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 […]

Traditional Uses of Neem

The therapeutic efficacy of neem must have been known to man since antiquity as a result of constant experimentation with nature. Ancient man observed the unique features of this tree: a bitter taste, non-poisonous to man, but deleterious to lower forms of life. This might have resulted in its use as a medicine in various cultures, particularly in the Indian subcontinent and later on in other parts of the world. Ayurveda The word neem is derived from Sanskrit Nimba, which means “to bestow health”; the various Sanskrit synonyms of neem signify the pharmacological and therapeutic effects of the tree. It has been nicknamed Neta — a leader of medicinal plants, Pichumarda — antileprotic, Ravisambba — sun ray-like effects in providing health, Arishta — resistant to insects, Sbeetal — cooling (cools the human system by giving relief in diseases caused by hotness, such as skin diseases and fevers), and Krimighana — anthelmintic. It was considered light in digestion, hot in effect, cold in property. In earlier times, patients with incurable diseases were advised to make neem their way of life. They were to spend most of the day under the shade of this tree. They were to drink infusions of various parts of Read more […]

Diseases of the Eye and Ear

  Herbs For Diseases Of The Eye And Ear A number of eye and ear diseases may be treated with herbal therapy. They include cataracts, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, keratoconjuntivitis sicca, and otitis (chronic and acute). Many of today’s ophthalmic preparations have origins in ethnobotanical history. Atropine has been derived from solanaceous plants, physostigmine was used as a poison, and pilocarpine was used by Amazonians as a panacea. For chronic or serious eye problems, referral to an ophthalmologist is always recommended. For mild conditions or as adjunctive therapy herbs can be used as eye washes or eye drops. Fresh herbal tea should be made fresh daily and kept refrigerated when not in use. Sterile saline can be used to infuse the herb. Consider the systemic implications or associations of eye conditions and consider herbal treatment for pain relief, immune modulation, vulnery (healing) action, antiinflammatory effects, and health support. Cataracts Corneal Ulcers Strategy Trauma to the cornea must occur for microbial colonization to occur. Consider herpes virus infection in cats with corneal ulcers. Topical Aloe gel (Aloe vera) has been advocated for the treatment of corneal ulcers Read more […]


Strategy Cataracts can be caused by toxic insult (chemotherapy), nutritional deficiencies, heredity, genetic predisposition, or diabetes, as well as endogenous causes such as uveitis, retinal degeneration (PRA), and glaucoma. Referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist and possible surgical treatment is warranted, but if that is not possible then herbal support may be beneficial. Use herbs that are high in antioxidants and that improve circulation. Botanicals such as Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) may be helpful. In diabetic cataracts, flavonoids, particularly Quercetin, are potent inhibitors of aldose reductase. In a study of people with senile cataracts, a combination of Bilberry (standardized to 25% anthocyanosides; given at a dose of 180 mg twice daily) and vitamin E (100 mg twice daily) that was given for 4 months halted progression in 96% of patients compared to 76% of the control group. In a study in rats with early senile cataract and macular degeneration, the effect of Bilberry was investigated over 1.5 to 3 months. The treatment group was given a diet supplemented with 25% Bilberry extract (20 mg / kg, including 4.5 mg of antocianidin) or vitamin E (40 mg / kg). At the end of the study, more than 70% of the Read more […]

Care Of The Eyes

The Function Of The Eyes As one of the sense organs, the eyes are intimately connected with the brain and can speak volumes about our state of mind. Positive and negative emotions like joy, excitement and happiness as well as fear, anxiety, anger, grief, and suffering can be reflected through the eyes, partly because they affect the facial muscles around the eyes. The expression in the eyes is one of the ways in which a parent first tells if their child is off-colour or unhappy. Eyes have other functions. They are responsible for connecting us to light, which is responsible not only for vision but also influences our physical and mental well-being. Sunlight affects the secretion of endorphins that give us a feeling of well-being. During the winter months in the northern hemisphere, the many hours of darkness can predispose to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and reduced resistance to infection, so it is important to encourage children to spend time playing or walking outside in the fresh air and sunlight, even on a dull day. The production of tears and crying is another important function of the eyes. Tears produced when we cry contain endorphins, opiate-like substances, which help us to release tension and Read more […]

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidant carotenoids found in spinach, corn, egg yolk, squash and greens. • Lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for the development of macular pigment, which protects photoreceptor cells in the retina from free radical damage. • Epidemiological studies have generally found an inverse relationship between lutein and zeaxanthin intake and macular degeneration; however, conclusive evidence as to whether increased intakes will reduce the incidence of ARMD is still unavailable. • One controlled study has found that long-term use of lutein supplements may increase visual performance in people with pre-existing cataracts. • High dietary intake of lutein has been associated with reduced risk of some cancers, most notably endometrial and ovarian cancer, but not all cancers, according to epidemiological evidence. • Supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin should be taken with food as dietary fat improves their absorption. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this supplement do for me? Lutein and zeaxathin is important for eye health and may also reduce the risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer over time. When will it start Read more […]

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Clinical Use. Dosage

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION The evidence that lifetime oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of ARMD is now compelling. ARMD is thought to be the result of free radical damage to photoreceptors within the macula, and therefore it is suspected that inefficient macular antioxidant systems play a role in disease development. Low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet, serum or retina, as well as excessive exposure to blue light and cigarette smoking, are therefore considered to increase the risk of ARMD. People with cystic fibrosis are theoretically at increased risk of ARMD because they have reduced lutein in the macular pigment. Epidemiological and autopsy studies have found an inverse relationship between lutein and zeaxanthin intake and macular pigment density. Plasma lutein and macular pigment density have also been demonstrated to increase with lutein supplementation in ARMD patients and healthy controls, suggesting that ARMD is not associated with intestinal malabsorption of carotenoids and that a diseased macula can accumulate and stabilise lutein and/or zeaxanthin. Conclusive evidence as to whether increased intake of lutein or zeaxanthin will reduce the incidence of ARMD is Read more […]

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Actions

ANTIOXIDANT Lutein and zeaxanthin are both powerful antioxidants, with activity having been demonstrated in a number of in vitro tests. In vitro studies of human lens epithelial cells also indicate that their antioxidant activity may protect the lens from UVB radiation. According to animal studies, lutein increases glutathione levels and reduces retinal apoptosis following ischaemic reperfusion. BLUE LIGHT FILTER The yellow colour of lutein and zeaxanthin is due to their ability to absorb blue light, which is believed to contribute to their protective function because blue light is at the high energy, and therefore the most damaging, end of the visible spectrum. Lutein and zeaxanthin thus serve as an optical filter for blue light, reducing chromatic aberration and preventing damage to the photoreceptor cell layer. MACULAR PIGMENT DEVELOPMENT Lutein and zeaxanthin are entirely of dietary origin and are initially absent in newborns but gradually accumulate over time (Nussbaum et al 1981). It has been generally accepted that macular pigment density decreases with age; however, there are conflicting results. In one prospective, observational study involving 390 patients, macular pigment density was not found to change Read more […]

Lycopene: Adverse Reactions. Interactions. Pregnancy Use. Practice Points

Toxicity Animal studies have shown that 600 mg lycopene/kg/day is not toxic. Adverse Reactions Animal studies have demonstrated that 600 mg lycopene/kg/day does not produce adverse effects, and is well tolerated. This level is far in excess of usual dietary intake in humans. Significant Interactions DRUGS REDUCING FAT ABSORPTION (E.G. CHOLESTYRAMINE, ORLISTAT) Drugs that reduce fat absorption, such as cholestyramine, colestipol and orlistat, may also reduce the absorption of lycopene — separate doses by at least 2 hours. Contraindications and Precautions Hypersensitivity to lycopene or its food sources. Pregnancy Use Eating dietary amounts of foods rich in lycopene is likely to be safe. Practice Points / Patient Counselling • Lycopene is a fat-soluble, non-provitamin A carotenoid that imparts the red colour to tomatoes and is most bioavailable from processed food sources such as tomato paste. • Lycopene has antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering activity and may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to epidemiological evidence. • Epidemiological evidence generally suggests that higher intakes of tomato-based products reduce the risk of prostate cancer and possibly stomach Read more […]

Quercetin: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Quercetin is a flavonol belonging to a group of polyphenolic substances known as flavonoids or bioflavonoids and is found in many fruits, vegetables and some herbal medicines. • According to experimental studies, it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, mast cell stabilisation, neuroprotective, gastroprotective, hepatoprotectiveand possibly cardioprotective actions. • In practice, it is used for respiratory allergies such as hayfever, as an adjunct in asthma management, preventing diabetic complications such as cataracts and symptom relief in prostatitis; however, large controlled studies are not available to determine its effectiveness. • Numerous drug interactions are theoretically possible, mainly due to P-glycoprotein and CYP inhibition. • Quercetin is generally well tolerated. Adverse effects may include nausea, dyspnoea, headache and mild tingling of the extremities Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this supplement do for me? Quercetin has several pharmacological effects and may provide some symptom relief in allergic conditions and prostatitis, and be beneficial in diabetes and cardiovascular disease; however, further research is required to clarify Read more […]