Aspilia mossambicensis

Aspilia mossambicensis (Oliv.) Wild (Asteraceae), is widespread in central and eastern tropical Africa (), ranging from Ethiopia through east Africa, the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Transvaal to Natal (). Various folk uses of this and other Aspilia species have been reported, including its use as a remedy for cystitis and gonorrhoea (), treatment of abdominal pains, intestinal worms, and skin infections (). Previous reports for two other species of Aspilia (A. montevidencis and A. parvifolia) showed the presence of the tridecapentaynene derivative, thiophene A (I) (), in roots (). Methanol and aqueous extracts of Aspilia africana have recently been shown to have antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including Agrobacterium tumefaciens, at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 g/ml (). Evidence that wild chimpanzees use Aspilia mossambicensis as a dietary and medicinal supplement () suggested the possibility that the plant could have biocidal activity, and prompted an investigation of the phytochemistry of this species. Thiarubrines A and B (II, IV) and the mono-thiophenic derivatives, thiophenes A and B (I, III), were subsequently isolated from leaves of dried Read more […]

Gardenia jasminoides Ellis

Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (= G. grandiflora Lour.), a native of China and Indochina, is an ornamental and medicinal woody plant. This plant, belonging to the Rubiaceae, is an evergreen small shrub with white, solitary and fragrant flowers. The double-flowered form is usually used for ornamental purposes, while the single-flowered form is used as a medicinal plant, since the former does not bear fruits, a medicinally used organ. G. jasminoides, as well as its variety, G. jasminoides var. ovalifolia Nakai, is called gardenia and used as a garden tree in Europe and North America, and also as a pot plant in Greece. This plant was once called Cape jasmine in North America because of its fragrant flowers, which were popular for cutting. In China it is called Zhi-zi, and the dried fruits have been medicinally used for curing various inflammatory diseases including hepatitis and cystitis. The dried fruits of G. jasminoides and of its form, G. jasminoides f. grandiflora Makino, are called San-shi-shi in Japan and have been used as a dyestuff and an antiphlogistic, diuretic and haemostatic drug in Chinese traditional medicine. A demand for the fruits as food colouring has been rapidly increasing and currently more than 150 Read more […]

Alkylating Agents

The alkylating agents exert their antineoplastic actions by generating highly reactive carbonium ion intermediates that form a covalent linkage with various nucleophilic components on both proteins and DNA. The 7 position of the purine base guanine is particularly susceptible to alkylation, resulting in miscoding, depurination, or ring cleavage. Bifunctional alkylating agents are able to cross-link either two nucleic acid molecules or one protein and one nucleic acid molecule. Although these agents are very active from a therapeutic perspective, they are also notorious for their tendency to cause carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. Alkylating agents that have a nonspecific effect on the cell-cycle phase are the most cytotoxic to rapidly proliferating tissues. Nitrogen Mustards The activity of nitrogen mustards depends on the presence of a bis-(2-chloroethyl) grouping: CH2—CH2C1 | N | CH2—CH2C1 This is present in mechlorethamine (Mustargen), which is used in patients with Hodgkin’s disease and other lymphomas, usually in combination with other drugs, such as in MOPP therapy (mechlorethamine, Oncovin [vincristine], procarbazine, andprednisone). It may cause bone marrow depression. Chlorambucil Chlorambucil Read more […]

White Deadnettle: Modern Use

Modern texts, if the herb appears in them at all, mainly limit themselves to white deadnettle, but vary quite widely in their range of applications. Chevallier cites Gerard on lifting the spirits but restricts his internal uses mainly to women’s complaints. It is, he says, astringent and demulcent, used as a uterine tonic, to stop intermenstrual bleeding and menorrhagia; traditionally for vaginal discharge; sometimes taken to relieve painful periods. It can be taken against diarrhoea and externally used for varicose veins and haemorrhages. Wood cites Hill, Weiss and a 19th century UK herbalist who records the familiar traditional uses of helping the spleen, whites, flooding, nose bleeds, spitting blood, haemorrhages, green wounds, bruises and burns. The source of some of his specific indications ― cough, bronchitis, pleurisy, inflamed prostate, anaemia -is unclear, given his text. Menzies-Trull covers a broad range of uses, although there is no specific discussion of them. Bartram too gives a broad sweep, designating the flowering tops haemostatic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antispasmodic and menstrual regulator, with uses including heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, cystitis, Read more […]

Heartsease: Modern Applications

Grieve offers many more names for this plant, among them: love lies bleeding, love idol, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Kit run in the fields, stepmother, pink-eyed John, bouncing Bet. Discussing the names, she tells how the plant was prized for its potency as a love charm ‘in ancient days’, hence perhaps its name heartsease. Along with the uses familiar from the Renaissance authors, Grieve records the flowers were formerly considered cordial and good in diseases of the heart, attributing to this use a further possible origin of the name heartsease. Grieve offers no source for use of the plant as cordial. There is no obvious mention of this in our authors up to this point. Perhaps it stems more from a folk tradition, or perhaps even from a misinterpretation somewhere of the word angina. Leyel (1949) accords the herb cordial properties. She cites the past uses as in our authors, adds ‘a good herb in disorders of the blood’, and mentions its use in ‘moist cutaneous eruptions in children’, particularly crusta lactea and tinea capitis. Then she continues ‘it has derived the name heartsease partly from its early use as a heart tonic and it can be taken quite safely to relieve palpitation of the heart and to soothe a tired and Read more […]

Sweet Violet: More Modern Application And Cancer

The plant does not appear in Cook or Ellingwood in the USA. The National Botanic Pharmacopoeia summarizes the view in the early part of the 20th century. Inflammation of the eyes, sleeplessness, pleurisy, jaundice and quinsy ‘are but a few of the ailments for which it was held potent’. The general assessment in this herbal is not encouraging; ‘it is still found in the pharmacopoeias though many of the virtues ascribed to it in the Middle Ages have not stood the test of time and greater experience’. This might be a rather severe judgement, particularly given the narrow range of application mode and lack of emphasis or perhaps sufficient appreciation of its broader cooling properties within its earlier context. Its reputation as an anti cancer herb is explored in Potter’s Bulletin of May 1902, cited by the National Botanic Pharmacopoeia, recording the case of a 67-year-old lady whose malignant throat tumour was cleared in 14 days on use of this herb. They suggest a handful of fresh green violet leaves infused in 1 pint of boiling water covered for 12 hours; this is strained and warmed; then a piece of lint, soaked in this infusion, is placed ‘where the malady is’, covered with oilskin or flannel and changed when dry or Read more […]

Betony: Other Applications

Wood alone among the modern authors also mentions a lower respiratory condition treatable with betony, namely bronchitis. The respiratory tract is in fact another body system for which betony is recorded as having uses. Dale-champs and Bauhin state Musa’s recommendation of the herb in warm water as beneficial to those sighing and breathing with difficulty; while the leaves in honey help consumptives, especially those who cough up purulent matter. Betony in an eclegma, or thick syrup made from honey, sometimes conveyed to the mouth on a root of liquorice which is licked clean, and taken for 9 days eases a cough. Dioscorides also mentions betony with honey for tuberculosis and for internal abscesses, while 3 obols (1.7 g) of the powdered herb in 1 cyathos (45 mL) of tepid and diluted wine helps those that spit blood (haemoptysis). Galen states that betony cleanses the lungs and Serapio repeats this, adding a strengthening action. None of these points is listed in the Old English Herbarium. The Salernitan herbal repeats Musa and Dioscorides, but with different dosages or length of administration of the remedy. Macer mentions cough only. These indications are once again passed down in full or in part through 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 […]

Botanical Treatment Of Chronic Pelvic Pain

Effective botanical treatment of chronic pelvic pain requires a clear understanding of possible etiologies and the appropriate treatment of the underlying cause of the pain. For patients with diagnosed gynecologic conditions associated with pelvic pain, readers are referred to the relevant chapters in this textbook, such as, dysmenorrhea, interstitial cystitis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and so forth. Treatments discussed in the following may be used as adjunct palliative therapies for pain, inflammation, and concomitant symptoms in these conditions. In the absence of a clearly identified pathology, the practitioner can approach treatment symptomatically via specific botanical treatments for pain reduction, and attempt to address mechanisms that may be associated with CPP, for example, inflammation. One theory of chronic pelvic pain that was popular among physicians in the early-and mid-twentieth century, and that is still considered a possibility, is that of pelvic congestion syndrome. Women with this syndrome, which is poorly defined, are thought to exhibit many of the symptoms associated with CPP, including aching and dragging sensations in the lower back, lower abdomen, and pelvis, dysmenorrhea, and dyspareunia. Read more […]

Formulae For Chronic Pelvic Pain Treatment

The following is a small selection of possible formulae to illustrate formulation strategies for chronic pelvic pain treatment. These various formulae can be used concurrently, or elements from several may be combined to create a unique formula for individual patients. Other herbs discussed above may be substituted if they are more specifically indicated to a particular patient’s presenting picture. Further, chronic pelvic pain treatment, as discussed, almost invariably requires readers to refer to other relevant sections of this site for treatment options, for example, dysmenorrhea or interstitial cystitis. Formulae for Chronic Pelvic Pain General Tincture for CPP: Uterine Tonic / Antispasmodic Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) 20 mL Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) 20 mL Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) 20 mL Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 15 mL Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) 15 mL Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) 10 mL Total: 100 mL Dose: 5 mL twice daily This formula is an example of one that combines a variety of actions into a general formula that can be used long-term and daily for the treatment of chronic pelvic pain for women with Read more […]