Liquorice Drives Sick Cells To Commit Suicide
By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.
Liquorice has been used as alternative therapeutic medicine for sore throat, bronchitis and stomach troubles. It could also make an impact on herpes viruses. A substance in liquorice induces the cells that are infested with the virus to commit suicide. US-scientists in the “Journal of Clinical Investigation” speculated that the development of cancer could perhaps be avoided.
Herpes viruses stay in a kind of slumber mode in cells hidden in the body after an acute infection. Eventually they can be reactivated and then cause a new, acute herpes infection. While treatment methods are improving, there is no current treatment against the “chronic latency” of the viruses known.
This is problematic, because the viruses can cause cancer. Most at risk are people with low immunity. For example the herpes virus can evoke the so called Kaposi Sarcoma of HIV-patients.
Scientists from the New York University School of Medicine showed that the Glycyrrhizin Acid found in liquorice can fight the herpes viruses also during the quiescent state. The acid interferes with the production of special proteins, which are needed by the virus to maintain the latency and needed by host cells to survive. Thereupon a chain of reactions is ignited, which ends with the death of the cells.
The researchers said
Glycyrrhizin Acid was the first substance that targets the
proteins that the virus needs to sustain chronic infection,
wrote the researchers. This strategy was promising in terms
of developing new drugs, they added.