Orthosiphon aristatus (Java Tea)

Orthosiphon aristatus (Bl.) Miq. (syn. Orthosiphon grandiflorus Bold, syn. Orthosiphon spicatus (Thunb.) Bak., syn. Orthosiphon stamineus Benth.) is a member of the Lamiaceae () native to tropical Asia and is currently under cultivation in Indonesia, the main exporter of this medicinal plant (). Due to its broad distribution as a medicinal plant, 0. aristatus has adopted several synonymes such as Indischer Nierentee (German), Koemis koetjihg (Dutch), Kumis kuting (Indonesian), Java tea (English) or feuilles de barbiflore (French) (). Leaves of Orthosiphon aristatus (Orthosiphonis folium DAB 10) are used to prepare a tea which is known for its diuretic properties. The tea is especially recommended as a treatment of chronic kidney or bladder inflammations (). In addition to its diuretic effect, the tea is reported to cause increased excretion of NaCl (). The bioactive constituents of this medicinal plant, however, are still basically unknown. In a previous study with differentiated plants of Orthosiphon aristatus we showed for the first time that hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives such as the main compound rosmarinic acid () are the major phenolic constituents present in leaves and stems (). The predominance of rosmarinic Read more […]

Adulterants, contaminants and pollutants in Capsicum products

Chilli used as a spice has agricultural and marketing specifications and also food standards in national regulations since chilli is a food, a food supplement or a food adjunct. Concerns on quality and safety emerge on account of occasional aberrations of adulteration, contamination and pollution. Relatively stable pollutants of air, water and soil get to this plant product engendered by all these three. Needless to say, adulteration is intentional and contamination incidental. The latter exceeding the limits of good agricultural and manufacturing practices changes to adulteration even if not intentional. This chapter deals with adulteration in the whole, in the form of powder and paste of chilli. The details include microscopic detection of adulterants, estimation of carotenoids and non-volatile ether extract of extracted chilli and that influenced by addition of edible oils. Contaminants specially in respect to irradiation and added colors are included. Pollutants include trace metals, pesticides, mycotoxins and microbes. Insect-infested and insect-damaged chilli may not be rare in tropical regions. Chilli is not an esoteric spice and is not very costly either. Even then, it attracts its own moderate share of adulteration, 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 […]

Leontopodium alpinum Cass. (Edelweiss)

Distribution of the plant The genus Leontopodium (Compositae; Inulae; Gnaphaliinae sensu amplo) consists of between 30 and 40 species () found growing in mountainous areas of Japan (), Asia () and Europe (). A single species, Leontopodium alpinum Cassini, is considered to represent the genus in Europe () and the once separate Leontopodium nivale (Ten) Huet ex Hand.-Mazz. is now regarded as a subspecies, i.e. Leontopodium alpinum subsp. nivale (Ten) Tutin, stat. nov. (). The plant is protected by national legislation in Austria, Germany, Italy and Liechtenstein. Leontopodium alpinum, commonly known as edelweiss, is a perennial plant with a branching rootstock and fibrous roots (). Aerial structures exhibit wide morphological diversity (). Foliage leaves are linear to lanceolate in shape, 3-8 mm wide and pubescent. Inflorescence stalks develop from June to August and grow 2-45 cm high. The characteristically star-shaped “flower” varies in diameter from 1.5-10.5 cm and consists of an inflorescence made up of up to 12 densely aggregated capitula, which are subtended by an involucre of hairly leaves (). Leontopodium alpinum is traditionally found growing on limestone formations at altitudes up to 3140 m but can be easily Read more […]

Antimicrobial activity of eucalyptus oils

The preservative properties of the volatile oils and extracts of aromatic and medicinal plants have been recognised since Biblical times, while attempts to characterise these properties in the laboratory date back to the early 1900s (e.g. Hoffman and Evans 1911). Martindale (1910) included ‘Eucalyptus amygdalina’ (probably the phellandrene variant of Eucalyptus dives) and Eucalyptus globulus oils, as well as eucalyptol (1,8-cineole), in his study of the antiseptic powers of essential oils and although the ‘carbolic coefficients’ of eucalyptus oils were not as great as those for oils containing large amounts of phenolics – such as origanum (carvacrol), cinnamon leaf (eugenol) and thyme (thymol) – they did, nevertheless, give some quantitative measure of the antiseptic properties of eucalyptus leaf oils. Many volatile oils – particularly those of herbs and spices, but including those from Eucalyptus – have been used to extend the shelf-life of foods, beverages and pharmaceutical and cosmetic products; their antimicrobial and antioxidant properties have also pointed to a role in plant protection. Such a wide variety of applications, actual or potential, has meant that the antimicrobial properties of Read more […]

Processing of Capsicums

Standardization, grading and storage of dry chillies The Bureau of Indian Standards has outlined specified standards for dried chillies based on physical characteristics, as well as on other factors such as total ash, acid insoluble ash, non-volatile ether extract and fibre content. Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (1954), minimum purity standards are laid down for chillies. Agmark specifications for the grading of dry chillies for export takes into account various physical, chemical, sensory and microbiological parameters (). Microbial and insect infestations are serious problems during the storage of dried Capsicum. Ethylene oxide fumigation in bulk is recognized as the best treatment to achieve practical commercial sterility (). Methyl bromide and phosphene are used as fumigants for insect control. Ionizing radiation with a dosage of 10 kGy has been shown to destroy both microorganisms and insects. A dosage of 7.5 kGy has been shown to be sufficient for eliminating fungal populations, and oleoresin yields have increased from 24.45 % to 31.61% by irradiation due to the enhanced extractibility (). As mentioned earlier, a large number of products are produced from chilli and paprika. The raw material Read more […]

Current Requirements on Paprika Powder for Food Industry

Paprika powder is one of the most important spices surpassed by only the original pepper. Seventy per cent of the spice is used for industrial purposes, and in meat products, soups, sauces and snacks. The traditional quality attributes are taste, pungency, colour intensity and stability. Due to increasing safety requirements in food processing techniques, additional attributes like microbial status and the possible occurrence of mycotoxins are gaining importance. The modern strategies in agricultural and food technological production are guided by the “field to fork”, idea. Therefore, considerations about paprika quality have to be extended to include horticultural aspects. The genus Capsicum belongs to the Solanaceae and comprises five domesticated species: C. annuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense, C. baccatum and C. pubescens. However, only members of the first three species are of industrial significance. The main distinctive features of the genus are the size of the fruits, the thickness of the fruit flesh, shape, colour and the pungency. Capsicum fruits are known by a considerable number of names, such as Capsicums, peppers, Spanish pepper, Cayenne pepper, chile, chillies and paprika. All names, including the Read more […]

The Essential Oil of Caraway

The essential oil is obtained mainly of caraway fruits by steam or hydrodistillation. A good overlook about different distillation facilities is given by Lawrence (). The oil is colourless or slightly yellowish and toxic to humans even in relatively low amounts. Amounts of 4g can already cause health disturbances for adults (). Carvone may also cause allergic effects (). Instead of distillation of the ripe whole caraway fruit, it is also possible to chaff the umbels directly from the field into a container which is afterwards directly connected on a distillation unit. The essential oil yield gained in such a way was in the experiments of Hannig et al. () about 481/ha. The early harvest had no negative influence on the oil composition (60% carvone in biannual caraway). Average essential oil yield (assessed on laboratory scale by Dachler et al. () in variety tests) was around 70kg/ha, with top yields of 160kg/ha. In the contrary to earlier reported carvone contents () they observed only 30–48% carvone in the tested biannual varieties. Bazata et al. () found, that during the distillation process the relation of carvone and limonene changed. At the beginning of the distillation the essential oil had higher amounts Read more […]

Antioxidative Activity of Tea

The role of free radical and active oxygen in the pathogenesis of certain human diseases, including aging, cardiovascular disease and cancer is becoming increasingly recognized. Lipid peroxidation has been regarded as one of the mechanisms of senescence of humans and the cause of atherosclerosis. Because of their very high chemical reactivity, free radicals show very short lifetimes in biological systems. However, the excessive amounts of free radicals are able to produce metabolic disturbances and to damage membrane structures in a variety of ways. Therefore, much attention has been focused on the use of antioxidants, especially natural antioxidants, to inhibit lipid peroxidation or to protect the damage of free radicals. Many investigations indicated that intake of certain amounts of fruits and vegetables that contain a large quantity of vitamin C and vitamin E showed antioxidative activity. Tea is not only rich in vitamin C and E, but also contains an important group of polyphenols, i.e., catechins, which display obvious antioxidative activity. The polyphenols are able to act as antioxidants by virture of the hydrogen-donating capacity of their phenol groups, as well as their metal-chelating potential (). As early Read more […]

Turmeric as Spice and Flavorant

  Spices are the plant products or a mixture thereof free from extraneous matter, cultivated, and processed for their aroma, pungency, flavor and fragrance, natural color, and medicinal qualities or otherwise desirable properties. They consist of rhizomes, bulbs, barks, flower buds, stigmata, fruits, seeds, and leaves of plant origin. Spices are food adjuncts, which have been in use for thousands of years, to impart flavor and aroma or piquancy to foods. They are used to prepare culinary dishes and have little or no nutritive value, but they stimulate the appetite, add zest for food, enhance the taste, and delight the gourmet. As there is a need to reduce the fat, salt, and sugar used in food preparation for health reasons, it becomes critical to pay attention to alternative ways to enhance the natural flavors of foods. Value can also be added to meals by enhancing and improving presentation and by using appropriate garnishes. The primary function of a spice in food is to improve its sensory appeal to the consumer. Food presentation is the arrangement of food on a plate, tray, or steam line in a simple appetizing way. This is generally accomplished by imparting its own characteristic color, flavor, aroma, and Read more […]