NEW YORK—A study published online in the Journal of Medicinal Plants reveals that the Tuatuan Paripari plant, a medicinal plant with a rich medicinal history in Papua New Guinea, can be used as an abortifacients for miscarriages and stillbirths.
“The research on the medicinal properties of the plant is extensive,” said the study’s lead author, James H. Schumacher, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“It has been a long-standing interest for me that the plant has the ability to act as a ‘therapeutic abortifacer’ for miscarries, stillbirth and other potentially life-threatening conditions.
This study provides a valuable new perspective on how the plant can act as an alternative method for abortifacing a miscarriage or stillbirth.”
The Tuatu Pariparia plant, which is native to Papua New Guineas and the Cook Islands, is one of four medicinal plants used in Papua for a variety of conditions including hemorrhagic fever, toxoplasmosis, malaria, bacterial infections and more.
The Tuataras plant was also the source of a drug that was approved for use in the U.S. as a treatment for toxoplasma infection.
The new research, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted at the UW’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the UW Botanical Garden, with support from the National Science Foundation.
Schusacher’s team was able to use the plant’s extract, a compound called cineole, to help treat hemorrhagic fevers and other life-or-death situations in animals.
“We found that cineoles active in this way could be an effective abortiface for hemorrhagic infections and toxoplasias,” said Schusachers team member Emily B. Clark, a UW Botanic Garden graduate student.
“When cineols were injected into a mouse model, the mice became lethargic and died within minutes.”
The researchers also observed that the cineol extract could inhibit the development of new genes and inhibit the growth of other cells in the body.
In addition, cineolic acid, a component of the catechin plant, inhibited the growth and migration of bacteria.
“While the cinole and cineolics in the extract did not affect cell proliferation, the cino-tocopherol extract inhibited the development and migration, and the cicotinate, a fatty acid, inhibited bacterial growth,” said Clark.
The cineoid extract, on the other hand, increased the proliferation and migration in the lungs of the mice treated with cineolas.
The research also revealed that the extract inhibited both the production of proteins and cell death in the lung.
“These results show that cinoles and cinosterols can act together as an effective anti-oxidant for miscarried fetuses, stillborn infants, and other types of miscarriages,” said Dr. Thomas A. Toth, a former UW Botanist and now professor of medicine and biological sciences at the Columbia University School of Medicine.
The researchers believe that cicoteoles may be more effective than cineones in preventing miscarriages, still births and other severe life-altering conditions.
“There are several other medicinal plant compounds, such as cinocarbons, that can inhibit cell death,” said H.J. Schumsacher.
“But cineolarones, like cinoterpenoids, are thought to be more efficient in blocking cell death.”
The study was funded in part by grants from the U, the UO and the National Cancer Institute.
This work was supported by grants awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Howard F. Hughes Medical Institutes, the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Research Resources and the American Cancer Society.
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