Purple Periwinkle May Dampen Inflammation

ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 5 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say a plant extract may battle inflammatory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers at New York’s University of Rochester Medical Center say a plant extract from purple periwinkles — vinpocetine — may someday be used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases including those linked to cardiovascular disease.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds vinpocetine behaves as a potent anti-inflammatory agent in a mouse model of lung inflammation as well as in several types of human cells and unlike steroids, does not seem to cause severe side effects.

“What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine’s excellent safety profile,” senior author Chen Yan says in a statement. “Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We’re very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.”

Vinpocetine is a product currently used in Europe, Japan and China as a dietary supplement to prevent and treat cognitive disorders.

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