Peonies: The New Saving Grace for Chemo Patients?

Together with licorice, peonies ease nausea, cramps
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 7:46 AM CDT
Peonies: The New Saving Grace for Chemo Patients?
In this photo provided by Lee Reich, Peonies are perhaps the longest lasting beauties of the flower garden.   (AP Photo/Lee Reich)

A new drug could help ease the suffering of chemo patients, and it’s made up of some pretty humble ingredients: Peony flowers, licorice, and the extracts of dates and skullcap plants. If that sounds more like a home remedy than a drug, that’s because it is. Researchers at Yale created the new drug, dubbed PHY906, based on ancient Chinese traditional medicine, the Daily Mail reports.

Researchers say that taken in combination, the four plants that make up the drug can ease most of the side-effects of chemo, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, while simultaneously cutting into tumor growth. So far, it’s been tested successfully in mice. “This combination of chemotherapy and herbs represents a marriage of Western and Eastern approaches,” said lead researcher Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng, though he warned against trying to create the still-experimental drug at home. (More flowers stories.)

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