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 […]

Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.) Bertoni

Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.) Bertoni is a small perennial shrub of the Compositae family. Estimates of total number of species in the genus ranges from 150 to 300, all distributed in the New World, from the southwestern United States to the northern Argentina. The native occurrence of Stevia rebaudiana is between 22-24° S and 53-56° W, in Paraguay and Brazil. This species was known by the Guarany Indians under several names (Caa-jhe-he, Caa-hee, Ca-a-yupe, Azuca-caa, Eira-caa) related to its sweet leaf taste and to its use in sweet beverages and remedies, especially the cooked “mate” (Ilex paraguariensis). Stevia rebaudiana became known by the Europeans due to its discovery by Moises Bertoni in 1899; the chemist Rebaudi was the first to study its chemical characteristics. Stevia rebaudiana: Economic Importance and Uses The economic importance of this species is the consequence of the presence, in the leaves, of substances with high sweetening power, whose physical, chemical, pharmacological and toxicological characteristics allow its use in human diet as natural and diethetic sweetening, with no colateral effects. Several reviews about this plant have been published over the past 40 years, including topics like its Read more […]

Digitalis spp.

Digitalis plants are of great importance in pharmacy due to their production of cardioactive glycosides. They are most frequently employed in the treatment of heart diseases. Heart glycosides appear in several plant families which mostly are not related to each other, but they occur in many Digitalis species. The majority of investigations refer to D. purpurea and D. lanata. Digitalis, also known as foxglove, belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae. Inspired by the form of their flowers, Leonhart Fuchs (1542) for the first time used the name Digitalis in his herbal. The species of Digitalis are biennial or perennial herbs. The foliage consists of a rosette of leaves with inflorescences of about 1 m height. Their morphology and their flower can be seen from, exemplified by Digitalis lanata. Digitalis glycosides belong to the cardenolide type and are therefore named cardenolides. In the stereo-ring system, an unsaturated five-membered lactone ring is substituted in position 17, thus differentiating cardenolides from the bufa-dienolides presenting a six-membered lactone ring in this position. Apart from many cardiotonic glycosides, many ineffective glycosides occur in Digitalis plants. Different groups, substituted Read more […]

Indian Almond, Katapang

Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae) Terminalia catappa L. is a tall tree, up to 25 m tall. Branches are horizontally whorled, giving it a pagoda shape. Leaves are shiny, obovate, 10-25 cm long, tapering to a short thick petiole. Leaves are yellow that turn red before shedding. Flowers are small and white. Fruits have smooth outer coat, 3-6 cm long, flattened edges, with a pointed end. Pericarp is fibrous and fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Madagascar. Phytoconstituents Catappanin A, chebulagic acid, 1-desgalloylleugeniin, geraniin, granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin, tercatain, terflavins A & B, tergallagin, euginic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Terminalia catappa has been used to treat dysentery in a number of Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, the leaves are used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints while in the Philippines, they are used to expel worms. In Karkar Island, New Guinea, juice from the squeezed leaves is applied to sores and the sap from the white stem pith is squeezed and drunk to relieve cough. In Nasingalatu, Papua New Guinea, the flower is crushed, mixed with water and drunk to induce sterility. In New Britain, Read more […]

Yellow Oleander, Trumpet Flower

Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. (Apocynaceae) Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. is a shrub, up to 6 m tall. All parts contain highly poisonous milky latex. Leaves are simple, few, exstipulate and spirally arranged. Blade is linear, 7-13 cm by 0.5-1 cm and glossy. Flowers are large, yellow, 5 cm across, gathered in few flowered terminal cymes. Fruits are green, shiny, globose, 4-5.5 cm across with 4 or less poisonous seeds. Origin Native to Central and South America. Phytoconstituents Thevetins A and B, thevetosides, acetylperuvoside, epipemviol, perusitin, theveneriin, thevebioside, thevefolin, pervianoside I-III and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Used as an abortifacient, to treat congestive heart failure, malaria, leprosy, indigestion, ringworm, venereal disease and even as a suicide instrument. Used in India as an astringent to the bowel, useful in urethral discharge, worms, skin diseases, wounds, piles, eye problems and itch. Used in continental Europe and is considered particularly useful in mild myocardial insufficiency and digitalis intolerance. Its bark is used as an emetic, febrifuge, insecticidal, poison and for reviving patients with heart failure. Pharmacological Activities Antiarrhythmic, 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 […]

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 […]

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha, Crataegus laevigata)

Hawthorn: Medical Uses Hawthorn is used as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and angina. Historical Uses Hawthorn was the symbol of hope and happiness in ancient Greece and Rome. Growth This shrub grows in temperate zones in Europe and in the United States. Parts Used • Berries • Flower heads • Leaves Major Chemical Compounds • Flavonoids • Oligomeric procyanidins • Cardiotonic amines • Anthocyanins Hawthorn: Clinical Uses Hawthorn is used as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and angina. Mechanism of Action Flavonoids prevent destruction of collagen, prevent plaque buildup, and strengthen blood vessels. Inotropic in nature, they help the heart muscle to contract. Anthocyanins inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and platelet aggregation, which protects against heart disease. They help to treat vascular disorders and also capillary fragility. Flavonoids cause smooth muscles of coronary vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow and decreasing angina. Proanthocyanidins in the flower heads inhibit biosynthesis of thromboxane A2. Hawthorn: Dosage Hawthorn extracts are standardized to 2.2 percent flavonoids or 18 percent Read more […]

Nerium oleander

Nerium oleander L. (Apocynaceae) Oleander Flowers of Nerium oleander Nerium oleander shrub Nerium oleander L. is a small shrub up to 2 m high. Leaves are very narrowly elliptic, 5-21 by 1-3.5 cm, dark green, without stipules, leathery and arranged in whorls of three. Flowers are showy and fragrant. Sepals are narrowly triangular to narrowly ovate, 3-10 mm. Corolla is purplish red, pink, white, salmon, or yellow. Fruits consist of cylindrical follicles, 12-23 cm. Seeds are oblong, coma, about 0.9-1.2 cm. Origin Native to southern Europe, and widely cultivated and naturalised in Asia, Europe and North America. Phytoconstituents Oleandroside, kaneroside, neriaside, nerigoside, neriu-moside, neridiginoside, nerizoside, neritaloside, proceragenin, neridienone A, cardenolides N-l to N-4 and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The plant is used in Ayurveda to treat scabies, eye disease and haemorrhoids. It is used to treat parasitic infection in Calabria (Southern Italy). Leaf decoction is used to treat diabetes in southeastern Morocco. Bark, leaf, flower are used medicinally as a cardiotonic and diuretic. Pharmacological Activities Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Anticancer/Antineoplastic, Antifungal, Read more […]