Archive for category Medicinal and Aromatic Plants'

Daucus carota L. (Carrot)

Daucus carota (family Umbelliferae) is one of the most commonly used plant materials in tissue culture studies. Although various aspects of growth and organization have been extensively studied, relatively few attempts have been made at in vitro production of specific plant ingredients in carrot cells. Carrot root is characterized by its high content of carotenoid pigments. Carotenoids are also found in petals, seeds, and fruits of various plant species. Many of the yellow, orange, and red colors seen in these plant organs are often due to the presence of these compounds. The distribution of carotenoids in higher plants has been summarized by Goodwin () and Spurgeon and Porter (). However, their occurrence is not restricted to those storage organs but includes all parts of the plant. They serve as light-harvesting molecules in photosynthetic organelles and also play a role in protecting prokaryotes from the deleterious effects of light. Carotenoids are also essential for vision. The light-absorbing molecules of the visual system in many organisms, 11-cis-retinal, is derived from β-carotene. Carotenoids have been shown to be anti-carcinogenous in rats and mice, and it also appears to be the case in humans (). Although Read more […]

Coluria Geoides

Coluria geoides (family Rosaceae) is a perennial (), and has the following synonyms: Coluria potentilloides R. Br., Coluria laxmanni Aschers. et Gr., Caryophyllata potentilloides Lam., Geum laxmanni Gartn., Geum potentilloides Ait., Laxmannia geoides Fisch., Laxmannia potentilloides Fisch., Siversia geoides Spreng., Dryas geoides Pall. Coluria R.Br. genus comprises of six species which are distributed in China; only Coluria geoides is native to South Siberia and Mongolia, and its morphology is described in The Flora of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (). The fruit anatomy of 30 species belonging to the subsection Geinae was studied by Korotaeva (). The findings of this study proposed to move genus Coluria R. Br. and Waldsteinia Willd. to the independent subsection Coluriinae. The only information available on the chemical composition of C. geoides is on the essential oil, which can be obtained from the roots by steam distillation (). The yield of essential oil is 1-1.8% of the dry weight. Eugenol () is the main component of the oil and constitutes 96% of it. In fresh roots eugenol occurs in the form of a glycoside which is assumed to be gein (geosid) (). Coluria geoides was cultivated in the Soviet Union Read more […]

Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)

Choisya ternata Kunth (Rutaceae family) are bushy shrubs of 2 m maximum height. They are ornamental, with persistent leaves and white flowers resembling those of orange trees whence their French name: Oranger du Mexique or English name: Mexican orange (). In Germany they are called Dreizahlige Choisya, and in their native country, Mexico, they are known as Hierba del Clavo, Flor del Clavo, Clavillo, and Clavo de Olor. The genus name is dedicated to the Genevan naturalist, Choisy (1799-1859). Botanical Traits and Classification The genus Choisya was studied by Gray (1888), Standley (1923), and later by Muller (1940). Choisya neglecta is the nearest to Choisya ternata, differing only by smaller leaflets and inflorescences. The other species counted by Muller are sometimes classified in a related genus, Astrophyllum, but according to Dreyer et al. (1972), the comparison of the chemical constituents of Choisya ternata, Choisya mollis, and Choisya arizonica cannot justify this distinction. Therefore, the genus Choisya contains seven species: C. ternata Kunth, C. neglecta Muller, C. dumosa A. Gray, C. mollis Standley = Choisya dumosa var. mollis Benson, C. arizonica Standley = Choisya dumosa var. arizonica Benson, C. palmeri Read more […]

Callitris spp. (Cypress Pine)

Distribution and Morphology The name Callitris is derived from the Greek word kallistos, and means most beautiful (). It was first named by Ventenat in 1808 (), and is a relatively small genus that belongs to the division of Gymnospermae, order Coniferales, family Cupressaceae (). Appreciable nomenclature complexities occur and therefore the reports on the number of Callitris species varies. In the Index Kewensis the names of 39 species are listed (Hooker and Jackson 1895). Although present in North Africa with two species, Callitris quadrivalvis and Callitris articulata (), most species are found in Australia, New Caledonia, Tasmania, and New Zealand (). Callitris, vernacularly named cypress pine, is found in all states of Australia and covers approximately 4300000 ha of forest (). The most common and most important species is C. columellaris, also known as the white cypress pine (). Therefore, the greater part of the literature on Callitris deals with this species. Confusingly enough, previously used names for C. columellaris are: C. glauca, C. intratropica, C. arenosa and C. hugelii (). In addition, recently another new name, C. glaucophylla, has been introduced for this species by Thompson and Johnson (), while Read more […]

Atractylodes spp.

Botanical Description The genus Atractylodes belongs to the family Asteraceae and comprises eight species of perennial herbs distributed in East Asia ():Atractylodes japonica Koidz. ex Kitam. in Japan, Korea, and China; Atractylodes koreana Kitam. (A. lancea var. simplicifolia Kitam.) () in Korea and China; Atractylodes lancea DC, Atractylodes chinensis Koidz. (A. lancea DC. var. chinensis Kitam.), Atractylodes ovata DC. (A. macrocephala Koidz.) and a few other species in China (Beijing Institute of Botany 1975). They grow wild, and some of them are cultivated in these countries as medicinal plants. Figure 1 shows A. lancea at the flowering stage. Flowers of Atractylodes are mostly (Institute of Materia Medica 1979) or entirely (Beijing Institute of Botany 1975) unisexual, and interspecific hybridization occurs (). The chromosome number is 24 in somatic cells of A. chinensis (), A. lancea (), A. lancea DC. var. simplicifolia Kitam. (), and A. ovata (). Usage of Atractylodes spp. Although young shoots of A. japonica are served as a wild vegetable in Japan, Atractylodes plants are mainly of medicinal value. Their rhizomes are important crude drugs prescribed in various preparations of Chinese medicine as Jutsu in Read more […]

Artemisia annua

Artemisia annua (Quing-hao), a fern-like weed, has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2000 years in the treatment of fever. The active principle, artemisinin (quinghaosu, QHS, artenuin), a sesquiterpene lactone with a characteristic peroxide bridge, was isolated by Chinese scientists in 1972 from the leafy portion of the plants (). Assays carried out on other species of Artemisia failed to show any appreciable amount of artemisinin (TDR 1981). However, other species of the genus are considered important as a source of medicines and flavors. From Artemisia douglasiana, for example was isolated dehydroleucodin (DHL), a sesquiterpene lactone with antiulcerous properties (). Artemisia dracunculus, also known as tarragon, is used as a spice in cooking and to flavor vinegar, and Artemisia absintium used in the production of volatile oils (). Botanical Description Artemisia annua (), popularly known as sweet Annie, annual wormwood, or sweet wormwood is a member of the Compositae family (Asteraceae). It is an annual herbaceous plant that grows in wild forms in different parts of the world, exhibiting great variety in both shape and size. It ranges from small, almost prostrate plants to tall, erect specimens which Read more […]

Aspilia mossambicensis

Aspilia mossambicensis (Oliv.) Wild (Asteraceae), is widespread in central and eastern tropical Africa (), ranging from Ethiopia through east Africa, the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Transvaal to Natal (). Various folk uses of this and other Aspilia species have been reported, including its use as a remedy for cystitis and gonorrhoea (), treatment of abdominal pains, intestinal worms, and skin infections (). Previous reports for two other species of Aspilia (A. montevidencis and A. parvifolia) showed the presence of the tridecapentaynene derivative, thiophene A (I) (), in roots (). Methanol and aqueous extracts of Aspilia africana have recently been shown to have antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including Agrobacterium tumefaciens, at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 g/ml (). Evidence that wild chimpanzees use Aspilia mossambicensis as a dietary and medicinal supplement () suggested the possibility that the plant could have biocidal activity, and prompted an investigation of the phytochemistry of this species. Thiarubrines A and B (II, IV) and the mono-thiophenic derivatives, thiophenes A and B (I, III), were subsequently isolated from leaves of dried Read more […]

Ambrosia tenuifolia Spreng (Altamisa)

Ambrosia tenuifolia Spreng (Ambrosiinae, Heliantheae) is a perennial herb of the Compositae family. The estimated total number of Ambrosia species reaches 40, all of them distributed on the American continent, except A. senegalensis, which grows in Egypt (). Ambrosia tenuifolia is a South American plant indigenous to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. A. tenuifolia Spreng and A. elatior L. are known in Argentina by the names of Altamisa and Ajenjo del Campo. Both plants are used by the natives in medicinal beverages since several pharmacological effects have been attributed to them. Distribution and Importance of Ambrosia tenuifolia In Argentina, Ambrosia tenuifolia () is found in the Provinces of Tucuman Catamarca, Cordoba, San Luis, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, and Patagonia. It can grow in fertile, sandy, argillaceous, humid, or saltpetrous soil. It is propagated from seeds and rhizomes, especially during spring. It blooms at the end of the summer and during the autumn. The composition of the essential oil of Ambrosia tenuifolia was studied by Talenti et al. (). It was evaluated by techniques in perfumery and considered to be of interest in the composition of perfumes. Its infusion is used in popular medicine Read more […]

Allium cepa L. (Onion)

The Allium species have been a source of food flavors and medicinal compounds in many areas of the world for several thousand years. The attraction of the alliums as a flavor source is primarily the pungent volatile constituents which are released when the fresh tissue is cut or chewed, and also the presence of milder odors in the cooked vegetables. The major alliums used as food in Western Europe include the onion (Allium cepa L.), garlic (A. sativum L.), chives (A. schoenoprasum L.) and leek (A. porrum L.), but Allium fistulasum L. and Allium tuberosum are grown on a large scale and eaten raw or cooked in China, Japan, and South East Asia. All the alliums referred to may be eaten raw, or as a cooked vegetable, or used as a flavor additive to fresh or cooked foods (). On a commercial scale, the flavor may be added as a powder, an oil, or as dried shredded bulb tissue. The importance of Allium is indicated by the fact that flavor derived from this source (usually garlic or onions) is the major flavor additive to convenience foods. The therapeutic value of fresh and extracted Allium has always been recognized, as can be judged by the list of ailments that are reported to be cured by garlic and onion. These are hemorrhoids, Read more […]

Ajuga reptans (Bugle)

Ajuga reptans () is a member of the Lamiaceae (Labiatae), subfamily Lamioideae (). It is a small perennial plant, 10 to 40 cm high and common in Europe, West Asia, North America, Algeria, and Tunisia (synonym: Bugula reptans; French name: bugle; German name: Giinsel). It is cultivated as an ornamental plant and several varieties have been described: var. viridissima (dark-colored leaves), var. atropurperea (deep blue-purple-colored leaves), var. variegata (leaf borders are white and aquamarine), var. alpina G.B., var. stolonifera, var. alba G.B. (white flowering). Most plants have blue flowers; plants with white, rose or lilac-colored flowers are seldom. Ajuga reptans grows on all kind of soils, especially under trees and in grasslands. It produces stolons, from which the floral shoots stand up. Normal leaves have a peduncle; leaves from flower shoots have no peduncle. Hybrids between Ajuga reptans and Ajuga genevensis and between A. reptans and A. pyramidalis are also known. Ajuga reptans has been used in treating lung diseases, for gargling, as an astringent, and has bile-stimulating activity. Together with mint leaves, it has been used as an anti-dispepticum (). In some regions, the young plants and sprouts Read more […]