Heimia salicifolia

Description, Distribution, and Uses of Heimia salicifolia Heimia salicifolia, a small shrub of the Lythraceae is the source of biphenylquinolizidine lactones and related alkaloids. Heimia is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical climates of the American Continent and has been described as reaching 0.5-3 m in height. It has sessile, linear lanceolate leaves that are generally opposite. The yellow flowers are solitary and axillary. The fruit is a capsule filled with small (ca. 0.5 mm diameter) ovoid seeds. H. salicifolia has received several common names. In Mexico it is mostly known as sinicuiche and less frequently as sinicuilche, sinicuil, huachinol, anchinol and xonecuili. In Brazil it is locally known as abre-o-sol, herva da vida and quebra arado and in Argentina as quiebra arado. The Mexican name sinicuiche is of most common use. H. salicifolia has been used as a folk remedy especially in Mexico. It has been employed as a diuretic, laxative, antisyphilitic, emetic, vulnerary, digestive and to treat cases of dysentery, inflammation of the uterus, bronchitis, and other chest ailments. In addition, inhibition of a beverage produced from the fermented plant is said to cause a mild state of intoxication Read more […]

Anisodus acutangulus

Anisodus (Solanaceae) comprises four species and three varieties, e.g. A. luridus, A. luridus var. fischerianus, A. acutangulus, A. acutangulus var. breviflorus, A. mairei, A. tanguticus, A. tanguticus var. viridulus. All of these are distributed in China, and only one (A. luridus) in Nepal, Bhutan, and India. They are perennial herbs or subshrubs. Stems are dichotomous or trichotomous; roots thick and fleshy; leaves simple, alternate or subopposite, entire or large-toothed, petiolate. Flowers solitary, axillary, lateral or between branches, usually pendulous. Calyx campanulate-funnel or funnel-shaped with ten veins, lobes four or five, with varying forms and length; Corolla campanulate with 15 veins, four to five lobed, imbricate. Stamens five, nearly equal length, anther ovate, introrse, longitudinally split, pistil a little longer than stamen, pyramid-shaped ovary. Capsila globose or nearly globose. All four species are raw material for the commercial production of various tropanes, of which scopolamine (also known as hyoscine) and hyoscyamine (atropine) are particularly important drugs. Two drugs are used as a remedy for stomach pains, fractures, rheumatic pains, arthritis, spamolysis etc.. Hyoscyamine has a 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 […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Possible Efficacy

In addition to supplements discussed above, a few other compounds may also have some efficacy in treating symptoms of anxiety. However, since the data that supports the use of the following supplements is extremely limited, clinicians should proceed with caution, and consider the use of the compounds discussed in this section as experimental. St. John’s Wort As described in site, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that exists in many species throughout the world, and it is widely used as an antidepressant. It is available in a variety of preparations, including capsules, liquid, oils, and raw herb to be brewed as tea. St. John’s Wort contains a plethora of active ingredients, including flavonoids, naphthodianthrones, phloroglucinols, phenolic acids, terpenes, and xanthones. These exert a variety of psychoactive effects, and several of these are described below. Of all herbal supplements, St. John’s Wort is the one that has been researched most extensively and there is strong support for its efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms. The use of St. John’s Wort as an anxiolytic is more recent, but a few studies suggest that is may be effective. Davidson and Connor (2001) reported case studies of patients Read more […]

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)

Medical Uses Ginger is used for nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, and inflammation. It may help to prevent cancer. Historical Uses Greek bakers imported ginger from the Orient to make gingerbread. Spanish mariners brought ginger to the New World. Growth Ginger is cultivated in tropical climates. Ginger: Part Used • The knotted and branched rhizome (an underground stem) called the root. Major Chemical Compounds • Volatile oils, particularly zingiberene, bisabolene, gingerols, and shogaols • Niacin • Vitamin A Ginger: Clinical Uses Ginger is used for nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, and inflammation. It also has anticancer effects. Ginger has been shown to relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy without adverse effects. It is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization (WHO) for “prevention of motion sickness.” WHO also has approved ginger for postoperative nausea, pernicious vomiting in pregnancy, and seasickness, whereas the German Commission E approved ginger only for dyspepsia and does not recommend its use during pregnancy. Mechanism of Action Ginger does not influence the inner ear or the oculomotor system; apparently it exerts its antiemetic effect Read more […]

Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)

Clinical Uses Feverfew is used to prevent and treat migraine headaches. Historical Uses Traditionally, feverfew was used to manage labor pains, to reduce fevers, and to repel insects. Growth Feverfew is a member of the daisy family and may be grown in herb gardens in the spring. The plant prefers dry soil and sun. Feverfew: Part Used • Leaves Major Chemical Compounds • Sesquiterpene lactones, primarily parthenolide Feverfew: Clinical Uses Feverfew is used to prevent migraine headaches and also to treat migraine headaches. Mechanism of Action The mechanism by which feverfew works is not fully understood. It may act like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by interfering with the first step of thromboxane synthesis (inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis), but it differs from salicylates in that it does not inhibit cyclo-oxygenation by prostaglandin synthase. Feverfew inhibits serotonin release from platelets and polymor-phonuclear leukocyte granules, which benefits patients with migraines or arthritis (The Lawrence Review of Natural Products, 1994). It has shown antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in animals. Feverfew: Dosage To be effective at preventing migraines, the parthenolide Read more […]

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum Annuum)

Medical Uses Cayenne pepper (capsaicin) is used for peptic ulcer disease, neuralgias, and herpes zoster. Historical Uses Cayenne pepper (capsaicin) was first used medicinally by a physician during Columbus’s voyage. Crowth This mildly pungent plant may be either annual or biennial. Its dark green fruits turn red when ripe. Cayenne Pepper: Part Used • Fruit Major Chemical Compounds • Capsaicinoids, including capsaicin • Vitamins A, C, and E Cayenne Pepper: Clinical Uses Cayenne pepper is used for neuralgias and herpes zoster and is effective in the treatment of peptic ulcer. It is approved by the German Commission E for “painful muscle spasms of the shoulder, arm, and spine in adults and children”. It has been shown to be useful for swallowing difficulty in acute tonsillitis. Mechanism of Action Capsaicin draws blood to the gastrointestinal tract for rapid healing. It also stops Substance P in the pain cycle. Capsicum species contain antinociceptive substances, which help to relieve chronic pain. Cayenne Pepper: Dosage External use: 1/2 ounce of cayenne powder added to 1 quart of rubbing alcohol for muscle aches; applied as a poultice. Ointment or cream: Preparations of .02 to .05 percent Read more […]

Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Nettle: Medical Uses Nettle is used for allergy symptoms and anemia. It also is used to prevent hair loss, stimulate hair growth, promote weight loss, and strengthen the liver. Historical Uses Nettle is the Anglo-Saxon word for “needle.” In folklore, nettle was used as a footbath for rheumatism, a spring tonic, a diuretic, and a remedy for asthma. Growth Nettle grows 2 to 3 feet high and has dark green leaves with stinging hairs. Touching or brushing against the leaves sometimes causes a severe local irritation. Parts Used • Leaves • Roots Major Chemical Compounds • FlavonoidsAcetylcholine • Histamine • Serotonin • Chlorophyll • Carotenoids • High amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin C, and silica. Nettle: Clinical Uses Nettle is used for allergy symptoms and anemia. It also is used to prevent hair loss, stimulate hair growth, promote weight loss, and strengthen the liver. It is used as a nutritive tea for pregnant and breast-feeding women. It can also be used for arthritis pain and for its anti-HIV effects. Mechanism of Action This herb has antihistamine and diuretic effects. It increases production of breast milk. It has antiprostatic, androgenic, keratogenetic, Read more […]

GLUCOCORTICOIDS

GLUCOCORTICOIDS are members of the corticosteroid family, with actions similar to the steroid hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. There are two main types of corticosteroids: glucocorticoids and MINERALOCORTICOIDS. Glucocorticoids that are important physiologically include hydrocortisone (cortisol), corticosterone and cortisone. These are essential for utilization of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the body, and in the normal response to stress. Naturally occurring and synthetic glucocorticoids have a powerful antiinflammatory effect. In contrast, the mineralocorticoids (e.g. aldosterone) are necessary for the regulation of the salt and water balance of the body. Corticosteroids can be used in hormone replacement therapy. For instance, the glucocorticoid hydrocortisone and the mineralocorticoid fludrocortisone can be given to patients for replacement therapy where there is a deficiency, or in Addison’s disease, or following adrenalectomy or hypopituitarism. The glucocorticoids are potent antiinflammatory and antiallergic agents, frequently used to treat inflammatory and/or allergic reactions of the skin, airways and elsewhere. Absorption of a high dose of corticosteroid over a period of time may also cause undesirable Read more […]

Psoriasis

A chronic and recurrent disease characterized by dry, well-circumscribed, silvery, scaling papules and plaques of various sizes. (The Merck Manual) This is a common skin disease of unknown cause that affects up to 3 % of the American population. Onset usually occurs before age 20, but all age groups may be affected. The severity of this condition can vary from the presence of one or two cosmetically annoying lesions to a physically disabling and disfiguring affliction of the entire body surface. The condition is not contagious in any way, and general health usually is not affected. However, it is no exaggeration to say that in extreme cases, psoriasis be ruinous to the individual’s physical, emotional, and economic well-being. In addition, some cases are associated with a severe form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis, that affects general health in much the same way as rheumatoid arthritis does. Psoriasis usually develops slowly, following a typical course of remission and recurrence. The characteristic psoriatic plaques, or lesions, are sharply demarcated, red and raised, covered with silvery scales, and bleed easily. These plaques do not usually itch, and will heal without leaving scar tissue or affecting Read more […]