Malva sp. (Mallow)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Although about 1000 species are designated with the common name of mallow, approximately 30 species belonging to the genus Malva (of the Malvaceae family) are known for their medicinal value, mostly in a traditional sense. The common (blue or high) mallow (Malva sylvestris L.) is a biennial to short-lived perennial with prostrate to semi-erect stems (10-80 cm long) and long-stalked rounded leaves with a heart-shaped base and five to seven broad shallow-toothed lobes. The leaves of M. sylvestris var. incanescens Gris are hairy. The flowers (appearing from May to September) are pale lilac to bright mauve-purple and the seeds are flat button-like nutlets. The plant is found naturally in marginal or waste lands, hedgerows and roadsides and is approximately 1 m high, with stalked, roundish, five- to seven-lobed leaves. Plant parts abound with a mild mucilage. Malva aegyptia (Egyptian mallow) is an annual species, endemic in the Mediterranean countries, 20-50 cm high with purple-blue flowers. Malva cretica (Crecian mallow) is another Mediterranean species, which is an annual, 10-30 cm high with rose-coloured leaves. Malva ambigua Guss (M. sylvestris var. ambigua) is a Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil

Traditional Medicine Basil has traditionally been used for head colds and as a cure for warts and worms, as an appetite stimulant, carminative, and diuretic. In addition, it has been used as a mouth wash and adstringent to cure inflammations in the mouth and throat. Alcoholic extracts of basil have been used in creams to treat slowly healing wounds. Basil is more widely used as a medicinal herb in the Far East, especially in China and India. It was first described in a major Chinese herbal around A.D. 1060 and has since been used in China for spasms of the stomach and kidney ailments, among others. It is especially recommended for use before and after parturition to promote blood circulation. The whole herb is also used to treat snakebite and insect bites. In Nigeria, a decoction of the leaves of Ocimum gratissimum is used in the treatment of fever, as a diaphoretic and also as a stomachic and laxative. In Franchophone West Africa, the plant is used in treating coughs and fevers and as an anthelmintic. In areas around Ibadan (Western State of Nigeria), Ocimum gratissimum is most often taken as a decoction of the whole herb (Agbo) and is particularly used in treating diarrhoea. It is known to the Yorubas as “Efirin-nla” Read more […]

Nigella spp.

Characteristics of the Whole Plants and Their Secondary Metabolites The genus Nigella belongs to the family Ranunculaceae and includes about 20 species. Assignation to the genus Nigella changed repeatedly during the last century; some selected species are listed in Table 1. Nigella species are located mainly in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. The plants are annuals and often have spirally arranged bi- or tripimatisect leaves with linear or capillary lobes and solitary, terminal, hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, bluish flowers. Some subspecies or varieties also have white flowers or flowers of other pigmentation (mostly breeding forms). Only a small number of Nigella species are of practical interest as ornamental plants or as plants used in traditional folk medicine. Most of them are only known as weeds or wild plants. The habitats of the Nigella species are, for instance, south + east Europe, south + western and central Asia and Asia Minor. In Nigella species many biologically active compounds, mostly secondary plant products, are found, for example, enzymes, other proteins and peptides, fatty acids, fats, oils, essential oils, and alkaloids, as well as saponins. Detailed tests have shown a clear Read more […]

Cymbopogon Spreng. (Aromatic Grasses)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Cymbopogon Spreng. is one of the major aromatic plant genera, belonging to the tribe Andropogoneae of the family Poaceae. The number of species recognized by different workers in this genus varies from 55 to over 100. With the exception of the cultivated and introduced species, Cymbopogon occurs only in the Old World tropics and subtropics. Like other members of the tribe Andropogoneae, Cymbopogon is adapted to hot moist conditions. The species are more or less evenly distributed in the area, but several rather diffuse centers of diversity such as Indo-China, India, East Africa, and Queensland can be recognized. The species of Cymbopogon are either densely or loosely tufted plants ranging in height from 20 cm to 3 m. They are mostly perennial; culms of most species are erect and unbranched. Most of the species of Cymbopogon can be clearly distinguished from the related genera in the tribe by their aromatic smell. The species like C. nardus (L.) Rendle, C. winterianus Jowitt, C. flexuosus (Nees) Wats., C. citratus (DC.) Stapf and C. martinii (Roxb.) Wats, have been cultivated for a long time for their essential oils. Lemongrass oil, citronella oil, palmarosa oil, and gingergrass Read more […]

Campanula (Bellflower) Species

Distribution and Importance of the Plant The genus Campanula (family Campanulaceae) comprises approximately 300 species distributed across the northern hemisphere, many of these in mountainous areas. The genus generally inhabits meadow and subalpine regions, many species requiring full sun for optimal development. All species are herbaceous, and the name refers to the bell-shaped, blue flowers of the majority of the species. The species are perennials, biannuals, or annuals. A few species, Campanula glomerata, C. persicifolia, C. rotundifolia, C. bononiensis, C. sibirica, and C. patula have been used locally for preparation of traditional drugs in Russian folk medicine, and, in Italy, similar use has been made of C. medium, C. cervicaria, C. rotundifolia, C. latifolia, and C. trachelium (). Preparations were used to treat epilepsy, nervous diseases, coughs, headache, rheumatism, and inflammation. Many of the medicinal qualities attributed to these species are similar to the use in oriental medicine of drugs made from the closely related Platycodon grandiflorum (a), a species originally classified in the genus Campanula, and from species of the allied genera Adenophora () and Codonopsis (). Commercial cultivation Read more […]

Black Nightshade, Terong Meranti, Poison Berry

Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds. Origin Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan. Phytoconstituents Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The Read more […]

Pinellia tevnata Breit (Chinese name Banhsia)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Pinellia ternata Breit (Chinese name Banhsia), a perennial grass belonging to the Araceae, is an important Chinese medicinal herb that has been used in clinical practice for over 2000 years. Tuber globulose about 1 cm in diameter with hairy roots, few leaves with small bulbils of 3-5 mm in diameter borne at the middle and on the uppermost part; petioles 15-20 cm long, leaflets 3, ovate -elliptic to oblong – elliptic, 3-10 cm long, 1-3 cm broad, accuminate to acute at apex, acute to obtuse at base. Peduncles 25-35 cm long, spathe 6-7 cm long, green or green white rounded at apex, the limb lanceolate, puberulent inside; Spadix – erect, 6-10 cm long, with a filiform exerted appendage. It is widely distributed in China, especially in the south province, except for Nei Mongolia, Xin Jiang, Qing Hai, and Tibet. The altitude of these areas is below 2500 m. Pinellia ternata is one of the weeds in nonirrigated farm land (dry land), commonly seen in grassland, uncultivated land, corn fields, and/or under sparse woods. The species is also distributed in Japan and the Korean Peninsular. The plant grows well in warmer and more humid places and withstands damp or less sunshine. It is usually Read more […]

Drosera spp. (Sundew)

“Ancient botanical treatises and pharmacopoeias attribute various properties to the sundew, or Drosera, whose red droplets of mucilage do not dry out in the sun. Certain extracts of these plants serve as treatment for corns, verrucas, and burns. Infusions and other extracts are used against coughs, respiratory disorders, tuberculosis, arteriosclerosis, inflammations, intestinal illnesses, and syphilis. These preparations are diuretic, soothing and even aphrodisiac”.. Drosera extracts are still being used against infections and ailments of the respiratory tract. Plumbagin and related compounds occur in the Droseraceae and are thought to be responsible for its therapeutic properties. Although plumbagin occurs in many species of Drosera the compound is also extracted from species of Plumbago (). Frequent harvesting of natural populations of Drosera in Europe have resulted in the plants becoming increasingly scarce and alternate sources of plants are therefore being sought. Vegetative propagation of Drosera and the production of plumbagin in vitro may serve as an alternative to the utilization of natural populations. Distribution and General Morphology of Drosera The genus Drosera was the first of the carnivorous Read more […]

Respiratory System: Herbal Treatment of Children

The Function Of The Respiratory System To ensure sufficient intake of oxygen it is vital for children to have a fully functioning respiratory system, to have plenty of fresh air and exercise every day and that they breathe properly. The quality of the air breathed in is also of vital importance. Children’s lungs are delicate organs susceptible to external factors including heat, dust, moulds, pathogenic micro-organisms and chemical irritants. The pollution in the air, cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide, lead from car fumes, etc., becomes pollution in their lungs, which is then carried in the blood all round the body. According to Western medicine the main function of the lungs is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and the maintenance of acid-base in the body. We also know that the air we breathe is not only vital to our physiological functioning, but also to our more subtle processes. In India air is called “prana”, the breath of life. Not only are we breathing in gases vital for normal functioning of our cells and tissues, but we are also taking in the energy of the atmosphere around us which radiates from the trees and other green plants and ultimately from the sun. Correct breathing is vital for our nerves Read more […]

Coughs: Herbal Treatment of Children

A cough, nature’s way of cleansing the air passageways, is a reflex response to anything that threatens to block the throat or bronchial tubes, whether it be an irritant inhaled from the atmosphere, a piece of food going down the wrong way or an infection causing irritation and phlegm. For this reason it may not be advisable to give cough mixtures which suppress the cough reflex, since they prevent this protective action by the body and may predispose to further infection. Congestion, irritation and infection in the chest, as elsewhere in the respiratory tract, can be related to poor digestion, toxins in the bowel, poor elimination via other pathways (skin, bowels and urine), lowered vitality, poor diet, lack of fresh air and exercise, insufficient sleep or stress. When the vitality of a child is already lowered, it is easy for the child to become affected by changes in the weather, from warm to cold or from dry to damp, and to succumb to a cough or cold, and it will be blamed on the weather, or the child getting chilled, and the more long-term causes may be ignored. It is important to consider both when treating children. After immunizations, the child’s immune system may be more vulnerable to infection and more Read more […]