The use of eucalyptus oils in consumer products

Insect repellents As noted in the introduction, Eucalyptus citriodora oil has been used as a ‘natural’ insect repellent. Depending on the product formulation it is used in, Lemon Eucalyptus (known as Quwenling in China) is up to four or five times more effective and longer-lasting than citronella oil (from Cymbopogon nardus), one of the best known natural insect repellents. p-Menthane-3,8-diol is the main active component of Quwenling and this can be isolated and used as a highly effective insect repellent. Eucalyptus citriodora oil contains up to 80–90 per cent citronellal, along with geraniol, both of which are known to have insect repellent activity but tend to dilute the much higher activity of the p-menthane-3,8-diol. The Mosi-guard Natural insect repellent spray produced by MASTA in the UK contains ‘Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus’ and claims on the label: Approved and recommended by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Field trials have shown effective protection for 6 h after a single application in mosquito infected areas. Also protects against many other biting insects. Mosi-guard Natural is made from a natural and renewable resource. It is kind to your skin and has no adverse effects Read more […]

Citrus in Traditional Medicine

Citrus in traditional Asiatic medicine In a comparative study of the use of herbal drugs in the traditional medicines of India and Europe, Pun () found a marked similarity between the drugs used in the two continents. He attributed this not only to the similarity of the vegetation in the two areas, but also to the influence that traditional Indian medicine, in particular the Atherveda, one of the most ancient repositories of human knowledge, had on Egypt, Greece and Rome. He listed the principal uses of a small number of these drugs, including bitter orange peel, which in India is used as an aromatic, stomachic, tonic, astringent and carminative agent, and lemon, which is used as a flavouring and for its carminative and stomachic effects. In the Valmiki-Ramayana, written after the Vedas and one of the most sacred of all religious books which enumerates the virtues of the medicinal plants that Lord Rama (Vishnu) met during his fourteen-year journey around different parts of India, Karnick and Hocking () identified and listed fifty of these drugs with their use as described in the Ayurvedica (or native Indian) system of medicine. The immature fruit of Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swingle was used as an fortifier, Read more […]


Tonsils and adenoids provide a first defence against atmospheric pollution and infection entering the body through the mouth and nose. They also filter poisons in the bloodstream and those draining from the nose and sinuses. When they become swollen, inflamed and painful during an infection, they are responding to an increased demand for their cleansing work in an attempt to throw it off. The tonsils in so doing are fulfilling their protective role by inhibiting the spread of infection further into the body. For this reason the surgical removal of the tonsils should only be a last resort. Tonsillitis can be both acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis flares up in response to a viral or a bacterial infection, and tends to occur when there is low vital energy, excess toxins in the body and catarrhal congestion. It frequently heralds or accompanies a cold or flu virus, laryngitis or mumps. When bacterial, the onset is sudden with a severe sore throat and swollen neck glands, often with a fever, but with no or few other upper respiratory symptoms. The streptococcal bacterium involved can, in rare cases, affect the kidneys (causing nephritis) or the heart (in rheumatic fever). This means that the first signs of bacterial Read more […]

Saponaria officinalis L.

Saponaria officinalis L.: In Vitro Culture and the Production of Triterpenoidal Saponins There are very few studies on the production of triterpenoids and their saponins by in vitro plant culture. These products now enjoy growing interest since their chemical extraction and purification have become easier and their structural identity has been made possible by methods like RMN-13C or Fab-MS. Among the plants producing triterpenoidal saponins, some contain great amounts of very polar saponins, essentially in the rhizome and the roots (Saponaria officinalis L., Gypsophila sp., Caryophyllaceae) or in the bark (Quillaja saponaria Mol., Quillaja smegmadermos D.C., Rosaceae). These saponins are among the biggest with nine to ten oses bound to a pentacyclic triterpenoid acid. Their amphiphilic structure confers to them some well-known properties such as detergent, emulsive, hemolytic and toxic substances. Some of them are still largely used as shampoo (Quillaja saponins) or to make photographic emulsion (saponins of S. officinalis, fuller’s herb or of Gypsophila sp., soapwort). First results showed us the presence of these compounds in plant cell culture in vitro, so we have tried to investigate their production and metabolism 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 […]

Coltsfoot: Internal Use – Later Ideas

Later authors introduce internal use for cough, some expand application of the bitter principle, and some consider its qualities, while most repeat the Ancients’ recommendations too. Dodoens and Turner simply repeat Dioscorides. Culpeper assigns the herb to Venus. Parkinson, followed by Culpeper, includes the burnt herb use but takes up Galen that fresh coltsfoot is cooling and drying, but when dried and the moisture evaporated it becomes hotter and dry, and hence good against thin rheums that are causing the cough, thickening and drying it; while the fresh leaves or juice, or their syrup, are good for a hot dry cough, wheezings and shortness of breath. He suggests the distilled water alone or in a mixture with elder Sambucus nigra and nightshade Solarium nigrum for hot agues, both drunk, 2 oz at a time, and applied on cloths to the head and stomach. This mix can also be applied to any hot swellings and other inflammations, including St Anthony’s fire (possibly erysipelas or herpes zoster, for which coltsfoot could be effective, or ergotism, for which topical treatment is almost certainly useless), burns, ‘wheales’ and pustules from heat, and burning piles. This mixture possibly originates from Bock – Simonis cites Read more […]

Arctium lappa

Family: Asteraceae Part used: root, seed, leaf Arctium lappa L. is a robust biennial, found throughout Europe on roadsides, verges and scrub land. The Flora of Turkey gives three Arctium species, not including Arctium lappa but including Arctium minus. Stout, downy, striated, branched stems (to 1 m) bear alternate, entire leaves which are large (to 50 cm long) and wide with a heart-shaped base and white down underneath. The petioles (leaf-stalks) are solid. The spherical, purple flowerheads are stalked and surrounded by dense clusters of scale-like hooked bracts. The egg-shaped seeds are achenes and surrounded by a pappus of yellowish free hairs and characteristic stiff hooked scales derived from the bracts. The ribbed seeds are dispersed by animals as the scales stick firmly to fur. Lesser burdock Arctium minus Bernh. is very similar but smaller (to 50 cm). Basal leaves are smaller and narrower with hollow leaf stalks. The purple flowerheads occur in clusters and project beyond the surrounding spiny bracts. The seed is not ribbed. Arctium minus has three subspecies and a fertile cross with Arctium lappa and there are many variants. The photographed specimen may be a cross as it as over 1 m tall but had hollow Read more […]

Diseases of the Respiratory System

Herbs For Diseases Of The Respiratory System Prescription For Bronchitis Prescription For Feline Bronchial Asthma Strategy Treatment depends on the severity and concurrent conventional treatment. For example, if the patient is on steroids, consider hepatoprotection and immune support. Inhalant drugs (bronchodilators and steroids) may be necessary for some patients. Consider inhalation therapy of inhaled steam from herbal teas. Avoid stressing cats if administering herbs is difficult. Consider herbs that stabilize mast cells and the herbs for allergic bronchitis. The following simple formula for feline asthma support is easy to give and well tolerated (use glycetract). Marshmallow: Demulcent, vulnery, diuretic, antitussive; 1 part. Give one-half to 1 ml per 10 pounds 2 to 3 times daily in food or diluted and by mouth. Prescription For Sinusitis / Rhinitis Strategy Determine whether inhaled allergens are involved (boarding the patient in a different environment for a few days might improve the condition) and reduce exposure to inhaled allergens (such as dust mites). Consider environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke, dust, and pollution, and consider elimination diets. Inhalation therapy may be useful. Read more […]

Herbs For Gastrointestinal Disorders

In herbal medicine, there is a recognized fundamental linkage between the gut and systemic health in conditions as widely ranging as asthma, atopy, autoimmune disease, and even arthritis. This is important, considering that the gut plays a significant role in immune function. Herbalists emphasize the health of the digestive system, bowel movements, and any symptoms related to gut function — even mild digestive disturbances such as burping, mild constipation, inconsistent stools, or excessive flatulence are always considered significant, even if not the reason for presentation for consultation. The herbs outlined below are useful in gastrointestinal health and disease management and are supported by traditional use or research. The lists are by no means complete, and there are differences in the potency of the actions of the individual herbs. However, by knowing the particulars of the patient, an herb might be chosen for its breadth of action when more than 1 system is involved or for a particularly strong action that is needed. Sometimes only a gentle stimulation, triggering an appropriate reflex response or dampening a response, may be all that’s needed to reach equilibrium again. The beauty and art of herbal Read more […]

Diseases of the Skin

Herbs For Diseases Of The Skin Herbal treatment of skin disorders — allergic dermatitis / atopy / flea bite dermatitis, alopecia, chronic pyoderma, and mange (demodectic / sarcoptic) — draws on some traditional concepts that need explanation. The skin is considered to be an outer manifestation of internal health; therefore, skin disease is considered to be a sign of a deeper disease process. Topical herbs are a superficial approach (but can be very useful) and as in conventional medicine, a diagnosis is imperative. There is no point treating a flea allergy dermatitis just with herbs! In most chronic skin conditions the skin lesion is thought to be an effort by the body to release, discharge, or remove toxic substances; therefore, medications that suppress signs (such as corticosteroids) are thought to drive the process deeper over time. Consideration must be given to the organs of detoxification, and hence in human herbal medicine it is common to hear at least the principle of “detoxification” in order to “cleanse” skin. Even in veterinary medicine, in the early part of the 20th century there were references to Aloes for horses and Jalap for dogs for eczema, as well as alteratives for urticaria. Barbadoes aloe, Read more […]