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Scientists are reporting evidence that black rice—a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world population—may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma and other diseases. Their study appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Mendel Friedman and colleagues point out that their previous research showed several potential health benefits of eating black rice bran. Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white rice. Those experiments, which were done in cell cultures, hinted that black rice bran suppressed the release of histamine, which causes inflammation.
In the new study, they tested the effects of black rice bran extract on skin inflammation in laboratory mice. When they injected the extract into the mice, it reduced skin inflammation by about 32% compared to control animals and also decreased production of certain substances known to promote inflammation. Brown rice bran extract did not have these effects, they say. When the scientists fed the mice a diet containing 10% black rice bran, it reduced swelling associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation.
The findings "further demonstrate the potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation," the article notes.