By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple University Hospital is spearheading the study of a plant-based drug to treat a serious breathing problem.

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Speedwell is a plant used for medicinal purposes in China and Korea to treat chronic breathing related diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

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Dr. Gerard Criner, director of the Temple Lung Center, is testing a pill form of the herb to determine if it is effective in treating inflammation in the lungs.

“This is an herbal medicine for inflammation description of how it’s been used is kind of varied,” said Criner. “People can drink it orally  — usually a liquid, like a tea.”

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COPD is actually a group of diseases including emphysema and bronchitis and it’s the third leading cause of death in this country.