Artemisia Absinthium L.

Artemisia absinthium L. is a member of the family Compositae (Asteraceae) and is known by the common names wormwood (UK), absinthe (France) and wermut (Germany). The name Artemisia is derived from the Goddess Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have discovered the plant’s virtues, while absinthium comes from the Greek word apinthion meaning “undrinkable”, reflecting the very bitter nature of the plant. The plant is also known by a number of synonyms which include: Absinthium, Wermutkraut, Absinthii Herba, Assenzio, Losna, Pelin, Armoise, Ajenjo and Alsem. The herb is native to warm Mediterranean countries, usually found growing in dry waste places such as roadsides, preferring a nitrogen-rich stoney and hence loose soil. It is also native to the British Isles and is fairly widespread. Wormwood has been naturalised in northeastern North America, North and West Asia and Africa. Brief Botanical Description The stem of this shrubby perennial herb is multibranched and firm, almost woody at the base, and grows up to 130 cm in height. The root stock produces many shoots which are covered in fine silky hairs, as are the leaves. The leaves themselves are silvery grey, 8 cm long by 3 cm broad, abundantly pinnate Read more […]

Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)

Medical Uses Ginkgo is used for circulation problems, Alzheimer’s disease, difficulties with memory, ringing in the ears, headaches, and dizziness. Ginkgo biloba is licensed in Germany for treating: cerebral dysfunction with difficulties in memory, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), headaches, emotional instability with anxiety, and intermittent claudication. Historical Uses Legend has it that Chinese monks saved the ginkgo tree from extinction by growing it in monastery gardens. Growth The ginkgo is the oldest known living tree in the world. It is not difficult to grow, and ginkgo trees can be found in many city areas in the United States, including Central Park in New York City. The trees are able to withstand pollution and disease. Their leaves turn yellow in the fall. Ginkgo: Part Used • Dried leaves Major Chemical Compounds • Diterpenes known as ginkgolides, sesquiterpene bilobalide, quercetin Ginkgo: Clinical Uses Ginkgo is used for peripheral vascular disease, such as intermittent claudication and cerebral insufficiency. It is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization. Ginkgo biloba is licensed in Germany for treating cerebral dysfunction with difficulties Read more […]

Herpes Simplex Virus

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a member of the human herpes virus group that includes, for example, herpes simplex virus-1, herpes simplex virus-2, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Herpes simplex virus is a recurrent viral infection that remains dormant in the nervous system with periods of reactivation characterized by individual or multiple clusters of fluid-filled vesicles at specifically affected sites. Herpes simplex virus-1 and -2 are the main types of herpes virus seen in general clinical practice. Herpes simplex virus-1 typically manifests above the waist and is referred to as Herpes labialis because of it primarily appearing on the lips in the form of “cold sores.” Herpes simplex virus-2, Herpes genitalis, typically appears on the genitals, although it also produces skin lesions. The vesicles rupture, leaving small, sometimes painful ulcers, which generally heal without scarring, although recurrent lesions at the same site may cause scarring. Coinfection with herpes simplex virus-1 and -2 increases the frequency of herpes simplex virus-2 outbreaks. Orogenital sex can lead to cross-contamination of these sites, with oral herpes being more likely transmitted to the genitals than the other way around. The incubation Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System

Herbs considered important for the cardiovascular system are classified according to traditional actions of cardioactive, cardioprotective, cardiotonic, and circulatory stimulants. Anticoagulants are a more modern application of herbs to cardiovascular disease and nervines and diuretic herbs are traditionally included in formulas. The diseases that are indicated for these herbs include cardiomyopathy (dilatative and hypertrophic), congestive heart failure / valvular disease, heartworm disease, and hypertension. Cardioactive herbs Cardioactive herbs are some of the most potentially toxic herbs. Many of these contain cardioactive glycosides such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which are ionotropic and lead to a more efficient and coordinated cardiac contraction. Perhaps the most useful from a veterinary perspective is Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus, L. virginicus). It does not contain cardiac glycosides but is still cardioactive. L. virginicus was recognized by the early Eclectics as an excellent sedative with properties similar to digitalis but without adverse side effects. L. europaeus may have applications in feline hyperthyroidism as well as cardiovascular disease. L. Read more […]

Salvia miltiorhiza

The dried root of Salvia miltiorhiza Bunge (Lamiaceae), also known as Chinese sage or ‘dan shen’, is red in colour and was therefore believed to be a treatment for blood disorders in folk medicine. In TCM the root has been used as a remedy to stabilise the heart and calm the nerves and to treat circulatory disorders, insomnia and neurasthenia, and to alleviate inflammation. The Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2005) includes Salvia miltiorhiza root as a remedy for fidgets and insomnia, amongst other indications. Salvia miltiorhiza root extracts have been investigated for a wide range of activities in relation to effects on the cardiovascular system but also for effects on the CNS, and in cerebral ischemia in particular. Some of the biological activities associated with Salvia miltiorhiza could also be relevant to the modulation of cognitive function and may provide some explanation for the traditional uses of this plant in some neural disorders. Salvia miltiorhiza extracts have been shown to modulate the action of some neuropeptides, although studies on this subject are relatively limited and the pharmacological activities reported often provide theoretical explanations for their clinical relevance Read more […]

ANTIOXIDANTS & FREE-RADICAL SCAVENGERS

ANTIOXIDANTS & FREE-RADICAL SCAVENGERS are grouped here. Antioxidants are used both to prolong the shelf-life and maintain the nutritional quality of lipid-containing foods, and to modulate the consequences of oxidative damage in the human body. The term antioxidant can be defined as a substance that, when present at low concentrations (compared with those of an oxidizable substrate), can significantly delay or prevent oxidation of that substrate. Many substances have been suggested to act as antioxidants in vivo, and methods are now available for assessing their effectiveness in physiologically scavenging important biological oxygen-derived species. Oxygen-derived species have been grouped together (Halliwell) and called reactive oxygen species’ (ROS). They include: superoxide (02~•) and hydroxyl (OH•) radicals, and also hydrogen peroxide (H202), hypochlorous acid (HOCl), haemassociated ferryl species, and radicals derived from activated phagocytes, and peroxyl radicals (both lipid-soluble and water-soluble). In practice, interaction and balance between oxygen- and nitrogen-derived reactive species are intimately related, and both play an important and interrelated role in pathophysiology. Reactive nitrogen Read more […]

Iodine: Clinical Use

Increased iodine intake can be achieved through dietary modification and supplementation with tablets. Dietary modification usually refers to increased intake of iodised salt, but may also refer to use of iodised water, iodised vegetable oil or seafood. TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF DEFICIENCY Iodine deficiency is accepted as the most common cause of brain damage worldwide, with IDD affecting 740 million people. Although it is well accepted that severe deficiency is responsible, evidence is now emerging that mild deficiency during pregnancy is also important and can have subtle effects on brain development, lowering intellectual functioning and inducing psychomotor deficits in early childhood. Preliminary data are also emerging to suggest an association between iodine deficiency hypothyroidism of pregnancy and the incidence of ADHD in the offspring; however, this still requires confirmation in larger studies. PREGNANCY Severe iodine deficiency is uncommon in Western countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, but several local surveys have identified that mild to moderate deficiency is more prevalent than once thought. A research group at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne screened 802 pregnant women and found that Read more […]