Finally, scientific proof for alternative medicines

Monday, 9 November 2009

A University of Adelaide researcher will provide scientific evidence tomorrow that natural therapies are helping to combat bowel disorders and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Cancer researcher Associate Professor Gordon Howarth says shellfish extracts, emu oil and grape seed extracts are helping to relieve the symptoms of intestinal mucositis, a side effect of chemotherapy.

He will present his evidence at a Research Tuesdays seminar tomorrow night at the University's North Terrace Campus at 5.30pm.

Assoc. Prof. Howarth is a Cancer Council Australia Senior Research Fellow and leads the University of Adelaide's Digestive Health Research Group in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

His research, which has attracted international attention, shows that naturally sourced agents known as "bioactives" can provide drug-free forms of controlling infections in the bowel.

"An extract from the New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel, Lyprinol, is a recognised anti-inflammatory product used to treat asthma and arthritis, but we have found evidence that it can be used in the fight against an inflamed gastrointestinal tract," Assoc. Prof. Howarth says.

Mucositis is an inflammation and ulceration of the lining of the mouth, throat or gastrointestinal tract, commonly associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer. It is a life-threatening condition and generally experienced by 40-60% of cancer patients.

Emu oil is another novel bioactive product being tested for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

"Aborigines have used it for centuries to help heal wounds and muscle soreness and we now have scientific evidence that it is an effective healing agent," he says.

WHAT: Research Tuesdays: 'Easier Pills to Swallow'
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 102, Napier Building, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 5.30pm, Tuesday 10 November
COST: Free. Please book by email: or phone: (08) 8303 3692


Contact Details

Professor Gordon Howarth
Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow
School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7885
Mobile: +61 420 958 402

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762