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Therapeutic sorghum?

2:02pm, May 15, 2007

In terms of production, sorghum is one of the nation's top grains. Most of it now goes to feed livestock. A team of university scientists says that's a mistake because sorghum bran can fight inflammation almost as well as a prescription drug for arthritis does.

In test-tube experiments, sorghum bran significantly reduced white blood cells' production of several inflammation-linked chemicals, including the immune-system activators tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1-beta (IL-1-beta).

Amy Burdette and her colleagues at the University of Georgia in Athens first stimulated the white blood cells—called macrophages—with an inflammatory agent and then incubated cells with various concentrations of black-sorghum-bran extract. Some of the treatments reduced the production of TNF-alpha by 80 percent and IL-1-beta by more than 99 percent, compared with the production of those compounds by cells free of sorghum bran.

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