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Chinese Medicine & Sepsis

Nature’s Medicine Proving Useful in Life Threatening Condition

Sepsis, a condition where the body has a severe immune response to bacteria or some other germ or pathogen, has been shown by researchers to be mitigated by a compound called Tanshinone.  Every year sepsis affects 750,000 Americans.  Each day nearly 1,400 people throughout the world die from sepsis.  Currently, first line treatment for sepsis includes intravenous fluids and antibiotics.  Researchers are eagerly looking for legitimate methods of reducing the high mortality rate of this serious condition via prevention and treatment, and are intrigued by the success of this compound and its natural source.  

The severe immune response that has occurred when sepsis is realized triggers a chain of inflammatory actions resulting in clotting, swelling, and leaky vessels.  As the response continues, blood supply to organs may be impeded or disrupted restricting the vital supply of oxygen and nutrients.  Without oxygen and nutrient supply, organs can and do fail.  Some inflammation is important in maintaining balanced health, but too much inflammation leads to disease.  This is readily demonstrated by the importance of proper oxygen supply in managing PH.  Reduced oxygen supply leads to lactate acidosis, a condition demonstrating low PH in body tissues and blood.  Consequently many seeking an alternative to their current inflammation provoking diet and lifestyle focus their efforts on strictly limiting all inflammatory heat generating foods and behaviors.  This behavior also will lead to chronic illness though pathological presentation will differ.  One following a strict anti-inflammatory diet restricting all heat generating foods will, overtime, also create imbalance and therefore disease.   The principle of balanced eating based on a foods inflammatory or anti-inflammatory property is a subject that should be discussed much further and one that has a dramatic effect on human physiology, but a topic requiring much more attention than can be presented in a short editorial.  Suffice it to say, what we consistently put into our bodies will dramatically impact our proclivity for inflammation.

Scientists have for years, researched ways to stop inflammation that, for some reason, persists.  Research has shown that Tanshinones inhibit a specific inflammation generating protein that, when abundant, causes sepsis.  These compounds, Tanshinones, are derived from a natural source called Salvia Miltiorrhiza  or Dan Shen.  Dan Shen is an herb that has been used for hundreds, if not, thousands of years in Chinese Medicine to protect against cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure and diabetes.  Contained within it is salvianolic acid, an antioxidant being studied to protect against heart disease.   The major constituent of Dan Shen, Tanshinone, is also demonstrating powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in reducing the effects of oxidative stress injury in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. 

It is the Cooling, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property of  Dan Shen that enables it to play a role in curbing the devastating development of sepsis.  Dan Shen can be used to reduce the inflammatory effects leading to cardiovascular disease, to prevent clumping and clotting of blood, and to reduce swelling.  To take advantage of the beneficial effects of this powerful plant, consult with a natural health physician with a solid understanding in the application of Chinese Medical Herbs.