October 14, 2009
Fabled ‘Vegetable Lamb’ Contains Potential Treatment For Osteoporosis
The "vegetable lamb" plant "” once believed to bear fruit that ripened into a living baby sheep "” produces substances that show promise in laboratory experiments as new treatments for osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease. That's the conclusion of a new study in ACS' monthly Journal of Natural Products.
Young Ho Kim and colleagues point out that osteoporosis is a global health problem, affecting up to 6 million women and 2 million men in the United States alone. Doctors know that the secret to strong bones involves a delicate balance between two types of bone cells: Osteoblasts, which build up bone, and osteoclasts, which break down bone.
Image Caption: This illustration from an 1887 book shows the fabled "Vegetable Lamb of Tartary," a plant once believed to ripen into a baby sheep. The plant now shows promise for treating osteoporosis. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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