Pharmacology of Black Pepper

Many spices used in food seasoning have broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Their antioxidant activity against lipid peroxidation enhances the keeping quality of food. Apart from the use as a popular spice and flavouring substance, black pepper as drug in the Indian and Chinese systems of medicine is well documented. In the Ayurvedic descriptions, pepper is described as katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), usbnaveerya (potency, leading to storing up of energy, easy digestion, diaphoresis, thirst and fatigue), to subdue vatta (all the biological phenomena controlled by CNS and autonomic nervous system) and kapha (implies the function of heat regulation, and also formation of various preservative fluids like mucus, synovia etc. The main functions of kapha is to provide co-ordination of the body system and regularization of all biological activities). Pepper is described as a drug which increases digestive power, improves appetite, cures cold, cough, dyspnoea, diseases of the throat, intermittent fever, colic, dysentery, worms and piles; also useful in tooth ache, pain in liver and muscle, inflammation, leucoderma and epileptic fits. Black pepper is called maricha or marica in Sanskrit, indicating its property to dispel Read more […]

Black Nightshade, Terong Meranti, Poison Berry

Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds. Origin Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan. Phytoconstituents Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The Read more […]

Indian Almond, Katapang

Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae) Terminalia catappa L. is a tall tree, up to 25 m tall. Branches are horizontally whorled, giving it a pagoda shape. Leaves are shiny, obovate, 10-25 cm long, tapering to a short thick petiole. Leaves are yellow that turn red before shedding. Flowers are small and white. Fruits have smooth outer coat, 3-6 cm long, flattened edges, with a pointed end. Pericarp is fibrous and fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Madagascar. Phytoconstituents Catappanin A, chebulagic acid, 1-desgalloylleugeniin, geraniin, granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin, tercatain, terflavins A & B, tergallagin, euginic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Terminalia catappa has been used to treat dysentery in a number of Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, the leaves are used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints while in the Philippines, they are used to expel worms. In Karkar Island, New Guinea, juice from the squeezed leaves is applied to sores and the sap from the white stem pith is squeezed and drunk to relieve cough. In Nasingalatu, Papua New Guinea, the flower is crushed, mixed with water and drunk to induce sterility. In New Britain, Read more […]

Round Leaf Chastetree, Beach Vitex

Vitex rotundifolia L. f. (Verbenaceae) Vitex rotundifolia L. f. is an evergreen woody tree, densely covered with short hairs. Leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, broadly oblong-elliptic, 2-5 cm long by 1.5-3 cm wide, rounded or abruptly acute at the base. Inflorescence panicles are at the terminal, densely flowered, 4-7 cm long with purple corolla. Fruits are globose, 5-7 mm. Origin Native to Temperate and Tropical Asia, Australasia and Pacific. Phytoconstituents Rotundifuran, prerotundifuran, vitexilactone, previtexilactone, vitexicarpin, vitricine, vitetrifolins D-G, vitexifolins A-E, isoambreinolide and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In Malaysia, various parts of the plants are considered panacea for illnesses ranging from headache to tuberculosis. In China, the plant has been used for the treatment of cancer. A poultice of the leaves is used to treat rheumatism, contusions, swollen testicles and as a discutient in sprains. In Indonesia, leaves have been used in medicinal baths, as a tincture or for intestinal complaints. In Papua New Guinea, sap from crushed heated leaves is diluted with water and drunk to relieve headaches. The fruits are used to expel worms and in Vietnam, a decoction of dried fruits Read more […]

Citrus paradisi Macf. (Grapefruit)

The genus Citrus (family Rutaceae), produces coumarins, flavanones, flavones, and flavonols which occur in the free form and/or as glycosides, in addition to an extremely complex group of compounds which are volatile and are responsible for determining the characteristic aroma of each Citrus variety. Distribution and Cultivation Zones Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) is an important Citrus crop. Its origin is unknown, although recent studies point to a natural crossing between pummelo (Citrus grandis) and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), in which the first parental species is the dominant genotype. The first written description is by Hughes, who in a journey to Barbados in 1750 refers to it as “the forbidden fruit” (Webber 1943). Annual world production of grapefruit is 4.6 million metric tons, representing 7% of total citric produce, of which 89% (4.1 million metric tons) is produced in the Northern hemisphere, principally by the United States followed by Israel, Cuba, China, Cyprus, Mexico, Tunisia, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Italy, and Algeria. Less than 5000001 (average of FAO figures for 1987 to 1990; FAO 1991) is produced in the Southern Hemisphere by Argentina and South Africa followed by Australia and Brazil. Conventional Read more […]

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Medical Uses Green tea is used as an antioxidant, for its anticancer effects, and for its effects as a sunscreen protection. Historical Uses Green tea was first used by Buddhists in China and India and during meditation ceremonies in Japan. Traditional Chinese medicine recommends green tea “to prolong life”). Growth This herb comes from a small, native Chinese evergreen tree with green pointy leaves. It is grown primarily in China, India, and Japan. Part Used • Fresh leaves Green tea comes from the fresh leaf, lightly steamed to avoid oxidation of the polyphe-nol components, in contrast to black tea,which is allowed to oxidize. Major Chemical Compounds • Polyphenols 8 to 12 percent • Flavonoids (such as epigallo catechin gallate) • Tannins • Quercetin • Alkaloids (such as caffeine) Green Tea: Clinical Uses Green tea is used as an antioxidant, for its anticancer effects, and for its effects as a sunscreen protection. Mechanism of Action Catechins have an antioxidant role in the prevention of certain cancers. Polyphenols have antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects. Green Tea: Dosage Normal consumption in Japan is 3 cups per day with meals. Use 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves Read more […]

Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Red Raspberry: Medical Uses Modern use is based on the traditional uses of raspberry for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Historical Uses Raspberry leaves have been used as a folk remedy for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. Herbalists have sometimes called the red raspberry the herb for pregnancy. Growth The raspberry plant is a thorny bush that grows to about 6 feet high. It originated in Europe and Asia and grows in temperate areas. It resembles but should not be confused with the blackberry plant. Parts Used • Leaves • Fruit Major Chemical Compounds • Vitamins A, B, C, and E • Calcium • Phosphorus • Iron • Fragarine • Ellagic acid Red Raspberry: Clinical Uses Modern use is based on the traditional uses of raspberry for mouth sores, irritated mucous membranes, and diarrhea. It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In a survey of Certified Nursing Midwives who used herbal preparations, 63 percent stated that they used red raspberry leaf to stimulate labor. Mechanism of Action Ellagic acid has antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. The Read more […]

Plantago major

Plantago major L. (Plantaginaceae) Common Plantain, Whiteman’s Foot, Daun Sejumbok Plantago major L. is a small perennial herb. Leaves are nearly all basal, exstipulate, lanceolate to ovate, 5-20 cm long and rosette. Flowers are small, white, in dense spike-like inflorescence. Sepals are broadly elliptic, oblong to rounded obtuse or subacute and corolla are greenish or yellowish, with four lobed and imbricate. Seeds are dull black and endospermous. Origin It is found in Europe, Northern and Central Asia, and introduced all over the world. Phytoconstituents Aucubin, catalpol, scutellarein, nepetin, chloro genie acid, neochlorogenic acid, hispidulin, homoplantaginin, nepitrin, ursolic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The Greeks and Romans used it as an astringent, to heal wounds, asthma, fever and eye disorders. In Brazil, it has been used to treat skin ulceration (cutaneous leishmaniasis) caused by Leishmania braziliensis.l] P. major has been used in Turkey in the treatment of ulcers by taking the powdered dried leaves together with honey daily before breakfast. Infusion of the leaf has been taken for diarrhoea, ulcers, bloody urine, digestive disorders, and excess mucous discharge. The American Indian Read more […]

Ferula assafoetida

Common Names Pakistan Anjadana Bangladesh Hing England Asafetida India Hing Croatia Asafetida India Hingu Finland Asafetida India Ingu Germany Asafetida India Inguva Guyana Asafetida Afghanistan Kama I anguza Iceland Asafetida Pakistan Kama I anguza Lithuania Asafetida India Kayam Netherlands Asafetida Laos Ma ha hing Poland Asafetida France Merde du diable Russia Asafetida Mozambique Mvuje Spain Asafetida Tanzania Mvuje Sweden Asafetida Zaire Mvuje United States Asafetida Hungary Ordoggyoker France Asafetide India Perungayam Estonia Asafootida India Perunkaya Germany Asafotida Sri Lanka Perunkayan Germany Asant Finland Pirunpaska France Assa Foetida Finland Pirunpihka Italy Assafetida India Raamathan China A-wei Iran Rechina fena Greece Aza Netherlands Sagapeen United States Devil’s dung Turkey Setan bokosu Iceland Djoflatao Turkey Seytan tersi Latvia Driveldrikis Myanmar Sheingho Netherlands Duivelsdrek Tibet Shing-kun Denmark Dyvelsdrak Germany Stinkasant Norway Dyvelsdrekk United States Stinking Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cat’s claw

Uncaria tomentosa DC, Uncaria guianensis J.F.Gmel. (Rubiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Life-giving vine of Peru, Samento, Saventaro, Una de gato. Pharmacopoeias Cat’s Claw (US Ph 32); Powdered Cat’s Claw (US Ph 32); Powdered Cat’s Claw Extract (US Ph 32); Cat’s Claw Tablets (US Ph 32); Cat’s Claw Capsules (The United States Ph 32). Constituents The main constituents of both the closely related species of cat’s claw include the tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, isorhynchophylline and rhynchophylline, and the indole alkaloids, dihydrocoryynantheine, hirsutine, and hirsuteine. Quinovic acid glycosides have also been isolated. Note that there are two chemotypes of Uncaria tomentosa, one primarily containing the tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, isorhynochophylline and rhynchopylline, and one primarily containing the pentacychc oxindole alkaloids, (iso)pteropodine and (iso)mitraphylline. Use and indications Cat’s claw roots, bark and leaves have been used for gastric ulcers, arthritis, gonorrhoea, dysentry, herpes zoster, herpes simplex and HIV, and as a contraceptive. In various preclinical studies, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, immunostimulating, antimutagenic, antitumour and hypotensive Read more […]