New research demonstrates that acupuncture combined with oral curcumin intake provides significant protection against hepatic fibrosis. Researchers examined the efficacy of curcumin and acupuncture both separately and combined for their ability to prevent liver fibrosis. The researchers discovered a synergistic effect when curcumin and acupuncture are combined. In the study, histological and pathological findings for hepatic disturbances and fibrosis were measured.
The controlled randomized clinical trial was performed on rats. There were several study groups: control, model, sham acupuncture, verum acupuncture, curcumin and the combination group. Acupuncture was applied to Liv3 (Taichong, Great Rushing), Liv14 (Qimen, Cycle Gate), UB18 (Ganshu, Liver Shu) and St36 (Zusanli, Leg Three Miles). Curcumin is a principle polyphenol in turmeric (Jiang Huang), a member of the ginger family of herbs used for invigorating the blood in traditional Chinese medicine. Oral intake of curcumin was combined simultaneously with acupuncture in the combined therapy group.
The researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture combined with curcumin potently protected the liver from… injury and fibrogenesis.” This was confirmed with laboratory measurements of serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, hyaluronic acid, laminin and procollagen 3. Other histological findings and measurements of alpha smooth muscle actin, extracellular matrix, fibronection and alpha 1 collagen confirm the synergistic hepatoprotective effects of acupuncture combined with curcumin.
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