The use of eucalyptus oils in consumer products

Insect repellents As noted in the introduction, Eucalyptus citriodora oil has been used as a ‘natural’ insect repellent. Depending on the product formulation it is used in, Lemon Eucalyptus (known as Quwenling in China) is up to four or five times more effective and longer-lasting than citronella oil (from Cymbopogon nardus), one of the best known natural insect repellents. p-Menthane-3,8-diol is the main active component of Quwenling and this can be isolated and used as a highly effective insect repellent. Eucalyptus citriodora oil contains up to 80–90 per cent citronellal, along with geraniol, both of which are known to have insect repellent activity but tend to dilute the much higher activity of the p-menthane-3,8-diol. The Mosi-guard Natural insect repellent spray produced by MASTA in the UK contains ‘Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus’ and claims on the label: Approved and recommended by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Field trials have shown effective protection for 6 h after a single application in mosquito infected areas. Also protects against many other biting insects. Mosi-guard Natural is made from a natural and renewable resource. It is kind to your skin and has no adverse effects Read more […]

The Medicinal Uses of Thyme

The uses of thyme, Thymus vulgaris and other Thymus species are well known, and extensive parts of the world get benefit from this plant group in medicinal and non-medicinal respects. Following the development of the medicinal uses of thyme we can see that thyme has changed from a traditional herb to a serious drug in rational phytotherapy. This is due to many pharmacological in vitro experiments carried out during the last decades, and even a few clinical tests. The studies have revealed well defined pharmacological activities of both, the essential oils and the plant extracts, the antibacterial and spasmolytical properties being the most important ones. The use of thyme in modern phytotherapy is based on this knowledge, whereas the traditional use of thyme describes only empirical results and often debatable observations. Therefore it seems necessary to present here the data available on the pharmacodynamics of thyme and thyme preparations in order to substantiate the use of thyme in modern medicine. The non-medicinal use of thyme is no less important, because thyme (mainly Thymus vulgaris) is used in the food and aroma industries. It serves as a preservative for foods and is a culinary ingredient widely used as Read more […]

Gloriosa superba L. (Flame Lily)

Gloriosa superba L., also known as the flame lily, has a wide distribution in tropical and subtropical areas. The plant has numerous uses as remedies and potions to the local populations of both Africa and Asia. Clewer et al. (1915) found that Gloriosa superba contained the alkaloid colchicine. Preparations of colchicine have been used to cure acute gout. Colchicine is known to inhibit mitosis, interfere with the orientation of fibrils, induce polyploidy, and has been used in the treatment of cancer. Since the discovery of colchicine in Gloriosa, a number of researchers have proposed that Gloriosa could serve as a commercial source of colchicine. Bellet and Gaignault compared the relative colchicine content of the genera Colchicum (the traditional source of colchicine) and Gloriosa. On a dry mass basis, Colchicum yielded 0.62% colchicine and 0.39% colchicoside, while Gloriosa yielded 0.9% and 0.82% respectively. This supports the argument that Gloriosa can be a commercially viable source of colchicine, provided that it can be propagated at a fast rate. Gloriosa is a member of the order Liliales and the family Colchicaceae. Members of the family Colchicaceae are geophytes, having either corms or small tubers as their Read more […]

Scarlet Wisteria Tree, Red Wisteria, Daun Turi

Sesbania grandiflora Pers. (Leguminosae) Sesbania grandiflora Pers. is a tree that can grow to 8-10 m in height. The compound leaves are about 30 cm long with 12 to 20 pairs of rounded, narrow, oblong leaflets, 3-4 cm by 1 cm. Flowers are 5-10 cm by 3 cm, in pale pink, red, purple or white. The pods are 25-50 cm, slender, and cylindrical with many light brown to red brown seeds. Origin Native to Malesia and cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Grandiflorol, (+)-leucocyanidin, oleanolic acid, lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, zeaxanthin and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In the Philippines, the plant is used for its hypotensive properties. It is used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of liver disorders. The juice of the leaves and flowers are popularly used for nasal catarrh and headache when taken as snuff. Various leaf preparations are used to treat epileptic fits. Applied externally for treatment of leprous eruptions. A poultice of the leaves is used for bruises. The leaf juice is mixed with honey for congenital bronchitis or cold in babies. Pharmacological Activities Antibacterial, Anticonvulsant, Anti-inflammatory, Anxiolytic, Depressant, Diuretic, Hepatoprotective, Hypoglycaemic, Read more […]

Arnica montana (Mountain Arnica)

Arnica montana (mountain arnica) is a very old medicinal plant. The flower and flower heads are widely used in phytotherapy in numerous preparations. They have a broad spectrum of effects: bacteriostatic, fungistatic, antiinflammatory, antirheumatic, cardiotonic, and antihyperlipidemic. The industrial demand for Arnica montana of a standardized quality in its active substances is inconsistent with the still practiced wild collection of mountain arnica, its protected status in several European countries, and the difficulties in its cultivation. There are four different approaches to meet the industrial demand for Arnica and guarantee the supply of a standardized plant drug or of its active substances: (1) improvement of the cultivation of Arnica montana; (2) cultivation of other Arnica species with a similar pharmacological effect; (3) micropropagation for the production of a standardized quality; (4) in vitro production of secondary metabolites in cell cultures. In this chapter, literature on the distribution and importance of Arnica species and on the conventional and biotechnical approaches to their improvement and production is reviewed, and prospects for the latter approaches are discussed. Botany, 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 […]

Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Brown

Botany, Distribution, and Importance Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Brown (synonyms: Sophora tinctoria L., Polydaria tinctoria Michaux Willd., commonly known as rattle bush, horsefly weed, indigo weed, yellow indigo, or yellow clover broom) and other members of the genus Baptisia were traditional medicinal plants for the American natives (Millspaugh 1887). Leaves of B. tinctoria were also used as a plant-derived dye (Gr. bapto, Lat. tingere: dye). It is a member of the family of Fabaceae (Leguminosae) and forms bushy shrubs up to 1 m high with woody perennial rhizomes and roots and annual aboveground parts. The round stems are usually erect, often widely branched, glabrous, occasionally slightly pubescent and yellowish green. The subsessile leaves are terminately compound, with subsessile cuneate, obovate leaflets of 1 to 1.5 cm length, and are bluish green in color. The yellow flowers form loose terminal axillary racemes. The floral bracts are lanceolate-setaceous to ovate acuminate, the pedicels are 4 to 5 mm long, the calyx tube length is 3 to 4 mm. The corolla is papilionaceous, the upper part (standard) is about 1 cm long, the wings and the keel about 1.2 to 1.3 cm. The keel is curving upwards. The ten equally Read more […]

New Zealand Medicinal Plants

Despite the small area of New Zealand, comparable with that of California, it constitutes a distinctive botanic region. Of the approximate number of two thousand species of higher plants found, 75% are endemic to the country. Many unusual plants occur and the chemical investigations conducted to date have confirmed the unique nature of the flora. In view of these facts it is surprising that only a few native plants have been commercially exploited. Several of the trees, notably Agathis australis, Dacrydium cupressinum, Podocarpus totara, P. dacrydioides, and Vitex lucens yield useful timber, but the stands of these have largely been worked out. New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax, is cultivated for its fibre which is made into ropes and matting. Kauri gum (really a fossil product) up to a value of £21 million has been exported but it is a declining article of commerce. It has been shown that useful dyestuffs can be produced from a number of plants, particularly in the genus Coprosma, but no commercial exploitation has resulted. Pharmacology is probably the most promising field for extending the use of New Zealand native plants and it should therefore be of value to have a check list of those plants reported to have Read more […]

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Horse Chestnut: Medical Uses Horse chestnut is used to improve circulation for varicose veins and to treat leg cramps and hemorrhoids. Historical Uses Historically, horse chestnut seeds were used as an anticoagulant and for nocturnal leg cramps. Growth The deciduous horse chestnut tree grows in the northern hemisphere. It prefers well-drained soil and sun or partial shade. Part Used • Seed extract Major Chemical Compounds • Triterpenic saponin aescin Horse Chestnut: Clinical Uses Horse chestnut is used to improve circulation and to treat leg cramps, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and chronic venous insufficiency. It is approved by the German Commission E for “chronic venous insufficiency”. Mechanism of Action Horse chestnut has anti-inflammatory effects. It also reduces capillary permeability, protects the integrity of the veins, and reduces levels of leukocytes and proteoglycan hydrolases in limbs affected by chronic venous insufficiency. Horse Chestnut: Dosage Seed extract: 300 mg twice daily, standardized to contain 15 to 21 percent aescin. Some studies used 50 mg of aescin per capsule twice a day. Do not make tea out of raw, unprocessed horse chestnut seeds. Gel or lotion: Apply 2 percent aescin Read more […]

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort: Medical Uses St. John’s wort is taken orally for mild to moderate depression, not for severe depression or bipolar disorder. It can be used externally for tennis elbow, sprains, and strains. Historical Uses St. John’s wort was used by the ancient Greeks for sciatica and nervous disorders. It has also been used as a popular folk remedy for neuralgias, sciatica, burns or bruises involving nerve damage, sprains, emotional disorders, wounds, and tennis elbow. Growth This plant grows in fields and on roadsides throughout the United States. It reaches about 1 to 3 feet in height, and its yellow flowers bloom from June to September. Parts Used • Aerial (above-ground) parts Major Chemical Compounds • Hypericin • Hyperforin • Flavonoids St. John’s Wort: Clinical Uses St. John’s wort is given orally for mild to moderate depression, not for severe depression or bipolar disorder. It can be used externally for tennis elbow, sprains, and strains. It is approved by the German Commission E to be used “internally for depressive moods, anxiety, externally for acute and contused injuries, myalgia, and first-degree burns”. St. John’s wort is at least as safe as, and possibly safer than, fluoxetine Read more […]