Betony And The Nervous System

When Musa includes three treatments with betony for the nervous system, one concerns trauma and probably both the other two bear some relation to indications contemplated by modern practitioners. Firstly, the leaves powdered and applied heal severed nerves. Other traumas appearing elsewhere in Musa’s list of conditions are ruptures, and in those who have tumbled down from a high place, for which 3 drachms (12 g) in old wine is used. It is not clear whether internal or external administration is meant here, but the former is presumed, since The Old English Herbarium specifies internal ruptures and Dioscorides mentions ruptures with spasms, uterine problems and suffocations, for which cases he advises 1 drachm of the powdered leaves in water or honey water. We have already noted, too, when discussing mugwort, that uterine suffocations are renamed hysterical affections in the later tradition. To this supposed nervous state we can add Musa’s ‘unnerved’ or enfeebled condition (Bauhin’s ‘resolutos’), unless another traumatic injury such as the wrenching of a joint is meant. The Salernitan herbal, however, advises betony for those in a weakened state, where 1 drachm (4 g) in 3 cyathi (135 mL) of good wine taken daily for 5 Read more […]

Wormwood: Mental Health

The applications of wormwood continue with its reputation as a herb against melancholy. This action may well be as attributable to the effect of its bitter nature on the liver, as well as the general tonic effect so roundly affirmed from application thus far. There is support of a humoral nature for bitters working through the spleen in hypochondriac melancholy where an overheated spleen causes noxious vapours to rise to the heart and brain. Some modern authors, among them Chevallier, Menzies-Trull and Hoffman, refer to use in depression/melancholy but not a lot of guidance as to source is given. Grieve gives a recipe of 1 oz of herb infused 10-12 minutes in one pint of water taken in glassful doses to relieve melancholia, but again no source is offered. The tradition does not appear in the ancients. Hildegard is an early mention, with a recipe of fresh wormwood pounded and expressed through cloth added to wine cooked with honey, so that the wormwood overcomes the wine and honey flavour, to be drunk every other day, to check not only melancholy, but ‘it will ease sickness in the loins and make your eyes clear’. Serapio cites Mabix that an infusion or decoction, especially mixed with epithymum, will cure melancholy. Read more […]

Ruta graveolens

Ruta graveolens L. (Rutaceae) Herb of Grace, Common Rue Ruta graveolens L. is a glabrous herb with stem that can grow up to 14-45 cm. Lower leaves are more or less long-petiolate with ultimate segments 2-9 mm wide, lanceolate to narrowly oblong. Inflorescence is rather lax; pedicels are as long as or longer than the capsule; bracts are lanceolate, leaf-like. Sepals are lanceolate and acute. Petals are oblong-ovate, denticulate and undulate. Capsule is glabrous; segments somewhat narrowed above to an obtuse apex. Origin Native to Europe. Phytoconstituents Rutoside, rutaverine, arborinine, rutin, elemol, pregei-jerene, geijerene, furocoumarins, bergapten, xanthotoxin, fagarine, graveolinine and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses It is frequently used to treat worm and parasitic infection. It has been commonly used for the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo due to the psoralens and methoxypsoralens present. It is also used to relieve muscle spasms, as carminative, emmenagogue, haemostat, uter-onic, vermifuge, to treat hepatitis, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, bug bite, cancer, cold, fever, snakebite, earache, toothache and as an antidote especially in malarial poisoning. It is also used as an abortifacient to terminate Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cannabis

Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Bhang, Dagga, Ganja, Hashish, Indian hemp, Marihuana, Marijuana. Cannabis indica Lam. Constituents Cannabis herb contains a wide range of cannabinoids, which are the major active compounds. The main psychoactive constituent is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; dronabinol), and it is the cause of many of the pharmacological effects elicited by the consumption of cannabis. However, other cannabinoids, which do not possess psychoactive properties, such as cannabidiol, cannabinol (a decomposition product of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol), cannabigerol and cannabichromene, are increasingly being investigated for their pharmacological and therapeutic properties. Cannabinoids are often found in the plant as their acid metabolites, e.g. ll-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol acid and others, especially if the plant has been grown in a cooler climate. These decarboxylate to the parent cannabinoid at high temperatures, such as during smoking. Most medicinal cannabis products have been heat treated to ensure that the cannabinoids are present only in the non-acid form. Use and indications Cannabis has no current established use in herbal Read more […]


A seizure, or more formally an epileptic seizure, is an involuntary attack in which there is spasmodic clonic-tonic movement of a part or the whole of the body. The attack may last anywhere from a few seconds to many hours. During the attack there may be complete loss of consciousness. A seizure may be part of many illnesses. This chapter presents those illnesses in which Wind stirs in the interior or Wind poisons injure the meridians. Etiology and Pathology The location of seizure is the tendons and muscles. A seizure may result when there is failure to nourish the tendons and muscles and dysfunction of the Du Meridian. Since the nourishment of the tendons and muscles depend upon the normal functioning of the visceral organs, especially the heart, the liver and the kidney, they have an important role. Of the visceral organs the liver is the key organ since endogenous Wind stirs readily when liver-Yang is hyperactive. When exogenous pathogenic evils invade and accumulate in the interior, they may transform into Heat. This occurs most readily in a patient in whom Yang is exuberant. If strong Heat enters the Yangming Meridian it damages the body fluids. As a result the tendons and muscles lose their nourishment Read more […]


Syncope is a frequently encountered urgent condition characterized by sudden fainting with temporary loss of consciousness. Etiology and Pathology Syncope may be due to a variety of causes, including disturbances in the activities of Qi or blood, emotional upset or postural changes. In Chinese medicine, according to the causative factors, syncope may be classified into the following categories: Qi syncope, blood (circulation) syncope, Phlegm syncope, Summer Heat syncope and food retention syncope. Qi and blood syncope, especially of the strength type, account for most of the cases. Qi Syncope. In a person with constitutionally abundant Qi sudden emotional upset, such as anger, fright or terror, may induce abnormal ascent of Qi, which in turn blocks the clear orifices and induces syncope. Conversely, in a person with constitutionally deficient genuine Qi strong grief or sadness or overstrain may prevent pure Yang from ascending. This compromises nourishment of the mind and may precipitate syncope. Blood Syncope. In a patient with constitutionally abundant liver-Yang rage can induce Qi and blood to move erratically. In such circumstances the abnormal ascent of Qi and blood may block the clear orifices, leading Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Valerian

Valeriana officinalis L. (Valerianaceae) Synonym(s) and related species All-heal, Belgian valerian, Common valerian, Fragrant valerian, Garden valerian. Many other Valerian species are used in different parts of the world. Pharmacopoeias Powdered Valerian (The United States Ph 32); Powdered Valerian Extract (The United States Ph 32); Valerian (British Ph 2009, The United States Ph 32); Valerian Dry Aqueous Extract (European Ph 2008); Valerian Dry Hydroalcoholic Extract (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4); Valerian Root (European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4); Valerian Tablets (The United States Ph 32); Valerian Tincture (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents Valerian root and rhizome contains a large number of constituents which vary considerably according to the source of the plant material and the method of processing and storage. Many are known to contribute to the activity, and even those that are known to be unstable may produce active decomposition products. The valepotriates include the valtrates, which are active constituents, but decompose on storage to form other Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: St John’s wort

Hypericum perforatum L. (Clusiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Hypericum, Millepertuis. Hypericum noeanum Boiss., Hypericum veronense Schrank. Pharmacopoeias St John’s Wort (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008, US Ph 32); St John’s Wort Dry Extract, Quantified (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The main groups of active constituents of St John’s wort are thought to be the anthraquinones, including hypericin, isohypericin, pseudohypericin, protohypericin, protopseudohypericin and cyclopseudohypericin, and the prenylated phloroglucinols, including hyperforin and adhyperforin. Flavonoids, which include kaempferol, quercetin, luteolin, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, quercitrin and rutin; biflavonoids, which include biapigenin and amentoflavone, and catechins are also present. Other polyphenolic constituents include caffeic and chlorogenic acids, and a volatile oil containing methyl-2-octane. Most St John’s wort products are standardised at least for their hypericin content (British Pharmacopoeia 2009), even though hyperforin is known to be a more relevant therapeutic constituent, and some preparations are now standardised for both (The United Read more […]


Thr drink known as Absinthe was actually taken as a “tonic drink”; it became very popular by the end of the 19th century. Made from oils of WORMWOOD, combined with anise, coriander and hyssop, it is actually a narcotic alcoholic drink, banned now that it is realised that it causes permanent neural damage. Besides upsetting the nervous system, it irritates the stomach and increases heart action, and could cause disorientation, delirium and hallucination. At one time, wormwood was used in the preparation of all sorts of medicated wines and ales. Nowadays, extract of aniseed has replaced wormwood in aromatic liqueurs, in Pernod for instance, though small amounts of wormwood are still added to vermouth, which is a fortified white wine.