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Chinese herbal medicine effective against asthma

A plant-based compound using extracts of three herbs, dubbed the anti-asthma herbal medicine intervention (ASHMI), significantly improves lung function in patients with moderate to severe asthma. Moreover, the agent produces results comparable to those achieved with the steroid drug prednisone, according to researchers in the United States and China.

"This is the first well-controlled study in which an anti-asthma Chinese herbal medicine has been found to be as effective as a corticosteroid drug," senior investigator Dr. Xiu-Min Li told Reuters Health.

In the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Li of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York and colleagues note that ASHMI has shown benefit in mouse studies of asthma. It is a simplified version of a 14-herb based traditional medication used to treat asthma in a Beijing hospital.