Korean researchers found the isolation of compounds from the mythical vegetable lamb plant (Cibotium barometz) prevents bone deterioration.

Young Ho Kim, PhD, lead researcher of the study and professor at the College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University, Republic of Korea concluded that the isolated compounds, which prevented bone deterioration and destruction in 97 percent of cells without affecting other cells, "could be used in the development of therapeutic targets for osteoporosis". The original study was published in the Journal of Natural Products, a journal of the American Chemical Society, in the September edition.

With Easter taking place on April 4, more attention is being brought to this research because of the myth surrounding the vegetable lamb plant, namely that in the Middle Ages, as an explanation for how cotton grows, the C. barometz was believed to bear fruit that produced a lamb.

Nonetheless osteoporosis is a serious heath concern mainly amongst the elderly. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines osteoporosis as "a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and wrist."

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) osteoporosis is a cause of great concern for both preventative and public health, with:

 - 75+ million people in Europe, USA and Japan
 - 9 million new osteoporotic fractures, 1.6 million hip, 1.7 million forearm and 1.4 million clinical vertebral fractures in 2000
 - 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures
 - By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men to increase by 310% and 240% in women

Study, "Inhibitors of Osteoclast Formation from Rhizomes of Cibotium barometz": http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/np9004097