They are testing the leaves of the coralberry plant as a remedy to stop asthmatic contractions and spasms that can cause a sudden life-threatening loss of breath.
The coralberry (Ardisia crenata) contains a medicinal substance—known as FR900359—that could treat several diseases, including asthma, scientists at the University of Bonn believe.
The compound relieves asthmatic spasms, and the scientists reckon it could be more effective than asthma drugs on the market, such as salbutamol.
The leaves have so far been tested only on laboratory mice, on which it worked "exceptionally well", said the researchers. It stopped the mice reacting to typical allergens such as house dust mite, and without any side effects. It's also worked on human bronchial cells in a petri dish, but the next stage is to carry out tests on people.
The coralberry (Ardisia crenata)