Herbal medicine active in hep C

A compound isolated from Chinese herbal medicines significantly inhibits hepatitis C activity, according to research presented in London last week at the International Liver Conference.

The compound SBEL1 was isolated from a herb found in Taiwan and southern China that is traditionally used to treat sore throats and inflammations.

In vitro human liver cells treated with SBEL1 contained a quarter less HCV protein than controls, the researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan found.

HCV RNA levels were reduced by 78%, they said, suggesting that SBEL1 may