Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgaris)

Medical Uses Traditionally, fennel has been used mainly to aid digestion, relieve stomach spasms, loosen coughs, freshen breath, and promote the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers. Fennel water has been given to infants to relieve colic. Fennel syrup and fennel honey have been used for upper respiratory infections in children. Historical Uses Fennel was a sacred herb in medieval times, and bunches of fennel were hung on doors to prevent the effects of witchcraft. Ancient Greeks thought that fennel gave them courage. The Greek meaning of fennel is “to grow thin”. In folklore, fennel seeds were used to promote milk flow, help calm colicky babies, suppress appetite, and aid digestion. Fennel has been used in India to aid digestion and freshen breath after eating. Growth Fennel is easy to grow from seed; it prefers warm soil with plenty of sun. Fennel: Part Used • Seeds Major Chemical Compounds • Volatile oil • Essential fatty acids • Flavonoids • Beta carotene • Vitamin C • Calcium • Iron Fennel: Clinical Uses Traditionally, fennel has been used mainly to aid digestion, relieve stomach spasms, loosen coughs, freshen breath, and promote the flow of breast milk in nursing Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Capsicum

Capsicum species (Solanaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Caspic, Cayenne, Cayenne pepper, Chili pepper, Chilli pepper, Hot pepper, Paprika, Red pepper, Tabasco pepper. Capsicum annuum L., Capsicum baccatum L., Capsicum chinense Jacq., Capsicum frutescens L., Capsicum minimum Roxb., Capsicum pubescens Ruiz & Pavon. Pharmacopoeias Capsicum (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008, US Ph 32); Capsicum Oleoresin (US Ph 32); Refined and Quantified Capsicum Oleoresin (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Standardised Capsicum Tincture (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The pungent principles of capsicum are the capsaicinoids (to which it may be standardised), present in concentrations up to 1.5%, but more usually around 0.1%. The major components are capsaicin, 6,7-dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin and homocapsaicin. Other constituents include the carotenoid pigments (capsanthin, capsorubin, carotene, lutein), vitamins including A and C, and a small amount of volatile oil. Use and indications Capsicum possesses stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative and counterirritant effects, which has led to its use in conditions such Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Melatonin

N-(2-(5-Methoxyindol-3-yl)ethyl)acetamide Types, sources and related compounds N- Acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine. Use and indications Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the pineal gland of the brain and influences the circadian rhythm. Supplements are therefore principally used for treating sleep disturbances and disorders such as jet lag, insomnia, sleep walking, and shift-work sleep disorder. It is also believed to have anticancer and antihypertensive properties, and has been used to treat cluster headaches. Melatonin has also been detected in a large number of plant species, including those used as foods. Concentrations detected have been very variable, the reasons for which are currently uncertain. In addition, the importance of dietary melatonin is unclear. Pharmacokinetics When an oral melatonin supplement 3mg was given to 17 healthy subjects the AUC and maximum serum levels of melatonin were about 18-fold and 100-fold greater, respectively, than overnight endogenous melatonin secretion, although there was a wide variation between individuals.The oral bioavailability was approximately 15% after oral doses of 2 or 4mg, possibly due to significant first-pass metabolism. The half-life has been found Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale Weber (Asteraceae) Synonym(s) and related species Lion’s tooth, Taraxacum. Leontodon taraxacum L., Taraxacum densleonis Desf., Taraxacum palustre (Lyons) Lam & DC. Taraxacum mongolicum Hand.-Mazz. is used in Chinese medicine. Constituents The root and leaf of dandelion contain sesquiterpene lactones including: taraxinic acid, dihydrotaraxinic acid, taraxacoside, taraxacolide and others; caffeic, chlorogenic and cichoric acids; the natural coumarins cichoriin and aesculin; and flavonoids based on luteolin. The phytosterols sitosterol, stigmas terol, taraxasterol and homotaraxasterol, the triterpenes beta-amyrin, taraxol and taraxerol, carotenoids, and vitamin A are also found. Use and indications Dandelion has been widely used as a diuretic, and also for its purported laxative, anti-inflammatory, choleretic (to increase bile secretion) and blood-glucose-lowering activity. Some of these activities have been demonstrated in some, but not all, animal studies, and no human studies appear to have been published. Dandelion has been used as a foodstuff (the leaf in salads, and the ground root as a coffee substitute). A prebiotic effect has been suggested for the root. Pharmacokinetics In Read more […]


ANTIBIOTICS are, strictly speaking, natural products secreted by microorganisms into their environment, where they inhibit the growth of competing microorganisms of different species. In common usage, the term is generally applied to a wide range of chemicals, whether directly isolated from mould ferments, their semisynthetic derivatives, or synthetic chemicals showing some structural similarities. Also, in everyday language the term is used to denote drugs with a selectively toxic action on bacteria or similar non-nucleated single-celled microorganisms (including chlamydia, rickettsia and mycoplasma), though such drugs have no effect on viruses. In this loose parlance even the sulphonamides may, incorrectly, be referred to as antibiotics because they are antimicrobial. More confusing is the fact that a number of antibiotics are used as cytotoxic agents in cancer chemotherapy (e.g. bleomycin): see ANTICANCER AGENTS. Further, partly because of the recent development of high-throughput screens for lead chemicals, a number of new drug chemical classes have arisen from antibiotic leads (e.g. the CCK antagonist asperlicin and derivatives, from Aspergillus spp.). The antimicrobial antibiotics have a selectively toxic Read more […]