Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Contraceptive in a cuppa?

Scientists at the University of Western Australia in Perth believe they've discovered a male contraceptive based on traditional Indonesian herbal tea.

Research is continuing to isolate the active ingredient in the tea which is prepared from leaves of the mangosteen fruit tree.

The researchers say the tea has been used for centuries as a contraceptive by some Indonesian women but tests on rats showed that the tea works just as well on the males.

The researchers say it destroys the sperm but has no effect on the sex drive.

When the treatment ended, normal fertility in the male rats returned.

The researchers warn that a commercial drug based on the tea could be at least five years away.

Source BBC News

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Green tea beneficial in fight against cancer

Scientists in Sweden say they have discovered why green tea, a popular drink in China and Japan, has a protective effect against some forms of cancer.

A report by researchers in Stockholm, published in the scientific journal 'Nature', says that a substance in green tea slows down or stops the growth of new blood vessels.

A BBC science correspondent says that as cancer tumours are dependent on a constantly growing network of blood vessels to supply them with food and oxygen, they will shrink and may even disappear, if the network stops growing.

He says its now clear why moderate consumption of green tea can be beneficial. He says that unlike black tea, green tea is not squashed to rupture its cells and cause fermentation reactions as it dries.

Source BBC News

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Herbal medicine fights for its future

Herbal practitioners and consumer groups have warned the government that heavy handed regulation of the industry poses a serious threat to jobs.

The warning comes as Lords Health Minister Baroness Hayman pledged to tighten controls to ensure only quality products were available to the public.

Industry representatives said European Commission proposals to licence all herbal remedies would drive hundreds of products off the shelves, and threaten the livelihood of many businesses.

At present, some herbal remedies which contain only natural ingredients are unlicensed and do not have to comply with any safety or quality standards.

Source - BBC News