers, who included Zhi-Hong Jiang, PhD, of the School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University, didn't test those ant extracts on arthritis or hepatitis patients. Their report appears in the April 25 edition of the Journal of Natural Products.

SOURCES: Jiang, Z. Journal of Natural Products, published online Feb. 26, 2008. DOI: 10.1021/np070558l. News release, American Chemical Society.

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