There has been great excitement at the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics, at the Medical University of Varna since yesterday - the first stage of the newest research activity, intended to describe the biological effects of the Bulgarian herb Kamshik(Agrimonia eupatoria),often referred to as church steeples or sticklewort, was launched.
The total number of volunteers who have signed up to participate is nearly 50 people - both students and staff of Medical University – Varna, as well as outsiders who have learned about the research from the site of the university. The aim of the research is to identify the molecular markers of the biological effects of this interesting, yet scarcely known herb so far. The students in Medicine will be involved actively in all the analyses, within the optional discipline of Molecular Biology in Medicine.
Following the precise organization and with the participation of everyone from the Department, during the preliminary stage, the volunteers filled in questionnaires with data, both about their anthropometric measurements - height, weight, hip and waist measurements and about their lifestyle - physical activity, dietary habits, alcohol intake and smoking. Data about the health status of the participants - identified chronic or acute inflammatory diseases, complaints and ailments, were noted in the individual records. All the participants provided information about whether they take any medications and supplements. It is desirable that the volunteers do not change their current way of life so that the impact of Agrimonia eupatoria (Kamshik) could be assessed.
According to the folk medicine the Kamshik (Agrimonia eupatoria) tea has a beneficial effect on various inflammatory diseases and metabolic disorders, such as:
• liver disease, gallstones;
• it is used as an antidiarrheal agent (an effect due to the tannins);
• diuretic and diaphoretic remedy for colds, edema, kidney diseases;
• bladder atony with dysuria, nocturia, rheumatism;
• hemorrhoids, bleeding gums, lavage of varicose ulcers;
• gargle for sore throat, laryngitis;
• pulmonary tuberculosis and lupus;
• hives, acne, cough, hoarseness;
• sand in the kidneys, gall and bladder;
The samples which are taken from the volunteers are swabs from buccal mucosa for DNA isolation and analysis of blood biochemical markers: glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, liver enzymes, etc. Besides these indicators, it will be examined whether the long-term intake of Kamshik (Agrimonia eupatoria) tea will lead to changes in the markers of the antioxidant defense and the oxidative stress, as well as in markers of the inflammation.
The volunteers' data are strictly confidential and the overall results will be used only for scientific purposes.