Chinese medicine offers new Parkinson’s treatments | New Scientist

A hooked herb, root extract and a dash of bark – it may sound like a witches’ brew, but these compounds could provide treatments for diseases that have so far foiled western doctors, such as Parkinson’s and irritable bowel syndromeFor over 2000 years Chinese doctors have treated “the shakes” – now known as Parkinson’s disease – with gou teng, a herb with hook-like branches.\r\n\r\nEarly this year, 115 people with Parkinson’s were given a combination of traditional Chinese medical herbs, including gou teng, or a placebo for 13 weeks. At the end of the study, volunteers who had taken the herbs slept better and had more fluent speech than those taking the placebo.\r\n\r\nGou teng appears to stabilise symptoms, says Li Min, a traditional Chinese doctor at Hong Kong Baptist University. Now, Li and her colleagues have figured out how it might work.