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Human neutrophils were studied in vitro in the presence of the herbal preparation Padma-28. At concentrations higher than 0.3 mg/ml, the Padma-28 induced O2- production in unstimulated neutrophils. At lower concentrations, O2- production was inhibited in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) stimulated cells. Lysozyme release by PMA and opsonized zymosan-stimulated cells was inhibited by Padma-28 at a concentration dependent manner. On the other hand, random and directed migration and adhesion to nylon fibers were not affected. These results suggest that Padma-28 may have anti-inflammatory activity whose mechanism remains to be elucidated.

Symptoms of mercury toxicity, biochemical changes, and blood/urine mercury levels were evaluated in a small group of patients. Six patients attending Delek Hospital, Dharamsala, India, taking mercury-containing traditional Tibetan medicine (TTM) (Group I), were compared with three patients taking non-mercury containing TTM (Group II) and healthy volunteers(Group II). Quantitative estimation of mercury ingestion based on chemical analysis was compared with US regulatory standards.RESULTS: Group I were significantly older (mean 55 years+/-SE 6.4) range 26-69 years, than Group II (26.7 years+/-SE 5) range 17-34 years and Group III (32.5 years +/-SE 0.5) range 33-34 years (P =0.05). Group I took TTM on average for 51 months and had a mean of 2.5 non-specific, mercury-related symptoms. Group I had higher mean diastolic pressures (85 mmHg) than Group II (73 mmHg) (P=0.06) and more loose teeth. Mean daily mercury intake for Group I was 674 microg, estimated as 10 microg/kg per day. (Established reference dose for chronic oral exposure: 0.3 microg/kg per day.) Blood mercury levels were non-detectable, but mean urinary mercury levels for Group I were 67 microg/L (EPA levels <20 microg/L). Renal and liver function tests were not significantly different between groups and within normal clinical range. CONCLUSIONS: Prolonged ingestion of mercury containing TTM is associated with absent blood levels, but relatively high urinary levels. Further studies are needed to evaluate toxicity and therapeutic potential.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Padma Lax, a complex Tibetan herbal formula for constipation was evaluated for safety and effectiveness in treating constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in a 3-month double-blind randomised pilot study.METHODS: Patients were recruited from Hadassah Hospital's Gastroenterology clinic, using the Rome I Criteria for irritable bowel syndrome, and the international consensus criteria for constipation. Symptom severity was evaluated monthly by patients and gastroenterologist, using categorical and numerical rating scales. A patient diary recorded daily stool habit and trial medication. RESULTS: In 61 patients, (34 Padma Lax, 27 placebo), significant improvement was demonstrated after 3 months in the Padma Lax group compared to placebo in constipation, severity of abdominal pain, and its effect on daily activities, incomplete evacuation, abdominal distension and flatus/flatulence. A global assessment indicated that significantly more Padma Lax patients, compared to placebo, rated the current treatment superior to previous therapies tried for irritable bowel. Laboratory parameters displayed no clinically significant changes. Side effects, primarily loose stools in 7 Padma Lax patients responded well to lowering treatment dosage from 2 to 1 capsule/day. CONCLUSIONS: Padma Lax is a safe and effective treatment for constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and may offer an alternative to the current multi drug approach.

Both aqueous and methanolic fractions derived from the Tibetan preparation PADMA-28 (a mixture of 22 plants) used as an anti-atherosclerotic agent, and which is non-cytolytic to a variety of mammalian cells, were found to strongly inhibit (1) the killing of epithelial cells in culture induced by 'cocktails' comprising oxidants, membrane perforating agents and proteinases; (2) the generation of luminol-dependent chemiluminescence in human neutrophils stimulated by opsonized bacteria; (3) the peroxidation of intralipid (a preparation rich in phopholipids) induced in the presence of copper; and (4) the activity of neutrophil elastase. It is proposed that PADMA-28 might prove beneficial for the prevention of cell damage induced by synergism among pro-inflammatory agonists which is central in the initiation of tissue destruction in inflammatory and infectious conditions.