Schistosomiasis is caused by a species of liver fluke that basically plants a flag in the blood vessels in your liver and claims it as it’s own territory. It can damage internal organs, increase the chances for bladder cancer, and cause retardation of growth and development in children. A brief look at wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schistosomiasis) can give a better overview.
Imagine this little bugger in your liver or bladder. Call Ellen Ripley!
A particular problem related to this is the effect that the screwed up circulation in the Portal venous system in the liver leads to hypertension in that portal system and thus, lung problems.
A look at Portal Hypertension: (from www.medicinenet.com) Symptoms include gastrointestinal bleeding, ascites or fluid in the abdomen, mental problems due to liver failure and lung problems, since the blood from the liver goes to the lungs. This entry deals more with the lung problems.
The actual journal article abstract can be quoted thus :
Portal hypertension is a vascular lesion that initially arises in liver, but structural and functional changes of blood vessels in extrahepatic portal system, systemic circulation and pulmonary circulation also accompany, which now collectively called portal hypertensive vascular lesions. In clinical practice, much attention has been paid to the prevention and treatment of complications such as ascites, esophagogastric variceal bleeding; however the management of pulmonary complications is ignored which affects the prognosis of patients. Hence, drugs used for prevention and treatment of pulmonary complications seem to be very important.
We now find an article (http://www.physorg.com/news186923469.html) entitled “Treatment of portal hypertensive pulmonary lesions induced by schistosomiasis” Okay, looks interesting, let’s have a go at it!
Calculus Bovis compound preparation can effectively prevent pulmonary complications of portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis. The successful development of Calculus Bovis and the preliminary study on portal hypertensive pulmonary lesions caused by schistosomiasis suggest that it is of great significance and prospects for further basic and clinical research, development and clinical application of new drugs and preparations to treat portal hypertensive pulmonary lesions induced by schistosomiasis.
I just find it interesting that the chinese name of calculus bovis is not used. It is Niu Huang, a common ingredient for controlling inflammation. Famously known as part of the formulas Niu Huang Jie Du Pian (Cow Gallstone Clear Toxicity Pill), An Gong Niu Huang Wan (Calm the Palace Cattle Gallstone Pill) and Niu Huang Qingxin Wan (Cattle Gallstone Clear the Heart Pill), it is famous for rapidly draining fire and clearing inflammation.
To evaluate efficacy of Calculus Bovis compound preparation (ICCBco) in the treatment of lung lesions in portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis as the experimental animal model, a research group in China performed a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial to observe pathological changes and pathological effect mechanism of expression of fibronectin and laminin in the lung tissue of portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis.
In vitro cultivated ICCBco is composed of Calculus Bovis, Chinese Paris Rhizome, polygonum cuspidatum, appendiculate cremastra pseudobulb, frankincense, and myrrh, and has the functions of clearing away heat and toxic materials, removing blood stasis, reducing swelling, eliminating blood stasis and promoting tissue regeneration, according to the principle of traditional Chinese medicine. However, the topic has not been unequivocally addressed.
I can’t help it. Frankincense and myrrh? I’ve blogged about this before (http://qi-spot.com/2009/12/30/the-wise-mans-gift/) talking about myrrh and it’s benefits for the heart. Let me elaborate now about blood stasis though, since this is not an easily understood concept for laymen. Wikipedia, quoting Dan Bensky, sort of got it right thus:
Described in TCM theory as a slowing or pooling of the blood due to disruption of Heart Qi, it is often understood in biomedical terms in terms of hematological disorders such as hemorrhage, congestion, thrombosis, and localischemia (microclots) and tissue changes.
So let’s look at the research from the World Journal of Gastroenterology (http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/16/749.asp)
Effects of in vitro cultivated Calculus Bovis compound on pulmonary lesions in rabbits with schistosomiasis
Niu Huang or Calculus Bovis - won't kill the bug, but will make you breathe easier
Tao Li, Zhen Yang, Hong-Jiao Cai, Li-Wei Song, Ke-Yu Lu, Zheng Zhou, Zai-De Wu
ISSN 1007-9327 CN 14-1219/R World J Gastroenterol 2010 February 14; 16(6): 749-754
AIM: To explore the interventional effects and mechanism of in vitro cultivated Calculus Bovis compound preparation (ICCBco) on pulmonary lesions in portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis.
METHODS: The experimental group included 20 portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis treated by ICCBco. The control group included 20 portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis treated by praziquantel. The morphological changes of the pulmonary tissues were observed under light and electron microscopy. The expression of fibronectin (FN) and laminin (LN) in the lung tissues was analyzed by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Under light microscope, the alveolar exudation in the lung tissue was more frequently observed in the control group, while the alveolar space was fairly dry in the lung tissue of ICCBco group. Under electron microscope, more alveolar exudation in the lung tissue, and more macrophages, alveolar angiotelectasis and the blurred three-tier structure of alveolar-capillary barrier could be seen in the control group. In ICCBco group, fibers within the alveolar interspace slightly increased in some lung regions, and the structure of type Ⅰ epithelium, basement membrane and endodermis was complete, and no obvious exudation from the alveolar space, and novascular congestion could be observed. There was a positive or strong positive expression of FN and LN in the lung tissue of the control group, while there was a negative or weak positive expression of FN and LN in ICCBco group.
CONCLUSION: ICCBco can effectively prevent pulmonary complications in portal hypertensive rabbits with schistosomiasis by means of improving lung microcirculation and lowering the content of extracellular matrix.
In English… well look at the above caption.
Peer review says that it is “interesting research” but “not well planned” – I wish the reviewer were more specific… It’s a good initial study though for others to use as a stepping stone.
More information: Li T, Yang Z, Cai HJ, Song LW, Lu KY, Zhou Z, Wu ZD. Effects of in vitro cultivated Calculus Bovis compound on pulmonary lesions in rabbits with schistosomiasis. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(6): 749-754. http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/16/749.asp