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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 873210, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/873210
Review Article

Natural Product Nitric Oxide Chemistry: New Activity of Old Medicines

1Texas Therapeutics Institute, Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1825 Pressler Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1825 Pressler Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Received 14 October 2011; Accepted 19 January 2012

Academic Editor: Ka Kit Hui

Copyright © 2012 Hong Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a therapy and preventative care measure for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) may prove to be beneficial when used in conjunction with or in place of conventional medicine. However, the lack of understanding of a mechanism of action of many CAMs limits their use and acceptance in western medicine. We have recently recognized and characterized specific nitric oxide (NO) activity of select alternative and herbal medicines that may account for many of their reported health benefits. The ability of certain CAM to restore NO homeostasis both through enhancing endothelial production of NO and by providing a system for reducing nitrate and nitrite to NO as a compensatory pathway for repleting NO bioavailability may prove to be a safe and cost-effective strategy for combating CVD. We will review the current state of science behind NO activity of herbal medicines and their effects on CVD.