Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Pain Relief

Cannabis is a term that describes products derived from the Indian hemp, Cannabis sativa. It has its origins probably in India but now grows all over the world. The chemical compounds responsible for intoxication and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers of the female plants and surrounding leaves. Cannabis sativa contains a wide range of different chemicals including a family of compounds called “cannabinoids”. Of the cannabinoids delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the main compound responsible for the psychotropic activities. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and is mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating back to 2700 BC. There are records of ’its medicinal use in Egyptian papyri of the sixteenth century BC. Much later, the plant is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Greek and Roman sources as a medicinal agent. Early Experiences in the 19th Century Cannabis Tincture was used in the nineteenth century as an analgesic, as well as numerous other conditions and was considered milder and less dangerous than opium. W.B.O’Shaughnessy was the first of the western physicians to take an interest in cannabis as a medicine on account Read more […]

Hygrophila erecta

Verbascoside, or β-(3′,4′-dihydroxy-phenyl)-ethyl-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1->3)-β-D-(4-O-caffeoyl)-glucopyranoside (), also called “Labiateae tannin”, belongs to the phenylpropanoid glycosides. These secondary metabolites, along with other compounds like flavonoids are known to enter as substrates for the enzymes causing browning of damaged plant cells or cells of some species when cultivated in vitro (). Verbascoside is the most widespread of the disaccharide caffeoyl esters (). It is also known as acteoside () and kusaginin (). Moreover, as was shown by Andary and Ibrahim () with labeling experiments of heterosidic caffeoyl esters biosynthesized by plantlets of Stachys albens (Lamiaceae), trisac-charide caffeoyl esters are formed from verbascoside, constituting a further or final step in the biosynthetic pathway of the heterosidic caffeoyl esters. These compounds, as well as verbascoside, can be employed as taxonomic markers in Plantaginaceae and Lamiaceae (). Verbascoside was originally isolated from Verbascum sinuatum (), but its chemical structure was exactly defined by Andary et al. in 1982. Actually, verbascoside was said to be present in several families of three orders of the Asteridae (): Verbenaceae Read more […]

Citrus species and their essential oils in traditional medicine

The genus Citrus L. (Fam. Rutaceae) contains a large number of species (more than 400) (INDEX Kewensis, 1997) along with innumerable varieties, cultivars, etc. All cultivated species probably derive from plants native to tropical and subtropical zones of Southeast Asia (). India would appear to be the original cradle of the Citrus genus. We find references to their usage in ancient Hindu medicine as Amara-Koscba () under the names Jambira (Citrus acida) and Nardnga (Citrus aurantium). The lemon is one of the remedies found in numerous treatises on Vedic-Brahminic medicine, the most important of which is the Susruta (1300 BC) (). According to Bretschneider (1871), the Pent’ ts’ao Rang Mu, a book of Materia medica that draws together knowledge dating back thousands of years BC and is considered a true Pharmacopoeia, includes the fruits of Citrus digitata and Citrus japonica in section IV/2 (Mountain fruits). Of the hundreds of species belonging to the Citrus genus, only a small number were extensively cultivated and acclimatised, initially in neighbouring countries and later, at the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great (330 BC), also in Greece and Palestine. There is reliable documentation of the use Read more […]

The retail lavender nursery

There may be romantic appeal to running a lavender nursery, but there is little room for this notion on the modern nursery. Downderry Nursery, however, offers a sensual experience which compensates for a great deal of time, worry and effort. Set in the peaceful beauty of a Victorian walled garden, in the heart of the Kent countryside, it is also the home of the Lavender and Rosemary National Plant Collection® in Kent. It affords both customer appeal due to its display gardens of lavender and is a successful commercial concern. Business plan Predominant factors involved in the operation of a retail lavender nursery, marketing and well organised nursery management, are prerequisites for the efficient production required to fulfil sales projections, be competitive and make a profit. As with any business, there is no more important task than planning. Time spent at this stage will yield great dividends in the future, in both the short and long term. The tangible benefits of ‘thinking time’ may not flow for some time, but provides a sound infrastructure on which the execution of jobs, from propagation to selling, can operate smoothly and efficiently. Once the initial business plan is in operation the rolling programme Read more […]

History of usage of Lavandula species

The term lavender is considered to come from the Latin ’lavando’ part of the verb ’lavare’ to bathe, the Romans having used many plants to perfume their baths. The Greeks and Romans also referred to lavender as nard, from the Latin Nardus Italica, after the Syrian town Naarda. This was the beginning of much confusion as to which plant was being referred to in classical and medieval times. Lavandula is obvious, however nard and spike can refer to spike lavender or to spikenard (a plant imported from India during the Middle Ages and equally popular then for its aromatic properties). Despite much learned investigation into the identification of lavender in the writings of classical authors; it has remained impossible to unquestionably identify Lavandula vera or Lavandula spica. Lavandula stoechas is, however, distinctly referred to by both Dioscorides and Pliny. An alternative, but less likely explanation from Victorian times connected the name to the Latin ’livere’ meaning to be livid or bluish. Historical review of the use of lavender Main functions of lavender in the past There is a mystery surrounding the actual appearance or reappearance of lavender in Britain after Roman times. The Huguenots have Read more […]

The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

The historical and contemporary, medicinal uses of cannabis have been reviewed on several occasions. Perhaps the earliest published report to contain at least some objectivity on the subject was that of O’Shaughnessy (1842), an Irish surgeon, working in India, who described the analgesic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties of the drug. This report triggered the appearance of over 100 publications on the medicinal use of cannabis in American and European medical journals over the next 60 years. One such use was to treat nausea and vomiting; but it was not until the advent of potent cancer chemotherapeutic drugs that the antiemetic properties of cannabis became more widely investigated and then employed. One can argue that the available clinical evidence of efficacy is stronger here than for any other application and that proponents of its use are most likely to be successful in arguing that cannabis should be re-scheduled (to permit its use as a medicine) because it has a “currently accepted medical use”. Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis Spastic Conditions A discussion Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic

Many agents used in cancer chemotherapy produce severe nausea and vomiting in most patients. Symptoms can last for hours or days and have a major impact on patient nutrition and electrolyte status, body weight and physical and mental resilience to both the disease and its treatment. The current choice of available anti-emetics is limited and most are only partially effective, which may lead patients to refuse therapy all together, or for clinicians to use chemotherapeutic regimens which are less than optimum. For these reasons, the search for more effective antiemetics continues. Cannabis In the late 1960s and early 1970s, patients receiving various cancer chemotherapy regimes (including mustine, vincristine, prednisone and procarbazine) noted that smoking cannabis from illicit sources, before and during chemotherapy, reduced the incidence of nausea and vomiting to a variable degree. Only since the isolation of THC have formal clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of cannabis derivatives been conducted. As far as crude cannabis is concerned, we have only anecdotal evidence that inhaling its smoke is effective in a variable percentage of patients who vomit, despite supposedly adequate doses of standard antiemetics. There 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 […]

Mucuna pruriens

Importance of L-DOPA A hypofunction of the nigrostriatal and the mesolimbic dopaminergic systems appears to cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (e.g. tremor, rigidity, akinesia). Post mortem studies have revealed a severe degradation of melanin-containing neurons in the substantia nigra zona compacta and a marked reduction of the contents of dopamine, its synthesizing enzymes and metabolites in various brain areas of Parkinsonian patients. Both precursors in the biosynthesis of L-DOPA, i.e. L-tyrosine and 3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-L-alanine (L-DOPA), may be taken up from the bloodstream by the brain. Dopamine is not able to pass the blood/liquor barrier. For this reason, L-DOPA has found a wide application for the symptomatic relief of Parkinson’s disease. At present, commercially available L-DOPA is being synthesized chemically starting from vanillin. Due to its relatively great demand, a continuous search for alternative production possibilities is being carried out. Among these are the use of fungi for the bioconversion of N-formyltyrosine or N-carbobenzoxy-L-tyrosine, and the enzymatic coupling of DL-serine and pyrocatechol by tyrosine phenol lyase. Occurrence of L-DOPA in Plants The occurrence of L-DOPA Read more […]