an alkaloid derived from the roots and above ground portions of the Sophora plants. Many plant alkaloids are used in medicine; the best known alkaloids are the opiates but others include quinine (malaria), atropine, vincristine (an anti-leukemia drug) and hallucinogenic plants such as datura and mandrake.
First isolated over 50 years ago the matrine alkaloids – matrines and oxymatrine – have been a focal point of Chinese medical research into the treatment of cancer, viral hepatitis, viral myocarditis and skin diseases such as psoriasis and excema over the past 15 years.
Oxymatrine has antiviral effects in cell cultures and some Chinese studies suggest it can reduce the viral load and liver damage in humans with hepatitis B. Some Chinese researchers suggest oxymatrine injections in combination with Chinese herbs may be as effective as interferon in treating hepatitis but without the side effects. A review of Chinese studies suggested oxymatrine may be able to increase blood flow, increase heart muscle contractility and reduce coxsackie virus activity in patients with viral myocarditis. It is believed to be effective against hepatitis B and C. (Dr. Chia is exploring the effectiveness of other hepatitis drugs in chronic fatigue syndrome.)
Oxymatrine is receiving increasing interest in the West with studies focusing on cancer, ischemia-reperfusion and hepatitis B in laboratory animals, culture studies, etc. Oxymatrine first appeared in the U.S. in tablet form in 1998.
Oxymatrine May Be Beneficial in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because…
it may inhibit the activity of viruses that may be present in some patients.
Oxymatrine Studies in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
No studies have examined oxymatrine’s effectiveness in ME/CFS.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report
Dr. Chia, an infectious disease specialist focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) uses Oxymatrine frequently in his practice and oxymatrine played an integral role in returning Dr. Chia’s son, Andrew to health. The concern over the purity of products coming from China prompted Dr. Chia to produce a more stable and effective preparation of Oxymatrine called Equilibrant which includes other immune factors. He stated that
“Equilibrant…. is made from the highest quality extracts under FDA certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) in the United States. It is also laboratory tested in FDA registered analytical laboratories.”
A Main Focus of Treatment – For many years Dr. Chia used interferons and Oxymatrine to treat his patients but dropped interferon use in most patients. When I asked him about the efficacy of Oxymatrine a as a stand-alone treatment a couple of years ago he stated:
“I have treated 70 patients with the combination of alpha and gamma interferon, and the efficacy is about 47% overall. I reserve the interferon treatment for patients with severe fibromyalgia without debilitating fatigue. The cost is prohibitive ($5000/month) and the side effect does not allow patient to continue the treatment for more than 1-3 months. Few patients had remission of symptoms for as long as 2-3 years. The chance of improvement is minimal, If the myalgia is not dramatically better by 2-4 weeks on interferon treatment.” “Since the herbal preparation is much cheaper, has better efficacy and less side-effects, I have not used interferon treatment for over a year. I learned to titrate the dose of the herbal preparation for patients with different symptomatology.”
Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) - ”The dose of Equilibrant should be increased slowly. I routinely start with one tablet with a glass of water before or with meal everyday for one to two weeks. If there is no increase of pre-existing symptoms, such as fatigue, myalgia, headache, the dose could be increased to one tablet 2 times a day for one to two weeks, then slowly work up to 2 to 3 tablets 2 times a day. No further escalation of dose should be done if there is significant increase in symptoms. Further titration can be done later as needed, depending on the patient’s response and tolerance.”
Fibromyalgia – “Patients with significant fibromyalgia rarely need more than 1 tablet once or twice a day, but few can take up to 4-6 tablets/day. Pain can decrease as soon as 2 weeks, often afer an initial increase of myalgia. If the increase in pain persists for few weeks without improvement while taking one or two tablets/day, the patient will not likely respond and certainly should not take higher doses. “
In one to three months it should be clear if the drug is working. If it is long courses of the drug may be necessary. Expect to be taking the drug for a year (at least) if it works. Patients who get off the drug too early may relapse. Care should be given not to engage in vigorous exercise during the first couple of months. When the drug is discontinued, it should be discontinued over several weeks.
Fifty percent of patients experience improvement, some quite dramatic and others more moderate. . Relatively long-term use of the herbs is required to prevent relapse in many patients.
Increased pain, stomach problems,etc. are not uncommon in early treatment. Patients on heavy doses of narcotic pain medication may not be able to withstand temporary levels of increased pain. Side effects can be ameliorated by decreasing and then slowly increasing the dose.
Warning: Patients with autoimmune manifestations or seizures should not take these herbs.
Each Equilibrant box contains 90 tablets. The price is $ 49.95 USD per box. It is professionally packaged in blister cards, which protect the stability of each tablet. You can find the product here for more information.