Healing Powers of Aloes: Pharmacology and Therapeutic Applications

Constipation Aloe latex possesses laxative properties and has been used traditionally to treat constipation. The old practice of using aloe as a laxative drug is based on its content of anthraquinones like barbaloin, which is metabolised to the laxative aloe-emodin, isobarbaloin and chrysophanic acid. The term ‘aloe’ (or ‘aloin’) refers to a crystalline, concentrated form of the dried aloe latex. In addition, aloe latex contains large amounts of a resinous material. Following oral administration the stomach is quickly reached and the time required for passage into the intestine is determined by stomach content and gastric emptying rate. Glycosides are probably chemically stable in the stomach (pH 1–3) and the sugar moiety prevents their absorption into the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and subsequent detoxification in the liver, which protects them from breakdown in the intestine before they reach their site of action in the colon and rectum. Once they have reached the large intestine the glycosides behave like pro-drugs, liberating the aglycones (aloe-emodin, rhein-emodin, chyrosophanol, etc.) that act as the laxatives. The metabolism takes place in the colon, where bacterial glycosidases are Read more […]

St John’s wort: Background. Actions

Common Name St John’s wort Other Names Amber, balsana, devil’s scourge, goatweed, hardhay, hartheu, herb de millepertuis, hierba de San Juan, hypericum, iperico, johanniskraut, klamath weed, konradskraut, millepertuis, rosin rose, sonnenwendkraut, St Jan’s kraut, tipton weed, witch’s herb Botanical Name / Family Hypericum perforatum (family Clusiaceae or Guttiferae) Plant Parts Used Aerial parts, flowering tops Historical Note St John’s wort has been used medicinally since ancient Greektimes when, it is believed, Dioscorides and Hippocrates used it to rid the body of evil spirits. Since the time of the Swiss physician Paracelsus (c. 1493-1541), it has been used to treat neuralgia, anxiety, neurosis and depression. Externally, it has also been used to treat wounds, bruises and shingles. The name ‘St John’s wort‘ is related to its yellow flowers, traditionally gathered for the feast of St John the Baptist and the term ‘wort’ is the old English word for plant. St John’s wort has enjoyed its greatest popularity in Europe and comprises 25% of all antidepressant prescriptions in Germany. In the past few decades its popularity has also grown in countries such as Australia and the United States. Chemical Components Naphthodianthrones Read more […]