Monday, February 13, 2012

Chang Shan vs Multiple Sclerosis

"A new study suggests the Chinese herb known as Chang Shan selectively weakens the runaway immune response implicated in many autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis."

As we begin this 27th year since Patti’s diagnosis of MS, I wish I could embrace hope with the enthusiasm of a quarter century ago.

Now before everyone goes digging up neighborhoods, nurseries, and botanical gardens for roots of blue evergreen hydrangea let’s take a moment.

At the risk of oversimplifying … Our healthy immune system depends on T Cells. ‘Rogue’ T Cells have long been considered a culprit with MS. ‘Rogue’ T Cells cannot distinguish friend from foe and target the body’s own myelin as if it were a bacteria or virus. Finding a way to suppress the ‘rogue T Cells’ without suppressing all T Cells has been the challenge.   

Back in July 2009 …
Compound from Medicinal Herb Thwarts Turncoat Immune Cells “A small molecule (halofuginone) better known for its anti-malarial properties can block the birth of the immune cells involved in autoimmune diseases without blocking crucial infection-fighting cells”, report Harvard Medical and Dental School researchers.

Now in Feb 2012 after peer review and further retesting ...
“We recently demonstrated that halofuginone (HF) …inhibits the development of TH17-driven autoimmunity in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis” Halofuginone and other febrifugine derivatives inhibit prolyl-tRNA synthetase

With publication in Feb. 2012 Nature Chemical Biology, associated media and more are picking up the story.

Again at the risk of oversimplification, Chang Shan is the herbal form, Halofuginone is the synthetic.

Interestingly back in 2003, SunCatcher Herbs, developed Sclero-Eze, a herbal supplement that uses Chang Shan as a base. Their website announces “may Treat - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Scleroderma - Lupus - M.S.”

From a quarter century of experience I can share that breaking research on mice can take a decade before availability to humans, if ever. On the other hand while the herb is available it was not the herb that was tested.

However, no one can imagine another’s hope.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. You're so right about getting our hopes up. Until someone says "This is the definitive cure, and it's been proven," I'll read the hype, but I won't put any faith in it.

    1. Amen! but then again over the quarter century Patti has left no stone unturned in the quest for hope.

  2. In 15 years Dave & I have no stone left unturned and *nothing* has worked for his MS. This disease is an insidious mystery. Dave's mom had a similar chronic illness & it cost Dave's dad over $100,000 out of pocket chasing hopeful rabbit trails (outside of the official medical treatment & costs). He is a broken man & dejected caregiver now. Her disease is worse, he is a shadow of the man he once was & the time they lost 'hoping' (it was all consuming.....heartbreaking to watch) robbed them of 'living'. Difficult balance all the way around. Interesting blog, Patrick. Thanks for the info.....always learning, cautious on hoping.... (Janelle here, I'm confused on the profile part of publishing this post)

    1. Excellent point about cost of out of pocket, both financial and emotional for alternative treatment! We are all going to go there. Hope knows no boundary. Driven by hope, Patti's parents paid for and accompanied her to a clinic in Germany for treatment. (Patti left in a wheelchair and returned walking) Likewise driven by hope, bee venom therapy became a family routine for almost two years as I would hold honey bees with a tweezer while stinging Patti two dozen times every two days while our daughter captured escapees in a butterfly net.(Healthiest and most symptom free two years of Patti's MS) Each alternative treatment 'worked' for a while not unlike AMA/FDA treatments before MS progression won out. Of course AMA/FDA treatments have co-pays or you can be reimbursed or deduct from taxes but not hope, it's not fair.

  3. Thank you for your reply, Patrick. :) I hear you, but I believe hope *does* have boundaries. To have boundaries is not the same as giving up. Especially when the needs of other family members are at stake. Our country has gone bananas at 'fighting' for 'cures' to the point where financial, emotional, physical strain on others is ignored. We are all mortal & it has never been promised that we will all live healthy to 80 or 90. I am all for attempts at symptom abatement (especially pain!), which applies to MS, and that appears to have worked for Patti for a time. As caregivers, we have a responsibility. if the pursuit of hope is a detriment to others, then the pursuit needs to be limited. p.s. MS sucks. (JB)

  4. Husband's 'MS' turned out to be Lyme Disease. IGenex are one of the best if not the best labs to test it.

  5. Hi Patrick: Just curious about the viral theory (such as HHV6) any treatments in this regard? Something of interest would be the research behind Gu Syndrome (Chinese Medicine) its emphasis is the pathogenic nature of these diseases -though I am not sure about MS. Thanks.


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