Artemisia pallens

Artemisia pallens Wall. ex DC. is a small, herbaceous, aromatic plant with an exquisite aroma. It is grown in southern parts of India particularly in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It is apparently native to this area in south India. However, it is not found growing wild in this area probably because its seeds are very small and the seedlings are very delicate and need to be nurtured with extreme care until they are at least one month old. Artemisia pallens is locally known as davana and its essential oil is known as davana oil all over the world. Artemisia pallens is, therefore, referred to as davana in this chapter. Davana has been traditionally cultivated sporadically in gardens in south India for its delicately fragrant leaves and flower heads which are used in garlands, chaplets and religious offerings; it has been cultivated only recently for its essential oil. The fragrance of the herb and its oil is described as exquisite, deep, mellow, persistent and characteristically fruity. The cultivation of this plant on a commercial scale began only in the late 1960’s after its oil caught the fancy of perfumers in the USA and Europe. Commercial quantities of davana oil on a large scale were, Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

The historical and contemporary, medicinal uses of cannabis have been reviewed on several occasions. Perhaps the earliest published report to contain at least some objectivity on the subject was that of O’Shaughnessy (1842), an Irish surgeon, working in India, who described the analgesic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties of the drug. This report triggered the appearance of over 100 publications on the medicinal use of cannabis in American and European medical journals over the next 60 years. One such use was to treat nausea and vomiting; but it was not until the advent of potent cancer chemotherapeutic drugs that the antiemetic properties of cannabis became more widely investigated and then employed. One can argue that the available clinical evidence of efficacy is stronger here than for any other application and that proponents of its use are most likely to be successful in arguing that cannabis should be re-scheduled (to permit its use as a medicine) because it has a “currently accepted medical use”. Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis Spastic Conditions A discussion 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 […]

Coptis

Coptis rhizome (Japanese name woren), belonging to the Ranunclaceae, is very commonly used in Japanese traditional medicine as antipyretic, antidote and an-tidysentery. The cultivation of the rhizome of Coptis plant grows very slowly and takes 5-6 years before use as raw material or as a source of berberine from the rhizome. Its rootstock and fibrous roots contain much berberine and other minor protoberberine alkaloids. Berberine is an useful antibacterial agent, and has stomachic and anti-inflammatory effects. Berberine can be obtained from Coptis rhizome and Phellodendron bark and has a wide market in Japan and East Asia. It is of pharmaceutical significance to investigate callus culture of this plant for berberine production. Several researchers have been working on its production. Coptis () has 15 species of small herbs with perennial root stocks distributed in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. The following species are used medicinally: C. japonica in Japan, C. chinensis in China, C. teeta in India and C. trifolia in North America. The powdered rhizome or an extract of C. japonica is a bitter stomachic and astringent. It has been used as remedy for severe headache; a concentrated solution Read more […]

Scoparia dulcis L. (Sweet Broomweed)

Sweet broomweed (Scoparia dulcis L., Scrophulariaceae) is a perennial herb widely distributed in the torrid zone. The original habitat of this plant is tropical America. Stems are erect, branching, and sometimes woody at the base, 25-80 cm tall. Roots are pale yellow and straight, 10-15 cm long, with many lateral roots. Leaves are lanceolate, elliptical, or obovate, 5-20 mm long, with serrations at the edge, and are opposite or verticillate. The plant has small, white flowers with four calices. The corrola is actinomorphic and split in four. Flowers are 4-5 mm in diameter and bear four stamens and a pistil. Flowering time is summer and autumn. After flowering, ovate or globular capsules mature (2-3 mm in diameter), which contain many powder-like seeds. In tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and South and Central America, the fresh or dried plant of S. dulcis has traditionally been used as a medicament for stomach disorders, bronchitis, diabetes, hypertension, hemorroids and hepatosis, and as an analgesic and antipyretic. The antidiabetic activity of the Indian S. dulcis is attributed to the glycoside ammelin obtained from the fresh plant. The methanolic and water extracts from roots of Formosan S. Read more […]

Piqueria trinervia Cav. (St. Nicholas Herb)

Piqueria trinervia is one of ca. 20 species of this genus belonging to the Com-positae with a wide distribution in Mexico, Central America, and the Antilla. It is a nonhardy herbaceous annual, 70-100 cm tall, and has oblong, lanceolate, slightly toothed leaves, three-nerved and large, loose corymbose panicles of small creamy white flowers. This species grows in open, moist, or dry rocky hillsides and in grasslands at an elevation of 1200-3300 m. The plant dies after the rainy season in Mexico. It has several vernacular names, e.g., tabardillo herb, St. Nicholas herb, or in an ancient native Mexican language, Yoloxiltic. It is often used in domestic medicine as a febrifuge and antipyretic, and against malaria, biliary calculus, typhus, and rheumatism. This species is of interest as an ornamental. It is grown for the clusters of tiny white flowers, used in flower arrangements. Interestingly, this plant is apparently not eaten by cattle even if they are pressed by hunger. The plants usually grow in relatively isolated, pure populations of different sizes, suggesting an allelopathic effect. Piqueria trinervia is found as a pioneer of secondary succession in abandoned agricultural or ruderal fields. It is frequently Read more […]

Achillea millefolium L. ssp. millefolium (Yarrow)

Distribution and Importance Yarrow, commonly called soldier’s woundwort or herb of the good Lord, owes some of its common names to its known pharmacological, antihemorrhagic, and sedative properties. Dioscorides went even further in the applications of this plant; it can be used not only as a vulnerary, but also has tonic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, and antimycotic properties. Also, the scientific name of the plant is related to its antihemorrhagic action. According to the Greek legend, during the Trojan War (ca. 1250 B.C.), Achilles healed the wounds of King Telephos with yarrow; thus, the name Achillea, millefolium indicates that the leaves are finely divided. A. millefolium (Compositae) is a herbaceous, perennial plant that can reach 30-60 cm in height. Commonly scented, it usually presents white flowers. The leaves are greenish-gray due to the numerous trichomes. The plant is common throughout Europe, western Asia, Siberia, and North America, growing wild in fields, woods, and pastures. The flowering period extends from May to October. It is harvested from early to late summer, and is used either fresh or dried. The essential oil from the leaves, particularly that from the flower heads, is the source of its Read more […]

Euphorbia characias L.

Since antiquity, Euphorbia species have been used for multiple purposes. The leaves and branchlets of Euphorbia lancifolia Schlecht were used by Mayam Indians to produce a tea named Ixbut which is reported to act as a galactogogue, increasing the flow or volume of milk in postpartem women. Some species have been used for treatment of cancer, tumors, and warts for more than 2000 years. This is the case for E.fischeriana Steud., that was used in traditional Chinese medicine as an antitumor drug. Medicinal uses of Euphorbia species include treatment of skin diseases, warts, intestinal parasites, and gonorrhea. Table Some species of Euphorbia used in folk medicine summarizes the uses in folk medicine. The latex of some plants of Euphorbia is toxic, causing poisoning in human beings and livestock, skin dermatitis, and inflammations of mucous membranes, conjunctivitis, tumor promotion, and cancer. Table Some species of Euphorbia used in folk medicine Species Used as treatment of E. antiquorum L. Dyspepsia E. caudicifolia Haines Purgative, expectorant E. fischeriana Steud. Antitumor E. genistoides Berg. Diaphoretic E. helioscopia L. Bronchitis E. hirta L. Antihistaminic E. Read more […]

Cinnamomum cassia Blume (Cinnamon)

Distribution and Importance Cinnamon, the dried bark and twig of Cinnamomum spp. (Lauraceae), is one of the most popular and the oldest spices used for foods, confectionery, and mulled wine. It is also an important crude drug very frequently prescribed in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine, and it has been used as stomachic, carminative, diaphoretic, astringent, analgesic, and antipyretic in Asian countries. Cinnamon is also a component of herb tea in Europe. The cinnamon in Asian traditional medicines is represented by C. cassia Blume, which is called cassia or Chinese cinnamon, although some other Cinnamomum spp., such as C. zeylanicum Nees, C. burmanni Blume, and C. obtussifolium Nees, etc. are also used under the name of cinnamon. The trees of C. cassia () grow and are cultivated only in tropical and subtropical countries, especially in the southern part of China and the eastern part of India. Wild trees reach naturally over 10 m in height, but they can be cultivated as bushes of a height between 2 and 3 m with regulated branches. Medicinal Components Although cinnamaldehyde, a phenylpropanoid, is well known as the component characteristic of the aroma of cinnamon, condensed tannins in this plant Read more […]

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric: Medical Uses Turmeric inhibits cancer, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and lowers cholesterol levels. It may be used for stomach upset, acne, dermatitis, infections, dandruff, gastritis, gingivitis, herpes, inflammation, sunburn, and psoriasis. Historical Uses Turmeric was used internally to regulate blood sugar in diabetics and to prevent colon cancer. It was applied topically as a paste to reduce canker sores and cold sores. It was also used as a yellow dye for the robes of Buddist monks. Turmeric is also known as Indian saffron or yellow ginger. Crowth A member of the ginger family, turmeric is a perennial plant cultivated in tropical regions of Asia. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Curcumin • Volatile oils • Tumerone • Atlantone and zingiberone sugars • Resins • Proteins • Vitamins and minerals. Turmeric: Clinical Uses Turmeric inhibits cancer, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and lowers cholesterol levels. It is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization for dyspepsia. It is also used for acne, dermatitis, infections, dandruff, gastritis, gingivitis, herpes, inflammation, sunburn, and psoriasis. Read more […]