Hallucinogenic herb may help drug addicts

Copyright 1993 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

November 19, 1993, Friday, FINAL EDITION


GRAPHIC: Photograph

IAX-CLASS: Health; Magazine


LOAD-DATE-MDX: April 08, 1994

LENGTH: 317 words

HEADLINE: Hallucinogenic herb may help drug addicts



BODY: An ancient and illegal hallucinogenic herb that was popular during the 1960s is a potential treatment for heroin and cocaine addiction, say researchers backed by the U.S. government.

Ibogaine occurs naturally in the root bark of a shrub once used in religious ceremonies in Africa. Scientists established long ago that the herb can reduce cravings for heroin and cocaine says Dr. Ram Murty of the University of Kentucky research team. But the extract tended to oxidize and break down, so it could not be tested.

Now Murty and colleagues have found a way to stabilize it and to produce tablets, capsules and injectable liquid ibogaine, which retain their potency.

Exercising in cold induces asthma

LONDON (Reuter) – Strenuous exercise outdoors in cold weather may contribute to the development of asthma in healthy people, according to Swedish researchers. Doctors comparing 42 elite Swedish cross-country skiers and 29 non-skiers discovered that asthma and associated breathing difficulties were much more common in skiers than in the general population. “Strenuous training at low temperatures appears to be pathogenic for asthma, possibly due to the repeated breathing of large amounts of cold air,” the researchers report in the British Medical Journal.

Italy’s birthrate lowest in world

ROME (AP) – Italy, home of the Vatican, now has the lowest birthrate of any country in the world. Italian women of childbearing age have an average of 1.3 children, according to the U.N.’s latest State of the World Population report. A statistical 1.8 children per woman is needed to keep a population from shrinking, demographers say. In comparison, Canadian women between the ages of 15 and 44 had an average of 1.6 children in 1991. The birthrates in African and Arab countries are mainly triple or quadruple much of the West’s: Rwanda’s, for example, is 8.5 and Saudi Arabia’s is 6.4.

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