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 […]

Herpes: The Botanical Practitioner’s Perspective

Herpes simplex virus infection is a major global health problem, and its association with HIV infection makes it imperative to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies. The efficacy of many topical pharmaceutical agents in treating herpes has been somewhat disappointing and inconsistent, and additionally, are costly. Patients are often looking for safe and effective alternative measures to reduce the frequency of outbreaks and shorten their duration. It is also important to look for agents that will be effective at preventing the virus from inculcating into nerve cell bodies, proliferating, and taking up host residence. Botanicals represent a promising area for research. Unfortunately, at present there are few well-designed human clinical trials looking at the effects of herbs on herpes simplex virus. However a number of botanicals have demonstrated antiherpetic activity in vitro, offering some validation of the traditional use of herbs for infection. Several herbs have been shown to be topically healing for wounds, and as discussed in site, have demonstrated efficacy in improving immune response and reducing stress. These latter categories are listed in Table 8-7 with brief descriptions of their applications Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Strategies for Herpes: Antiviral Botanicals

The following herbs represent a selection of botanicals used for internal and / or topical antiviral therapy. All have shown some measure of antimicrobial activity in various studies and are a promising area of research for herpes treatment. Specific studies of the effects of herbs on herpes simplex virus are presented in the following. These herbs may be used singly, but more commonly are used by herbal practitioners in combination with other antivirals, or in comprehensive, multiherb, multieffect formulae. Aloe Aloe has long been used by herbalists as a topical healing agent for wounds, burns, irritated skin, and sores. Two studies were conducted by Syed et al. examining the efficacy of topical aloe vera treatments on men experiencing primary outbreaks of genital herpes. In the first study, 120 men were randomized into three parallel groups receiving either 0.5% in hydrophilic cream, aloe vera gel, or placebo three times daily for 2 weeks. The shortest mean duration of healing occurred with aloe vera cream, followed by gel and then placebo with healing times of 4.8 days, 7.0 days, and 14.0 days, respectively. Percentages of cured patients were 70%, 45%, and 7.5%, respectively. In the second study, 60 men were randomized Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Strategies for Herpes: Immunomodulation and Adaptogenic Support

Andrographis Andrographis, an Asian herb used in the Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, has been used traditionally as an anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antiviral, antioxidant, and immune-enhancing herbal medicine. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate immune enhancing activity and immunomodulating effects including its ability to stimulate both antigen-specific and nonspecific immunity, reduce inflammation, relieve fever and sore throat, and reduce incidence of common cold and upper respiratory infection in children and adults. Andrographalide, a constituent of the herb, has demonstrated anticancer activity. One study demonstrated specific anti-herpes simplex virus activity using isolate diterpenes from the herb. Western herbal medicine uses this herb in combination with other immunomodulating herbs, and in multieffect comprehensive formulae for patients who experience recurrent herpes outbreaks and who also have a tendency toward frequent colds and infections generally, and who also may be run down and depleted. It is excellent combined with adaptogens for overall immune support. Eleuthero Eleuthero is an important traditional medicine in China and Russia, used to stimulate the immune Read more […]

Overview Of Immunomodulating Herbs Commonly Used In HIV / AIDS

Herbs used in the treatment of HIV / AIDS are aimed at improving the integrity of the immune system. The herbs below are presented merely on an informational basis. They are generally used for tonic purposes, taken in any number of forms from concentrated extracts to use in soups. They are considered to have a high safety profile, although little research has been conducted on the effects of these herbs clinically in individuals with HIV / AIDS using conventional pharmacotherapy. Readers can refer to other topics in this textbook for HIV- and AIDS-related conditions, for example, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy for common antinausea herbs, vaginitis, insomnia, anxiety, or depression. Anecdotally, many HIV / AIDS patients have reported that, in conjunction with conventional therapies, various combinations of the following herbs, and others, along with heavy nutritional supplementation programs, have vastly improved their quality of life. Astragalus Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is the one of the most widely used immune tonifying herbs of Chinese medicine. It is primarily used as a lung tonic, and may be helpful in increasing resistance against respiratory infections. It is also used as a digestive tonic. It Read more […]

Treat Anxiety Disorders: Polyherbal Formulations

In Ayurveda, compound formulations are generally used in the therapy as the combination of many drugs provides a synergistic therapeutic effect and also includes ingredients which help to minimize the adverse effects of few other major drugs. A recent study demonstrated adaptogenic potential of a compound natural health product which had Withania as the main herb in an open label human trial. An open-label and uncontrolled clinical trial evaluated the impact of OCTA© on known parameters of stress (OCTA©, an aqueous-based liquid herbal preparation consisting of eight herbs as follows: W. somnifera, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Bacopa monniera, Zizyphus jujuba, Morinda citrifolia, Punica granatum, Shisandrae chinensis and Lycium barbarum). Another herbal formulation, Sumind is (Ayurvedic nomenclature and the quantity of each ingredient are given in parentheses), Nardostachys atamans (Jatamansi), Acorus calamus (Vacha), Celastrus paniculata (Jyotishmati), Convolvulus microphyllus (Shankapushpi), Bacopa monnieri {Brahmi), Withania somnifera (Ashwagadha), Valerian wallichii (Tagara), Eclipta alba (Bhringaraja). Sumind showed antidepressant activity as indicated by reduced immobility time in rats subjected to swim stress. It Read more […]