Citrus in Traditional Medicine

Citrus in traditional Asiatic medicine In a comparative study of the use of herbal drugs in the traditional medicines of India and Europe, Pun () found a marked similarity between the drugs used in the two continents. He attributed this not only to the similarity of the vegetation in the two areas, but also to the influence that traditional Indian medicine, in particular the Atherveda, one of the most ancient repositories of human knowledge, had on Egypt, Greece and Rome. He listed the principal uses of a small number of these drugs, including bitter orange peel, which in India is used as an aromatic, stomachic, tonic, astringent and carminative agent, and lemon, which is used as a flavouring and for its carminative and stomachic effects. In the Valmiki-Ramayana, written after the Vedas and one of the most sacred of all religious books which enumerates the virtues of the medicinal plants that Lord Rama (Vishnu) met during his fourteen-year journey around different parts of India, Karnick and Hocking () identified and listed fifty of these drugs with their use as described in the Ayurvedica (or native Indian) system of medicine. The immature fruit of Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swingle was used as an fortifier, Read more […]

The Effects of Tea on the Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular diseases, together with cancers, are the main killing diseases of humans in the world. Of the cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis is one of the most prevalent. Atherosclerosis is primarily caused by hypercholesterolemia in which excess cholesterol accumulates in the blood vessels and oxidation of low-density cholesterol (LDL) leads to foci of endothelial abnormalities associated with the process of atherosclerosis (). It deteriorates further with the oxidation of lipids in the blood. Therefore, in order to maintain the cardiovascular system in good condition, it is very important to prevent not only an excessive increase of cholesterols in the blood, but also the oxidation of lipids in the blood. Hypertension is another major factor that can affect the health of the cardiovascular system. In this article, the antioxidative, hypolipidemic, hypotensive and the obesity-depressing activity of tea will be discussed. Antioxidative Activity of Tea Blood-Pressure Lowering Activity of Tea Blood Lipid and Cholesterol Lowering Effect Excessive lipids in blood is a common disorder of middle aged or old aged men and women. High serum-lipid includes high cholesterol and triglyceride content in blood. The cholesterol 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 […]

Obesity-Depression and Prevention of Cardiovascuear Disorders

Excessive lipid induces obesity. This is a physiologically abnormal phenomenon in modern society. Obesity is closely related to excessive serum lipid. Experiments show that tea drinking plays an obesity-depressing role via an increase of fundamental metabolic rate and the degradation of fat. Investigations carried out by French, Japanese and Chinese scientists have also shown that Pu-Er tea and Oolong tea possess a significant obesity depressing effect (). Researches using different kinds of tea revealed that the serum lipid depressing and obesity depressing effects of compressed tea was greater than that of green tea and black tea (). High levels of blood cholesterol induce the deposit of lipid on the vessel wall and cause the constriction of coronary arteries, atherosclerosis and thrombus formation. It is related to the fact that tea drinking decreases the serum lipid and cholesterol level. In the past, atherosclerosis was thought to result from a level of serum cholesterol above 200dl and a relatively low level of high-density cholesterol and high level of LDL. Current views are that it is induced by the oxidation of low-density cholesterol cholesterol that leads to foci of endothelial abnormalities associated Read more […]

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 […]

Crataegus (Hawthorn)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant The genus Crataegus originates from northern temperate regions and comprises about 280 species depending upon botanical sources. It is widespread in western Asia, North America and in Europe, where 21 species have been indexed. Hybridization is frequent in this genus, causing many identification difficulties. Among the best-known species are Crataegus monogyna Jacq. and Crataegus laevigata (Poiret) DC (= C. oxyacantha auct.= C. oxyacanthoides Thuill.) belonging to the Eurasian subgenus Crataegus which are most common and are of growing pharmaceutical use. They have lobed or divided leaves, while the northern American subgenus americanae is characterized by entire or weakly lobed leaves. These deciduous, ramified, thorny shrubs produce white-pinkish scented flowers in corymbs during midsummer and the resulting red fruits remain on the trees until eaten by birds in winter. They show some differences in habitat: C. monogyna is found mainly in open fields, thickets and used as quickset hedges, while C. laevigata prefers woods or their borders. Ornamental pink- or red-flowered cultivars of C. laevigata such as uCoccinea plena”, “Rosea”, “Rubra” () are planted in avenues, parks Read more […]

Heartsease: Modern Applications

Grieve offers many more names for this plant, among them: love lies bleeding, love idol, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Kit run in the fields, stepmother, pink-eyed John, bouncing Bet. Discussing the names, she tells how the plant was prized for its potency as a love charm ‘in ancient days’, hence perhaps its name heartsease. Along with the uses familiar from the Renaissance authors, Grieve records the flowers were formerly considered cordial and good in diseases of the heart, attributing to this use a further possible origin of the name heartsease. Grieve offers no source for use of the plant as cordial. There is no obvious mention of this in our authors up to this point. Perhaps it stems more from a folk tradition, or perhaps even from a misinterpretation somewhere of the word angina. Leyel (1949) accords the herb cordial properties. She cites the past uses as in our authors, adds ‘a good herb in disorders of the blood’, and mentions its use in ‘moist cutaneous eruptions in children’, particularly crusta lactea and tinea capitis. Then she continues ‘it has derived the name heartsease partly from its early use as a heart tonic and it can be taken quite safely to relieve palpitation of the heart and to soothe a tired and Read more […]

Nutritional Considerations

Reduce Arginine and Increase L-Lysine In vitro evidence supports increasing dietary lysine and decreasing dietary arginine to prevent recurrent herpes outbreaks. Arginine is necessary for replication of herpes simplex virus; it may actually stimulate cell replication, whereas L-lysine blocks arginine activity. L-lysine is shown in studies to decrease the severity of outbreaks and reduces recurrence, although it does not necessarily have an impact on healing time. Supplementation of 1 g daily is recommended preventatively or 1 g three times daily during an outbreak in addition to dietary modification. Because of concerns over prolonged lysine supplementation and the risk of developing atherosclerosis, dietary adjustments may be optimal to regular lysine, supplementation that can be reserved for acute need. However, nuts provide important and healthy fats to the diet; therefore, it is not desirable to eliminate them entirely, especially during pregnancy. Therefore, moderation is advisable. Pregnant women should consult with their midwife or obstetrician when modifying their diet to ensure optimal health for themselves and their babies. See Food Sources of Lysine and Arginine for foods high in arginine and lysine. Lysine Read more […]

Bee products

Honey is the most used of the products derived from beekeeping but because it is a normal food it is not discussed in this book. Three by-products of beekeeping – royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis – are used as dietary supplements. Detailed information about all products produced from beekeeping can be found in Krell (1996). Royal jelly Royal jelly is a substance secreted by young worker bees and used to feed the young larvae and the queen bee throughout her life. Royal jelly is not normally stored in the hive because it is fed directly to the larvae or queen as it is secreted. However, some accumulates around the larval queen in the ‘queen cell’ in the early stages of development. Krell (1996) explains that in order to produce royal jelly commercially the hive must be stimulated to produce queens at inappropriate times and that one hive has the potential to produce about 500 g of royal jelly during the course of a summer. The observation that the royal jelly diet of the queen bee is associated with great fecundity and a much longer life than other female bees has probably led to suggestions that it may have similar beneficial effects in humans and that it is ‘the queen of foods’ for human beings. Fresh Read more […]

Treatment Of Depression

Depression ranks as one of the most widespread mental health problems in the world. Besides causing significant morbidity and mortality (through suicide), depression also contributes to or is associated with several other serious problems. Depression may contribute to atherosclerosis, perhaps by impairing glucose tolerance, and depression has been repeatedly linked to depressed immune function. In fact, over half of people with chronic or severe illnesses may suffer from depression. Depression can strike at any age, but depression in the elderly is a particularly significant problem. The surgeon general of the United States recently noted that suicide rates increase with age and that nearly 5 million of the 32 million Americans over 65 suffer from some form of depression. Natural medicine offers many options for helping cope despite the enormity of the problem of depression at any age. Today, allopathic antidepressant drugs are all too often prescribed and dispensed without a second thought as a treatment for depression. The decision to institute or maintain patients on these drugs should be made much more cautiously. The profitable new antidepressant drugs (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] and atypical Read more […]