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Researchers find how rhubarb remedy eases cholera

For centuries, Chinese and Japanese healers have used traditional medicines to combat the overwhelming diarrhea that comes with cholera. Researchers in Japan have identified a natural compound responsible for the effectiveness of one rhubarb-based remedy, a finding that could lead to even better pharmaceutical therapies.

The scientists tested a formulation called Daio-Kanzo-to. One chemical in the mixture, rhubarb galloyl-tannin, inhibits cholera toxin's effects on hamster cells in a test tube, the researchers found. The rhubarb compound binds to the toxin and apparently disables it, the researchers report in the March 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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