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Learn about SCNM's numerous research projects

The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Research Department focuses on bridging the gap between traditional and evidence based medicine. Our research is fueled by the efforts of naturopathic students, faculty and clinical staff and it utilizes cutting edge technology to investigate the validity of natural and alternative treatments. In addition, our clinic allows for the identification of special case studies that constantly elucidate our areas of investigation; and it give us the option of expanding our basic science findings into clinical trials. 

Characterization of botanicals which modulate immune activity, including cellular activation, cytokine induction, signal transduction, and receptor binding

Alterations in Cellular Gene Expression in Response to Immuno-Modulatory Botanicals

Our researchers are working with botanicals to characterize how they alter the immune response, both in the laboratory and in human subjects. From this, we can evaluate what cells are activated by different botanicals and which genes are altered in expression. This allows a better understanding of what effects these botanicals will have on the immune system and if they are most effective against viral, bacterial or other pathogens.

Publications
Denzler, K.L., Waters, R.F., Jacobs, B.L., Rochon, Y., and Langland, J.O. (2010). Regulation of inflammatory gene expression by immunostimulatory botanicals. PLoS ONE 5 :e12561.

Botanicals as Adjuvants to Increase Safety and Efficacy of Vaccines 

In coordination the “Alterations in Cellular Gene Expression in Response to Immuno-Modulatory Botanicals” project, SCNM is investigating how these botanicals could increase the efficacy of vaccines by modulating the immune response. These results may support the use of botanicals during vaccination to decrease the incidence of side effects.

General

Ozone treatment for bacterial, yeast and viral infections

Anti-Microbial Activity Associated with Colloidal Silver and Botanical Extracts

Long before the discovery of antibiotics, colloidal silver was used to treat microbial infections. Studies conducted by our research team have demonstrated the spectrum of activity of colloidal silver towards different types of microbial infections.

Publications
Morrill, K., May, K., Leek, D., Langland, N., Jeane, L., Ventura, J., Skubisz, C., Scherer, S., Lopez, E., Crocker, E., Peters, R., Oertle, J., Nguyen, K., Just, S., Phair, M., Humphrey, M., Payne, D., Jacobs, B., Waters, R, Langland, J. (2012 Sep 27).Spectrum of Anti-microbial Activity Associated with Colloidal Silver. J. Alt. Medicine 19 : 224-231.

Bacterial

Development of Bacterial Resistance to Anti-Microbial Botanicals

With the significant increase in antibiotic resistance bacteria, antibiotic use has become challenging. Many botanicals have well-characterized antibacterial activity and our researchers are investigating the rate at which bacteria can develop resistance to many of these botanicals.

Characterization of the mechanism of action associated with antibacterial botanicals

Characterization of botanicals effective against Staphylococcus and MRSA

A Comparison of the Anti-Staphylococcus aureus Activity of Extracts from Commonly Used Medicinal Plants
In order to answer today's call for effective treatments against Staphylococcus aureus, S. aureus, we evaluated and compared various botanical extracts that have historically been suggested as useful for their antimicrobial properties against S. aureus.

Results: The antimicrobial activity observed for the botanical extracts used in this comparative evaluation of efficacy included both bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal activity against S. aureus. Highly effective botanicals including Salvia officinalis, Eucalyptus globulus, Coleus forskohlii, Coptis chinensis, Turnera diffusa, and Larrea tridentata exhibited MIC values ranging from 60 to 300 μg/mL and a 106-fold reduction in bacterial replication. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Allium sativum were slightly less effective, exhibiting MIC values ranging from 90 to 400 μg/mL and a 105-fold reduction, while Anemopsis californica gave MIC value of 360 μg/mL and a 104-fold reduction in bacterial replication. Many botanicals, especially at lower doses, had an initial inhibitory effect followed by a recovery in bacterial replication. Such botanicals included E. globulus, C. chinensis, T. diffusa, A. californica, and Berberis vulgaris.

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that S. officinalis, E. globulus, C. forskohlii, A. uva-ursi, C. chinensis, T. diffusa, A. californica, A. sativum, and L. tridentata all show promising direct antimicrobial activity against S. aureus. For many of these botanicals, strong bacteriocidal activity was observed at higher concentrations, but even at lower concentrations, bacteriostatic activity was evident. Other botanicals including B. vulgaris, Baptisia tinctoria, and Glycyrrhiza glabra showed moderate activity against S. aureus, while Schisandra chinensis, Echinacea angustifolia, and Polygonum multiflorum were shown to be ineffective.

Read the full article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine here.

Characterization of botanicals against the plague

Identification of botanicals with biofilm inhibition activity

Viral

Characterization of botanicals effective against viruses, including herpes, smallpox, papilloma, ebola and HIV

We’ve taken the 50 botanicals most commonly used for the treatment of herpes infections and tested them for anti-viral activity in the laboratory environment. Based on results from these studies, researchers have created a formulation with the six most active botanicals to create a blend which appears to be effective at killing herpes viruses. 

Our work has recently led to the development of a botanical blend which can provide rapid relief of herpes-associated cold sores (named ReliefBlue), illustrating how scientific research can aide and advance naturopathic medicine.

Learn more about ReliefBlue here.

Anti-Poxviral Herbal Extract: Counter Bioterrorism Agent and Treatment for Emerging Monkeypox Virus Infections

Botanicals to fight bioterrorism? SCNM researchers asked themselves this very question when smallpox reemerged as a bioterrorism.

In collaboration with the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute and the Center for Disease Control, our Research Department embarked upon re-examining century-old claims made for an herb’s ability to fight smallpox. Using laboratory studies, SCNM researchers have demonstrated that this botanical inhibits the viral replication of smallpox and could be used as a potential therapeutic. Using cutting-edge technology, this work went on to describe the actual target during the viral replication cycle against which the herb is working.

Publications
Arndt, W., Mitnik, C., Denzler, K.L., Waters, R.F., Jacobs, B.L., Rochon, Y., and Langland, J.O. (2012). Rediscovery of a 19th century cure for smallpox. PLOS ONE 7(3):e32610. Epub 2012 Mar 9

Isolation of active constituents of antiviral botanicals

Fungal

Characterization of anti-yeast botanicals

Characterization of botanicals with anti-tumorigenic activity

Creation of biological assays to test efficacy of botanicals

Marker compound identification and validation

Optimal methods of botanical tincture preparation

Control of microbial contaminants in botanical tinctures

Development of bacterial resistance to botanicals

Effects of homeopathy using cell culture models

Effects of prolotherapy on chronic injuries

Glutathione effects on Parkinson’s disease

Effectiveness of IgG and IgE allergy testing against chronic disease