Ammi majus L. (Bishop’s Weed)

Distribution and Importance Ammi majus L. (Bishop’s weed) is a subtropical species belonging to the family Apiaceae. It is a widely distributed species in the Mediterranean region, from the Canary Islands to Iran. Its range covers North Africa (Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia) and all of southern Europe. The species also occurs on other continents linder similar climatic conditions: in Argentina, southern United States, and less commonly in Australia and New Zealand. Ammi majus L. is regarded as the richest, natural source of linear furanocoumarins called psoralens. These compounds are found mostly in the fruits of this species. The psoralens are successfully applied in photochemotherapy of numerous dermatological diseases, e.g., in treating vitiligo, psoriasis, mycosis fungoides, atopic eczema, pityriasis lichenoides, urticaria pigmentosa, alopecia areata, and others. The therapy mostly makes use of photosensitizing and antiproliferating properties of psoralens. These properties are particularly enhanced in the presence of long-wavelength UV, called UV-A (λ = 320-400 nm), hence the treatment is often referred to as PUVA therapy (psoralens + UV-A). The use of fruits of Ammi majus in treating vitiligo has a long Read more […]

Stephania

Importance and Distribution of the Genus The genus Stephania (Menispermaceae) comprises approximately 50 species distributed from Africa through Asia to Australia. The importance of the genus in traditional medicine in Asia and Africa is well documented. The underground tubers of the vines are generally characterized by powerful pharmacological effects. Stephania abyssinica is a creeper indigenous to southern and eastern Africa. The leaves of this plant are used as a purgative and emetic, whereas the roots are employed in the treatment of roundworm, menorrhagia and boils. Stephania bancroftii is used by the aboriginal communities of Australia both as a treatment for diarrhea and as a fish poison. Stephania cepharantha (), a perennial plant native to mainland China known by the vernacular name “bei-yan-zi”, is commonly used as a folk medicinal herb. Decoctions from the tuber of Stephania cepharantha are traditionally used in China to treat a number of diseases including parotiditis, gastric ulcer, leukopenia, alopecia areata and alopecia androgenetica. The major components of this crude drug, known as Cepharanthin preparations, are the bisbenzylisoquinoline (BBI) alkaloids cepharanthine, isotetrandrine and cycleanine. Stephania Read more […]

Coronilla Species

Distribution, Classification, and Importance of the Genus Coronilla The genus Coronilla s.l. (Fabaceae) consists of about 50 species of perennial shrubs and perennial or annual herbs occurring in North and Central Europe, the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean region, North Asia, China, and Somaliland. The genus was divided by Uhrova (1935) into four sections, namely the two monospecific sections Emerus and Ballia, the sections Eucoronilla (divided into five series), and Scorpioides. In the more recent revisions by Zoz and Jahn, the latter taking into consideration also chemotaxonomic aspects, Uhrova’s scheme was followed, with only minor differences in the treatment of the third section, called by them Coronilla. A complete systematic revision on the basis of morphoanatomical, cytological, geographical, and chemical characters led Schmidt to propose a new classification of the genus. In Schmidt’s scheme, the genus is divided into the two monospecific sections Emerus and Ballia, the section Coronilla with a reduced number of species, and the section Scorpioides, formerly including only C scorpioides (L.) Koch and C. repanda (Poir.) Guss., and now including eight additional species, namely: C. coronata L., C. ramosissima Read more […]

Lavender: Clinical Use. Dosage

Although few scientific or clinical studies have been conducted with lavender oil, much of the evidence supporting its use is based on the known pharmacological actions of the constituents and a long history of traditional use. ANXIETY, INSOMNIA AND MOOD ENHANCEMENT A number of controlled trials and observational studies suggest that inhalation of ambient lavender oil has a relaxing effect and is able to reduce anxiety and improve mood, concentration and sleep. In a study of 31 healthy volunteers intermittent exposure to ambient lavender oil over a 30-minute period was found to increase the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in men and women with corresponding reports of higher vigour the morning after lavender exposure. That study also reported gender-specific effects with increased stage 2 (light) sleep, as well as decreased rapid-eye movement sleep and the amount of time needed to reach wakefulness after first falling asleep in women, and opposite effects in men. In a 4-week randomised double-blind, pilot study lavender tincture (1:5 in 50% alcohol) 60 drops/day was not as effective as imipramine for treating depression; however, a combination of lavender tincture and imipramine was found to be more effective Read more […]