FDA OKs CLINICAL TRIALS FOR HERBAL FOLK REMEDIES

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Pharmacists maysoon be filling prescriptionsfor mushrooms,roots, and berries,if the Universityof Minnesota drug researchersare able toscientifically validate the effectivenessof a number of legendary folk remedies.

Although volumes of case historieshave been written about the success ofherbal remedies in treating various disorders,the lack of rigorous clinical testingof these substances have renderedthem out of the mainstream of themodern pharmacy's arsenal. The tests,being conducted by the University'sCenter for Spirituality and Healing,could change the status of 3 promisingherbal remedies, each of which hasbeen granted Investigational New Drugstatus by the FDA—a step that allowsthe remedies to be tested on humans.

Three separate clinical trials have beenapproved as part of the project: (1)treating breast cancer patients withturkey tail mushroom—a remedy believedto activate cells of the immunesystem that attack cancer cells; (2) testingwhether tea tree oil can speedthe healing of foot wounds in patientswith diabetes by controlling staphylococcusinfections; (3) involving a teaprepared from a mixture of 4 herbsand a mushroom to control hot flashesin menopausal women.