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A herbal remedy for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus spreads through blood-to-blood contact, and is usually associated with the use of intravenous drug use, blood donations and other unhygienic use of medical equipment leading to exchange of blood. Once infected, a patient can go years without facing severe symptoms, like liver failure and cirrhosis, only to feel it’s accumulated effects after a long period. HCV affects over 8 million people in the country and has been a cause of major cause for concern, however social stigma associated with the disease also makes it a challenge to implement successful eradication drives. Now, a new class of drug resistant strand of HCV have emerged making the situation worse. A group of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have now come up with a possible deterrent to the virus, derived from a common herb used to relieve pain. Boerhavia diffusa is a flowering plant and a common ingredient in many ayurvedic medicine, with the plant commonly referred to as a punarnava, something that rejuvenates the body. Now, with their new study, the scientists have identified dehydrorotenoid boeravinone H, a compound found in the plant, as a possible inhibitor of the HCV virus. The study showed that the presence of the compound inhibiting the entry and binding of particles like HCV, with no noticeable side-effects. Although researchers are still studying as to how exactly the compound inhibits HCV growth, the result could be used to develop a new class of drugs to fight the drug resistant HCV’s. The herbs that were prescribed by our elders may have had some truth after all.