Article image

Chinese herb improves health of heart attack patients

A team of researchers led by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom has found that a plant-based compound purified from a traditional Chinese herb called Astralagus – which has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal purposes – could significantly improve the health outcomes of individuals who previously experienced a heart attack

The medication, known as TA-65®, is produced by the pharmaceutical company T.A. Sciences. Unlike current cardiovascular treatments, TA-65® appears to efficiently reduce inflammation without negatively impacting immunity. 

In fact, when given to older patients for over a year after their heart attack, TA-65® significantly increased lymphocytes, thus improving immunity. Moreover, patients treated with this drug experienced less complications, or problems such as chest or joint pain, following the heart attack.

“It has become widely recognized that inflammation plays a key role in the formation, progression, and rupture of a coronary plaque, which induces heart attack, but, importantly, it is also a major risk factor for further complications. Reducing inflammation is, therefore, considered a key treatment target following a heart attack for patients and our study showed that TA-65® reduced inflammation by up to 62 percent,” said senior author Ioakim Spyridopoulos, a professor of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Gerontology at Newcastle.

“While some potent anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to improve outcomes after heart attacks, they result in suppression of the immune system and increase the risk of severe infections. In our study, the widely available drug TA-65® was shown to reduce inflammation but also appears to improve immunity by increasing a patient’s immune cells.”

The researchers – including experts from the James Cook University Hospital – conducted a randomized controlled pilot study in which 90 patients aged 65 or older were given either a placebo drug or TA-65®. The participants had blood measurements taken at baseline, six months, and a year and were reviewed regularly in the clinic for potential side effects.

The investigation revealed that those who received TA-65® – a patented, plant-based compound that helps maintain or rebuild telomeres – had 30 percent fewer side effects, such as fevers or new medical problems, than those given the placebo, while showing reduced inflammation and improved immunity.

The scientists plan to conduct a follow up study with a larger cohort, while also examining whether TA-65® can reduce adverse cardiac events, such as more heart attacks or even death. “If we can show that TA-65® improves the clinical outcomes of patients who have suffered a heart attack, on top of modern treatment options, it will become an important addition to patients’ medical care,” Spyridopoulos concluded.

The study is published in the journal GeroScience.

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day