Jan 6, 2012 31 Comments ›› Angelia
A chemical from an ancient herbal remedy makes rats almost immune to the effects of alcohol.
Rats who’ve consumed the drug can consume vast quantities of alcohol without passing out, show few signs of a hangover – and don’t become alcoholics, even after weeks of solid drinking, say researchers.
The chemical is extracted from an ancient Asian remedy – a seed first used as a hangover cure in the year 659.
Rats respond to alcohol in a very similar way to humans.
The UCLA researchers now aim to find out if the compound will work in humans.
The Asian seeds – from the tree Hovenia Dulcis – was first used as a hangover cure in the year 659, according to ScienceDaily.
The researchers began their study by looking at herbal compounds that supposedly had ‘anti alcohol’ effects.
They rapidly homed in on the Asian seed.
They tested one ingredient – called DHM or dihydromyricetin in the rats.
The rats were given the equivalent of 15 to 20 bottled beers in two hours.
Most animals passed out, and remained motionless when flipped over.
When given DHM, the rats could ‘handle’ their drink better. They took longer to get drunk, and seemed to sober up in about 15 minutes.
The compound seemed to help rats dealing with hangover anxiety, too.
Rats recovering from a binge seemed to perk up when given the compound.
Normal ants turned into ‘supersoldiers’ with huge heads and jaws by genetic scientists.
Perhaps most importantly for medical professionals, the chemical seems to stop rats wanting to drink.
Although rats on DHM can drink more, they don’t.
‘When you drink alcohol with DHM, you never become addicted,’ says the lead researcher, Jing Liang in research published in Journal of Neuroscience.
The drug appears to work by blocking a brain receptor. Other promising anti-alcohol drugs have targeted the same receptor – but also caused seizures.