Chamomile: Traditional Use and Therapeutic Indications

Traditional Use Chamomile has been known for centuries and is well established in therapy. In traditional folk medicine it is found in the form of chamomile tea, which is drunk internally in cases of painful gastric and intestinal complaints connected with convulsions such as diarrhea and flatulence, but also with inflammatory gastric and intestinal diseases such as gastritis and enteritis. Externally chamomile is applied in the form of hot compresses to badly healing wounds, such as for a hip bath with abscesses, furuncles, hemorrhoids, and female diseases; as a rinse of the mouth with inflammations of the oral cavity and the cavity of the pharynx; as chamomile steam inhalation for the treatment of acne vulgaris and for the inhalation with nasal catarrhs and bronchitis; and as an additive to baby baths. In Roman countries it is quite common to use chamomile tea even in restaurants or bars and finally even in the form of a concentrated espresso. This is also a good way of fighting against an upset stomach due to a sumptuous meal, plenty of alcohol, or nicotine. In this case it is not easy to draw a line and find out where the limit to luxury is. Clinic and practice Preliminary remark The suitability of the empirical Read more […]

Healing Powers of Aloes

Aloe is a medicinal plant that has maintained its popularity over the course of time. Three distinct preparations of aloe plants are mostly used in a medicinal capacity: aloe latex (=aloe); aloe gel (=aloe vera); and, aloe whole leaf (=aloe extract). Aloe latex is used for its laxative effect; aloe gel is used topically for skin ailments, such as wound healing, psoriasis, genital herpes and internally by oral administration in diabetic and hyperlipidaemic patients and to heal gastric ulcers; and, aloe extract is potentially useful for cancer and AIDS. The use of honey may make the aloe extract therapy palatable and more efficient. Aloe preparations, especially aloe gel, have been reported to be chemically unstable and may deteriorate over a short time period. In addition, hot water extracts may not contain adequate concentrations of active ingredients and purified fractions may be required in animal studies and clinical trials. Therefore it should be kept in mind that, in some cases, the accuracy of the listed actions may be uncertain and should be verified by further studies. There are at least 600 known species of Aloe (Family Liliaceae), many of which have been used as botanical medicines in many countries for Read more […]

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Medical Uses Goldenseal is used for infections of the mucous membranes, digestive disorders, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, and traveler’s diarrhea. It has been used to treat streptococcus, staphylococcus, and bacterial vaginosis. Goldenseal’s major constituent (berberine) has also been effective in treating candidiasis (yeast infections). Scientists have disproved the rumor that goldenseal masks morphine in urine testing. Historical Uses Sometimes called “poor man’s ginseng,” goldenseal was discovered by Cherokee Indians who used it for eyewashes, acne, and eczema. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations cites goldenseal as one of the best-selling herbs internationally. It is very bitter. Growth Goldenseal is found in wooded areas in eastern North America, but it is endangered because of overharvesting. The plant prefers moist soil and shade. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Alkaloids of berberine and hydrastine Goldenseal: Clinical Uses Goldenseal is used for infections of the mucous membranes, digestive disorders, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, and traveler’s diarrhea. It has been used to treat streptococcus, staphylococcus, and bacterial vaginosis. Werbach Read more […]

Bromelain (Ananas Comosus)

Medical Uses Bromelain is used to decrease swelling after oral surgery and episiotomy. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic, a treatment for cancer and sports injuries, an aid to wound healing, and a treatment for mild ulcerative colitis. Historical Uses In folk medicine, bromelian fruit latex was used to treat wounds, burns, and cancer. It was also used as an aid to digestion. Growth Commercial bromelain is derived from pineapple stems. The major producers of bromelain are Japan, Taiwan, and Hawaii. Bromelain: Part Used • Pineapple plant stem Major Chemical Compounds • Sulfur-containing proteolytic enzymes () • Glycoproteins • Vitamins that contain enzymes Bromelain: Clinical Uses This herb has been used to help resolve hematoma after oral surgery and episiotomy. It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic, a treatment for cancer and sports injuries, an aid to wound healing (Natural Medicines, 2000), and a treatment for mild ulcerative colitis. It is approved by the German Commission E for “acute post-op and post-traumatic conditions of swelling, especially of the nasal and paranasal sinuses”. Mechanism of Action This proteolytic enzyme has fibrinolytic Read more […]

GLUCOCORTICOIDS

GLUCOCORTICOIDS are members of the corticosteroid family, with actions similar to the steroid hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. There are two main types of corticosteroids: glucocorticoids and MINERALOCORTICOIDS. Glucocorticoids that are important physiologically include hydrocortisone (cortisol), corticosterone and cortisone. These are essential for utilization of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the body, and in the normal response to stress. Naturally occurring and synthetic glucocorticoids have a powerful antiinflammatory effect. In contrast, the mineralocorticoids (e.g. aldosterone) are necessary for the regulation of the salt and water balance of the body. Corticosteroids can be used in hormone replacement therapy. For instance, the glucocorticoid hydrocortisone and the mineralocorticoid fludrocortisone can be given to patients for replacement therapy where there is a deficiency, or in Addison’s disease, or following adrenalectomy or hypopituitarism. The glucocorticoids are potent antiinflammatory and antiallergic agents, frequently used to treat inflammatory and/or allergic reactions of the skin, airways and elsewhere. Absorption of a high dose of corticosteroid over a period of time may also cause undesirable Read more […]

Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is defined as pelvic pain lasting more than 6 months. Some authors add the additional criteria that the pain be noncyclic. It is one of the most common presenting complaints in gynecologic practice, affecting as many as one in seven American women. Chronic pelvic pain comprises up to 10% of outpatient gynecologic visits, accounts for 20% of laparoscopies, and results in 12% (75,000 / year) of all hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. Estimated annual direct medical costs for outpatient visits for chronic pelvic pain in the United States among women 18 to 50 years old is estimated to be $881.5 million. It is often an extremely frustrating condition for both patient and care provider because in many cases an etiology cannot be identified and there is no apparent pathology. Treatment of presumed underlying conditions is frequently ineffective, and the “pain itself becomes the illness.” Because the cause often cannot be identified, chronic pelvic pain is frequently attributed to psychogenic causes. Although these may play a role in chronic pelvic pain for some women with lack of an identifiable cause, this does not necessarily equate with a psychosomatic origin for this complaint. Common Read more […]

Potentilla erecta

Potentilla erecta, tormentil Family: Rosaceae Part used: rhizome, root Flora Europaea gives 75 species in the genus and Stace (1991) gives 17 species in Britain. Potentilla species are rather similar and distinguishing characteristics are emphasized by Gibbons and Brough (1996). The Flora of Turkey gives 53 Potentilla species, including Potentilla erecta, Potentilla anglica and Potentilla reptans. Potentilla erecta (L.) Rauschel is a herbaceous perennial with a stout, hard rootstock. It is found throughout Europe on acid soils such as mountainous bog and moorland and upland meadows but also on dry sandy pinewoods and heathland. It is rare in the Mediterranean. Procumbent and erect stems (10-25 cm) are non-rooting and the height is greater where the land is damp and not grazed by sheep. The alternate leaves are unstalked, toothed at the apex and hairy underneath. The leaves occur in groups of three with two stipules which resemble small leaflets so it appears to have five leaflets. The yellow flowers occur in summer in cymes and have four petals and many yellow stamens. There are four sepals and a four-sectioned epicalyx. All other Potentilla have five petals. The seed is an achene. Potentilla erecta is used Read more […]

20th Century Usage In Diarrhoea

Of the modern authors, Weiss discusses the use of tormentil at length and recommends it highly. He gives a description which refers to Potentilla erecta and considers it the best astringent in chronic enterocolitis, summer diarrhoea, paratyphoid diarrhoea, acute and sub-acute enteritis and colitis although less useful in chronic cases of colitis. He recommends a good pinch of powder (500 mg) several times a day. Weiss also recommends one cup several times a day of a decoction prepared with 1-3 tablespoons of rhizome, steeped for 15 minutes in 500 mL water. He advises use with a carminative such as chamomile Matricaria recutita, lemon balm Melissa officinalis or peppermint Mentha piperita. Weiss considers the tincture less effective but gives a dose of 30-50 drops several times a day in peppermint tea. He gives a formula of tinctures of tormentil 30 mL, Atropa belladonna leaf 5 mL and carminative tincture 15 mL, 30 drops three times a day. The final dose of Atropa belladonna should be calculated before considering use of this formula. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia gives the main actions as astringent and anti-haemorrhagic and recommends it for ulcerative colitis and diarrhoea, including acute diarrhoea and diarrhoea Read more […]

IMMUNOSUPPRESSANT

IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS are agents that inhibit the body’s reaction to infection or foreign bodies. In this capacity, drugs with this property may be used to prevent tissue rejection following donor grafting or transplant surgery (though there is then the risk of unopposed infection). Also, immunosuppressants are used to treat autoimmune diseases (where the immune system is triggered into acting against systems in the body), including disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus, and also to treat collagen disorders. These agents include cyclosporin, rapamycin and tacrolimus, cytotoxic agents such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide. and the glucocorticoids. These will be discussed in turn. Cyclosporin is technically an antibiotic, which was discovered serendipitously during a search for antifungal agents and is unique in having a selective action on lymphocytes. It is a cyclic peptide of 11 residues – some previously unknown. It is particularly important as an immunosuppressant in limiting tissue rejection during and following organ transplant surgery. It can also be used to treat severe active rheumatoid arthritis and some skin conditions, such as severe resistant atopic dermatitis and (under supervision) Read more […]

Agrimonia eupatoria

Agrimony Family: Rosaceae Part used: aerial parts Agrimonia eupatoria L. is a hardy, herbaceous perennial found throughout Europe in grassland and verges. The Flora of Turkey gives two Agrimonia species, including Agrimonia eupatoria. Erect, reddish, pubescent stems (50-150 cm high) bear alternate, pinnate, toothed leaves with velvety undersides with small pairs between larger pairs. There is a basal rosette of leaves. Bright yellow flowers with five small petals occur on long, slender spikes from June to September. Small, cone-shaped fruits are enclosed in a characteristic bristled calyx-tube. The hooked bristles enable widespread dispersal of seeds on animal fur. It also spreads vegetatively by stout, woody, deep-lying rhizomes. Other species used fragrant agrimony Agrimonia procera Wallr. syn. Agrimonia odorata, which is a larger plant with leaves green on both sides, pale yellow flowers and bell-shaped fruits. It has similar constituents but is scented. Agrimonia pilosa is used in China (WHO 1989). Quality Collect during or shortly before flowering (BHMA 1983). The Eupatorion Of Dioscorides Dioscorides (IV 41) describes agrimony under the title ‘eupatorion’, by which name it was known until the Linnaean Read more […]