Gentiana Species

Distribution and Importance Gentiana species belong to the family Gentianaceae, order Gentianales, superorder Gentiananae, subclass Asteridae, class Magnoliopsida (). The species are divided into several sections according to the morphology of the above-ground organs (). The subgenera Eugentiana Kusnezow and Gentianella Kusnezow () are entered in Flora Europaea as separate genera: Gentiana L. and Gentianella Moench (). The genus Gentiana comprises about 400 species distributed chiefly in mountain regions, especially in the Alps, the Carpathians, the Central Asia mountains, and the Andes in South America. Due to their impressive and colorful flowers, gentians decorate mountain meadows. Some species are also found in the monsoon zone of India, in New Zealand, and in southern Australia. More rarely, gentians are found in the temperate zone lowlands of the northern hemisphere (). The yellow gentian root was already mentioned as a remedium stomachicum by Galen and Dioscorides (). Apart from Gentiana Iutea L., there are other medicinal species included in many pharmacopoeias and plant registers of the world (). According to most European pharmacopoeias, the official drug may also contain material from Gentiana pannonica Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil: Other Activities

Plants belonging to the genus Ocimum exhibit a great deal of different pharmacological activities of which the most important, as concluded by the number of research reports, will be discussed below. The activities to be discussed in more detail are anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating and adaptogenic, anticarcinogenic, hypoglycemic and blood lipid lowering, radioprotective, effect on the CNS, antiulcerogenic, hepatoprotective and the effect on smooth muscle. In addition to these activities a number of other activities are also reported in the literature, such as antioxidant, angioprotective effect, effect on the reproductive behaviour and antiwormal activity. Anti-inflammatory Activity Ocimum sanctum L., popularly known as “Tulsi” in Hindi and “Holy Basil” in English, is a widely known sacred plant of Hindus. Different parts of the plant have been claimed to be valuable in a wide spectrum of diseases. For instance, it is used for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, pain and fever in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Ocimum sanctum is now intensively studied in order to prove these activities by pharmacological evidence. A methanol extract and an aqueous suspension of Ocimum sanctum leaves inhibited Read more […]

Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)

Medical Uses Ginseng is used as an adaptogenic (for stress), an anti-fatigue agent, an anti-stress agent, and a tonic. Historical Uses Ginseng has been used medicinally in Asia for more than 5000 years. It is known as the ruler of tonic herbs. It is also known as “root of man.” Growth This perennial plant is indigenous to China and is cultivated in many countries. Ginseng: Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Triterpenoid saponins, especially ginsenosides. Ginseng: Clinical Uses Ginseng is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization for use as an adaptogenic (for stress), an anti-fatigue agent, an anti-stress agent, and a tonic. In Germany, ginseng may be labeled as an aid to convalescence and a tonic to treat fatigue, reduced work capacity, and poor concentration. Mechanism of Action Triterpenoid saponins are believed to help the body build vitality, resist stress, and overcome disease. Ginseng inhibits platelet aggregation by inhibiting thromboxane A2 production. Ginsenosides may act on the pituitary gland, not the adrenal glands. The pituitary secretes corticosteroids indirectly through the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone and also stimulates nerve fibers Read more […]

Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer

The Oriental people traditionally use ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer) roots and extracts for geriatric, tonic, stomachic, and aphrodisiac treatment. Brekhman and Dardymov reported the plant to possess anabolic, adaptogenic, anti-stress, hypothermic, central nervous system stimulation, radio-protective, antibiotic, minor hyperglycemic, and anticancer activity. The Korean workers Oh et al. and Hong et al. have reported that in mice the saponin fractions potentiate nembutal hypnosis, retard the onset of cocaine-induced convulsions, reduce body temperature, and enhance sexual behavior. Distribution and Importance of Ginseng Ginseng is a perennial herb with fleshy roots, an annual stem bearing a whorl of palmate compound leaves and a terminal simple umbel. In the over-populated regions of the natural range of ginseng in Eastern Asia, forests were destroyed, and ginseng was exterminated with the trees. However, in the less populated areas of higher altitudes and also of higher latitudes, different species of ginseng still grow, from the Eastern Himalayan region to Korea, Chinese Northeast, and Russian Far East. The commercially important species at present is Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, which is grown in areas of 30-48 Read more […]

Oats (Avena sativa)

Oats: Medical Uses Oats are used externally for eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, and shingles (herpes zoster). Historical Uses Oats have been used to stabilize blood glucose levels, soothe the nervous and digestive systems, reduce cravings for cigarettes, and reduce cholesterol levels. Used externally, they help stop itching from conditions as chickenpox and shingles. Growth Oats are grown as a crop in sunny, well-drained, fertile soil. Threshing separates the grains, which are then dehusked and rolled for cereals. Seeds are milled from the cultivated plant. Part Used • Seeds Major Chemical Compounds • Alkaloid • Glycosides • Fixed oils • Iron • Zinc Clinical Uses Besides their nutritive value, oats are an adaptogenic grain (they help with stress). They also lower cholesterol and help to relieve menopausal symptoms. Oats are used externally for eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, and shingles (herpes zoster). Oats and a low-calorie diet help to lower blood pressure and improve lipid profiles. Oatstraw (dried, threshed leaf and stem of the oat plant) is approved by the German Commission E for “topical applications in herbal baths for inflammation and seborrheic skin diseases with pruritus”. Mechanism Read more […]

Northern Asia

In the history of medicinal plant use in eastern Asia and Siberia, a very important school of medical practice, traditional Chinese medicine, links practices from a number of traditions that have been handed down by word of mouth (as in Siberia or northern China) and for which written historical sources are very rare and poorly investigated (e.g., Mongolian traditional medicine and the Tibetan school). The Chinese Materia Medico, has been growing throughout the last 2,000 years. This increase results from the integration of drugs into the official tradition from China’s popular medicine as well as from other parts of the world. The first major Materia Medica after Tao Hong Jing was the Xin xiu ben cao 659 ad, also known as Tang Materia Medica, which was the official pharmacopoeia of the Tang dynasty. It contained 844 entries and was China’s first illustrated Materia Medica. Zheng lei ben cao, 1108 ad, was the major medical treatise during the Song dynasty and contained 1,558 substances. However, China’s most celebrated medical book is represented by Li Shi-Zhen’s Ben cao gang mu, posthumously printed in 1596 ad, with 1,173 plant remedies, 444 animal-derived drugs and 275 minerals. This tradition has continued into Read more […]

Vulvovaginitis And Common Vaginal Infections

The normal vaginal environment is a dynamic milieu with a constantly changing balance of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other endogenous flora, glycogen, estrogen, pH, and metabolic byproducts of flora and pathogens. L. acidophilus produces hydrogen peroxide that limits the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Disturbances in the vaginal environment can allow the proliferation of vaginitis-causing organisms. The term vulvovaginitis actually encompasses a variety of inflammatory lower genital tract disorders that may be secondary to infection, irritation, allergy, or systemic disease. Vulvovaginitis is the most common reason for gynecologic visits, with over 10 million office visits for vaginal discharge annually. It is usually characterized by vaginal discharge, vulvar itching and irritation, and sometimes vaginal odor. Up to 90% of vaginitis is secondary to bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), and trichomoniasis. The actual prevalence and causes of vaginitis, however, are hard to gauge because of the frequency of self-diagnosis and self-treatment. In one survey of 105 women with chronic vaginal symptoms, 73% had self-treated with OTC products and 42% had used alternative therapies. On self-assessment, Read more […]

Vulvovaginitis: The Botanical Practitioner’s Perspective

Research and clinical experience indicate that women commonly seek OTC and alternative therapies for the treatment of vaginal infections and vulvovaginitis (Table Botanical Treatment Strategies for Vulvovaginitis). In one study, 105 patients, with a mean age of 36 years, and 50% with college degrees, referred by their gynecologists for evaluation of chronic vaginal symptoms, were interviewed about their OTC and alternative medicine use in the preceding year, it was found that 73% of patients had self-treated with OTC antifungal medications or povidone-iodine douching and 42% had tried alternative therapies including acidophilus pills orally (50%) or vaginally (11.4%), yogurt orally (20.5%) or vaginally (18.2%), vinegar douches (13.6%), and boric acid (13.6%). Botanical Treatment Strategies for Vulvovaginitis Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Eliminate / reduce infection Antimicrobial Allium sativum Garlic Arctostaphylos uva ursi Uva ursi Berberis aquifolium Oregon grape Calendula officinalis Calendula Coptis chinensis Goldthread Clycyrrhiza glabra Licorice Hydrastis canadensis Goldenseal Melaleuca alternifolia Tea tree Origanum Read more […]

Vulvovaginitis: Antimicrobial Therapy

Antimicrobial herbs are used as primary treatments in cases of vulvovaginitis when due to infectious causes. For acute infections, they are generally used solely as topical applications. For recurrent cases, external application is combined with oral use. Internal treatment should focus on immune supporting and antimicrobial botanicals, including echinacea, garlic, goldenseal, Oregon grape root, Pau d’arco, astragalus, and various medicinal mushroom species such as maitake and reishi medicinal mushrooms. Also see site for a discussion on adaptogens and immune support. Numerous herbs have exhibited both broad spectrum and specific antimicrobial activities. Although treatment approaches vary with each of the different infectious causes of vulvovaginitis, antimicrobial herbs are usually applied generically regardless of the infectious agent. There appears to be little, if any risk of resistance with herbal treatments; however, labs specializing in delivering services to complementary and alternative medicine practitioners sometimes do sensitivity and specificity testing for natural agents with screening for vaginal infections. This is unnecessary except in chronic, recurrent, or intractable cases. Garlic Garlic is Read more […]

Genital Warts (Condyloma And Human Papillomavirus)

Condylomata acuminata, commonly referred to as genital warts, is a highly infectious sexually transmitted disease caused by the infectious agent human papillomavirus. More than 20 types of human papillomavirus have been identified as infective. Of these, types 6 and 11 typically produce visible genital warts. Warts typically occur at multiple sites in the urogenital, perineal, and perianal regions. They appear as soft, moist, small pink or gray polyps, although they can also appear flat and smooth or granulated. Polyps may enlarge to form pedunculated clusters the size of which can become so large as to affect urination, defecation, and normal vaginal delivery. Genital warts may be painful, friable, and pruritic; however, the majority are asymptomatic. Human papillomavirus types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 are strongly associated with cervical neoplasia, cervical intraepithelial dysplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma. Up to 80% of sexually active adults in the United States carry human papillomavirus; however, only 5% develop human papillomavirus lesions or cervical dysplasia. The outcome of human papillomavirus exposure depends on a number of factors, for example, human papillomavirus type, host immunity, and smoking Read more […]