An oral extract of the speedwell (also known as veronica) plant appeared to reduce some symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers reported here.
The peak expiratory flow increased in patients on YPL-001 by about 10%, while the increase in the placebo patients was less than 3%, according to Nathaniel Marchetti, DO, of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, and colleagues.
"YPL-001 is an oral formulation of an extract from the aerial part of the plant speedwell used in traditional Asian medicine to treat respiratory inflammatory diseases including ... COPD," they explained in a presentation at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) annual meeting.
The phase IIa study was initiated to determine the safety and tolerability of YPL-001, so the trend toward efficacy was encouraging, Marchetti said.
"We found that the treatment with the drug was very well tolerated," he noted. "There were very few side effects other than those commonly seen among COPD patients including exacerbations."
"This is a medication, a herbal product, that has been used for millennia in Asia to treat inflammatory respiratory diseases," he added. "What Yungjin Pharm of Korea is trying to do is to take this herbal, and make it more standardized, so that everyone gets the same dose, and also to figure how not only whether it works, but how it works, so we can use it to treat people in a more systematic way."
Speedwell/veronica is commonly found in the U.S. as well. Plants are sold in garden shops and are also a frequent lawn weed problem.