Oxymatrine

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Alternative Medicine Solutions oxymatrine.png

Oxymatrine is one of several quinolizidine alkaloids extracted from the root of the Chinese herb Sophora flavescens (Ku Shen). Oxymatrine has immunomodulatory properties shown to combat enterovirus infections.

Oxymatrine biological effects[edit | edit source]

Oxymatrine has a number of biological effects:

  • Oxymatrine acts as immunomodulator that increases antiviral Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-2), while reducing Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10).[1][2]
  • Oxymatrine has potent antiviral effects on coxsackievirus B myocarditis in mice, markedly decreasing viral titers.[3] 
  • Oxymatrine reduces microglial activation, possibly by its inhibition of LPS-induced expression of TLR-4 and HSP60.[4]

Oxymatrine in the treatment of ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Dr John Chia found in an informal study that 30% of ME/CFS patients will make major improvements with oxymatrine, and another 20% will make more minor improvements.[5] Dr Nancy Klimas is also reported to have given oxymatrine to 300 ME/CFS patients with similar success rates.[citation needed]

Dr Chia has formulated his own brand of oxymatrine called Equilibrant (which as well as oxymatrine, also contains other immunomodulatory herbs, but oxymatrine is the primary ingredient). This Chinese herbal supplement can be bought without prescription. In addition, oxymatrine is available as the White Tiger oxymatrine brand (200 mg per tablet) and Alternative Medicine Solutions oxymatrine (300 mg per capsule), which work with similar efficacy to Equilibrant. As Equilibrant is a proprietary blend, the exact quantity of oxymatrine in each serving of is not known. The Alternative Medicine Solutions oxymatrine website suggests an oxymatrine dose of 400 to 600 mg daily.

Oxymatrine treatment begins by taking half a tablet for the first week or two, then slowly increasing up to 2 or 3 tablets twice daily (so that means 4 or 6 tablets in total daily).[6] But the dose should not be escalated if there is significant increase in ME/CFS symptoms. Responders to oxymatrine should see signs of improvement by 4 to 6 weeks, but few may take more than 3 months.[7] Once the full benefits of oxymatrine have manifested, Dr Chia says men can stop taking it after 3 to 6 months (though elsewhere he says after 12 months);[7] however he finds women usually have to continue taking oxymatrine, otherwise they relapse and get worse again.[8] Dr Chia says inosine can be taken with oxymatrine in order to augment its effects.[5] Chia sometimes adds the antibiotic rifampin (also called rifampicin) 300 mg twice daily for 7 days to further boost the action oxymatrine.[9][10]

Dr Chia suggests that patients with autoimmune tendencies should not take oxymatrine, as there is a risk oxymatrine may trigger rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune tendencies means a family history of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis especially Grave’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and if the patients have joint pain with positive rheumatoid factor and persistently positive ANA. And Chia says patients with known seizure disorders should not take oxymatrine.[5] Oxymatrine is probably best avoided in young children and during pregnancy.[11]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Dong, YH; Xi, HL; Tian, F; Kang, AJ; Zhang, NL; Yu, M (2004). "Effects of oxymatrine on serum levels of Th1/Th2 type cytokines in HBsAg transgenic mice". Zhonghua Shi Yan He Lin Chuang Bing Du Xue Za Zhi (Chinese journal of experimental and clinical virology). 18 (3): 277–80. PMID 15640867. 
  2. Dong, Y; Xi, H; Yu, Y; Wang, Q; Jiang, K; Li, L (2002). "Effects of oxymatrine on the serum levels of T helper cell 1 and 2 cytokines and the expression of the S gene in hepatitis B virus S gene transgenic mice: a study on the anti-hepatitis B virus mechanism of oxymatrine". J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 17 (12): 1299–306. PMID 12423275. 
  3. Jiang, Y; Zhu, Y; Mu, Q; Luo, H; Zhi, Y; Shen, X (2017). "Oxymatrine provides protection against Coxsackievirus B3-induced myocarditis in BALB/c mice". Antiviral Res. 141 ( ): 133–139. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2017.01.013. PMID 28115196. 
  4. Ding, F; Li, Y; Hou, X; Zhang, R; Hu, S; Wang, Y (2016). "Oxymatrine inhibits microglia activation via HSP60-TLR4 signaling". Biomed Rep. 5 (5): 623–628. doi:10.3892/br.2016.776. PMID 27882228. 
  5. 5.05.15.2 Chia, J; Chia, A (2011), Rifampin augments the effects of oxymatrine in patients with myalgic encephalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (IACFS/ME)-Biennial International Conference 
  6. "MECFS Alert Episode 39 - Interview with Dr. John Chia, Part 2. See timecode 4:24". MECFS Alert. 
  7. 7.07.1 Johnson, Cort (Aug 27, 2009). "Dr. Chia Produces Herbal Immunodulator – Oxymatrine". 
  8. "MECFS Alert Episode 39 - Interview with Dr. John Chia, Part 2. See timecode 5:42". MECFS Alert. 
  9. Chia, John (September 2011). "Rifampin Augments the Effects of Oxymatrine / Equilibrant In Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / CFS". IACFS/ME. IACFS/ME Biennial International Conference. 
  10. Calvin, Patrick W. (2013). "Quixotic ME blog, Summary of 4th appointment with Dr. C". 
  11. Dharmananda, Subhuti (2005). "OXYMATRINE: Update on Clinical Effects and Safety". Institute of Traditional Medicine. 

immunomodulator - a substance that affects the functioning of the immune system

enterovirus - A genus of RNA viruses which typically enter the body through the respiratory or gastrointestinal systems and sometimes spread to the central nervous system or other parts of the body, causing neurological, cardiac, and other damage. Since the first reports of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), enteroviruses have been suspected as a cause of ME. Enteroviruses have also been implicated as the cause of Type I diabetes, congestive heart failure, and other conditions. Enteroviruses include poliovirus, coxsackieviruses, and many others. New enteroviruses and new strains of existing enteroviruses are continuously being discovered. (Learn more: viralzone.expasy.org)

immunomodulator - a substance that affects the functioning of the immune system

cytokine - any class of immunoregulatory proteins secreted by cells, especially immune cells. Cytokines are small proteins important in cell signaling that modulate the immune system. (Learn more: me-pedia.org)

myocarditis - inflammation of the heart muscle

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

α - Greek letter alpha or alfa (symbol)

chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue (idiopathic chronic fatigue) without additional symptoms. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.