Vegetable Lamb Plant May Offer Osteoporosis Protection
Dr. Young Ho Kim, of the Chungnam National University in Daejeon, Korea, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Natural Products that compounds isolated from the plant known as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, inhibit the formation of osteoclasts.
This discovery was first published in September of 2009, but came across the newswire this morning - and we just couldn't pass up writing about the fabled "Lamb" plant!
In an ongoing effort to investigate the medicinal benefits of plants used in traditional Vietnamese folk medicine, Dr. Kim and his team isolated compounds from the Vegetable Lamb plant, or Cibotium barmoetz. This plant received its common name from the belief that the plant fruited into a baby lamb - which then grazed upon the surrounding grasses and weeds, and remained attached to the plant by an umbilical cord. As late as the 16th and 17th century, some of the world's well known scientists still believed the myth - which is thought to have originated to explain the existence of cotton.
Osteoporosis is a world-wide health problem - affecting up to 8 million women and men in the United States alone. A secret to maintaining strong bones lies in the balance between two types of bone cells: Osteoblasts, which build up bone, and Osteoclasts, which break down bone.
Dr. Kim and his team demonstrated that compounds isolated from the Vegetable Lamb blocked the formation of the bone destroying osteoclasts in up to 97 percent of the cells in laboratory cultures - without any harmful effects on other cells.
"Although further studies are required to confirm efficacy in vivo, it is the contention of the authors that these compounds could be used in the development of therapeutic targets for osteoporosis", the paper stated.