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 […]

Perilla and the Treatment of Allergy

Perilla (Perilla frutescens Britt.), a traditional Chinese herb, has recently received special attention because of its beneficial effects in the treatment of some kinds of allergic reactions without the side effects associated with some other used antiallergy medicines. In this chapter, the authors present a review of the problem of allergy and the current favorable evidence for the use of Perilla products towards its resolution. The Allergy Problem Allergy is an abnormal immune reaction of the body to allergens such as pollen, dust, certain foods, drugs, animal fur, animal pets, animal excretions, feathers, microorganisms, cosmetics, textiles, dyes, smoke, chemical pollutants and insect stings. Certain conditions such as cold, heat, or light may also cause allergic symptoms in some susceptible people. Some allergens are just specific to some individuals but not to others. Allergens may act via inhalation, ingestion, injection or by contact with the skin. The resulting allergy may cause the victim to have a medical problem such as hay fever (allergicrhinitis), or atopic dermatitis (eczema), or allergic asthma, with symptoms ranging from sneezing, rhinorrhea, nasal itch, obstruction to nasal air-flow, loss of sense Read more […]

Application of Perilla Leaf Extract for Allergy

In addition to the factory made Perilla products, several other methods for Perilla preparation are available in the folklore of China and Japan (). The application of home made Perilla extract is also used for the treatment of allergy. However, the removal from the extract of agricultural chemicals and perillaldehyde, which might be allergens to some individuals is important (). Administration of Perilla Leaf Extract Dr. Oyanagi et al. reported their experiences in treating allergy patients with Perilla products (). According to the different symptoms and the condition of the patients administration may be singly or combined (). Oral administration For the concentrated products of Perilla extract, the dose was 0.3-2 ml/50—100 ml water or other drink, 2-3 times daily dependent on the age. With home made or diluted extract, the dosage varied with the concentration and methods of preparation. Nasal application To relieve the symptoms of an itching or running nose, the Perilla extract was applied inside the nostrils using a cotton bud. Topical application of Perilla extract Application to the skin was helpful in relieving the itching and redness. Topical use of Perilla cream and soap For some atopic dermatitis, Read more […]

The Possible Mechanisms of Perilla in the Treatment of Allergy

Although the precise mechanisms of Perilla treatment for allergy are not yet well elucidated, recent researches on the various phytochemicals and their pharmacological properties have also revealed some mechanisms of Perilla action in allergy. Kosuna () recently published a review on anti-inflammatory active compounds in Perilla. Several active components contained in Perilla have been found to be linked with antiallergy and anti-inflammatory actions. These include elemicine, CX-pinene, caryophyllene, myristicin, β-sitosterol, apigenin, phenylpropanoids and also some flavonoids which act as anti-inflammatory agents (). From current knowledge, the mechanisms of allergy treatment by Perilla may involve the following aspects which are Linked to the regulation of the condition by the immune system. Perilla Leaf Extract TNF inhibition Relevant to this section is the Perilla leaf extract which contains active components of molecular weight less than 10000. As mentioned above, Yamazaki reported that Perilla extract was shown to be active in inhibiting TNF production (). Kosuna proposed that more than ten active components contained in the Perilla leaf extract were active in inhibiting TNF production which plays an important Read more […]

Neem and Pollution

Rapid industrialization, urbanization, and congestion of population in a few pockets, in most part of the world, are giving rise to pollution caused by emission of gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen peroxide which may play havoc with the human population. In Indian culture, neem has been referred as an “air purifier” so it may be an avenue tree of choice in thickly populated areas, by its capacity to survive in adverse conditions, absorb some of the environmental pollutants, and act as an “air freshener” by releasing oxygen and mild odorous principles. Industrial Pollution Tanneries Tannery is one of the industries responsible for pollution of river water. In third world countries, in some areas, the cattle population exceeds that of humans, so an appreciable amount of animal hide is available which is treated with tanning materials to turn it into leather. The whole process requires repeatedly washing with water, so the water requirement is very high; after washing, this water becomes heavily contaminated and is drained back to the rivers. Chaturvedi () tested neem as one of the trees for tolerance to tannery waste water. The survival rate of the tree was 22–94 Read more […]

A Clinical Investigation of Perilla Extract Cream for Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is one kind of allergic disease. Allergies are very closely associated with an immune response. When the human body is invaded by a foreign substance (antigen), antibodies or sensitised lymphocytes will be produced as a result of the response of the immune system. Later when the same antigen invades the body again, it will soon be eliminated or become harmless to the body. This is an immune response which is an indispensable function to prevent infection and tumours. However, sometimes the immune reaction between antigen and antibodies or sensitised lymphocytes can cause harm to the body itself. This kind of immune reaction in which antigen comes from outside the body causes allergic disease, whereas antigen which comes from the body itself causes auto-immune disease. According to the statistical investigation in 1992 by the Ministry of Welfare of Japan, 34% of the Japanese population suffer from some kind of allergy, and most of them are children between the age of 0 to 4. There is the tendency for allergic symptoms to appeal- as atopic dermatitis in childhood and to become asthma or rhinitis as they mature. The word atopy is derived from Greek () and means odd and thus atopic dermatitis is Read more […]

The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications Read more […]

Carum carvi L. (Caraway)

The genus Carum Rup. ex Linn. Syst. ed I. (1735) from the family Umbelliferae (= Apiaceae) comprises 195 species. In Europe five species grow: Carum carvi L., C. heldreichii Boiss., C. multiflorum (Sibth. et Sm.) Boiss., C. rigidulum (Viv.) Koch, ex DC, and C. verticillatum (L.) Koch. From the economical point of view, the most important is caraway, Carum carvi L. Sp. PL, 263 (1753), known also as Carum aromaticum Salisb., C. decussatum Gilib., C. officinale S.F. Gray, and C. careum Bub. (Index Kewensis 1895-1974). Caraway is biennial herb which grows up to 150 cm, indigenous to Europe and Asia, and widely cultivated in many countries for its aromatic fruits. Leaves are two-to three-pinnate, lobes 3 to 25 mm linear-lanceloate or linear. The lowest leaf segments are at least twice as long as wide. Petals whitish or pink. Fruits 3 to 6 mm, ovoid, 3 to 3.5 times as long as wide, with low rounded ridges, smelling strongly after crushing, 2n = 20. Medicinal Components Carum carvi L., caraway, is known as a spice and a medicinal herb. Fruits of this plant are used as flavoring spice in various foods. Dried fruits are used for preparing a stimulating tea, they are also a mild stomachic. Caraway fruits contain essential Read more […]

Adverse Reactions Associated with Echinacea and Other Asteraceae

Fifty percent of Australians report using some form of complementary alternative medicines (CAM) apart from vitamins in any 12-month period, with similar patterns of use in British and North American subjects. Despite the common perception that “natural therapy” is safe, toxic and hypersensitivity reactions to complementary and alternative medicine have been described. Given that these products are rarely packaged in childproof containers, accidental exposure also occurs. Allergic reactions are most common in atopic subjects. This is not surprising when one considers that up to 20% of atopic subjects use CAM. Furthermore, these patients are more likely than others to become sensitized to cross-reactive allergens and some use (or are advised to use) products such as Echinacea for treatment of allergic disease. When interpreting reports of immediate hypersensitivity to Asteraceae-derived CAM, it is helpful to bear in mind a number of important concepts: (1) exposure to Asteraceae is common; (2) sensitization is more common in subjects with preexistent allergic disease; (3) there is allergenic cross-reactivity between different Asteraceae, and between Asteraceae and some foods; and (4) patients sensitized by inhalation Read more […]

Asteraceae: Drug Interactions, Contraindications, And Precautions

Patient survey data from Canada, the U.S., and Australia show that one in five patients use prescription drugs concurrently with CAM. The inherent polypharmaceutical nature of complementary and alternative medicine increases the risk of adverse events if these complementary and alternative medicine either have pharmacological activity or interfere with drug metabolism. Since confirmed interactions are sporadic and based largely on case reports, advice to avoid certain drug-CAM combinations is based on known pharmacological and in vitro properties. Known Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae Cross-reactive sesquiterpene lactones are present in many, if not all, Asteraceae. Patients with known CAD from one plant may develop similar type IV reactions following contact with others. Affected patients are often advised to avoid contact with all Asteraceae, yet this advice is based on limited knowledge of cross-reactivity between relatively few members of this large family. Some authorities recommend avoiding Asteraceae-derived complementary and alternative medicine if, for example, the patient is known to have IgE-mediated inhalant allergy to ragweed. While a reasonable approach, this ignores a number of important facts: (1) Read more […]