Artemisia Herba-Alba

The genus Artemisia is a member of the large and evolutionary advanced plant family Asteraceae (Compositae). More than 300 different species comprise this diverse genus which is mainly found in arid and semi-arid areas of Europe, America, North Africa as well as in Asia. Artemisia species are widely used as medicinal plants in folk medicine. Some species such as Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia annua or Artemisia vulgaris have even been incorporated into the pharmacopoeias of several European and Asian countries. Sesquiterpene lactones are among the most prominent natural products found in Artemisia species and are largely responsible for the importance of these plants in medicine and pharmacy. For example, the antimalarial effect of the long known Chinese medicinal plant Qing Hao (Artemisia annua) is due to the sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin which is active against Plasmodium falciparum (). Another sesquiterpene lactone, absinthin, is the bitter tasting principle found in Artemisia absinthium formerly used to produce an alcolohic beverage called “absinth”. In addition to sesquiterpene lactones volatile terpenoids that constitute the so called essential oils are also characteristic metabolites of Artemisia species. Read more […]

Akar Putarwali, Batang Wali

Tinospora crispa (L.) Diels (Menispermaceae) Tinospora crispa (L.) Diels is a woody climber with numerous protrusions on the stem. Leaves are oblong-ovate, cordate, 8-9 cm by 7-8 cm and tapering to a pointed end. Flowers are small, with 6 petals, 2 mm in length and 8-27 cm racemes. Male flowers have yellow sepals whereas female flowers have green sepals. Drupelets are red, juicy and 7-8 mm long. Origin Native to Malesia, Indochina, Indian subcontinent and China. Phytoconstituents Boropetol B, borapetoside B, C & F, jatrorhizine, magnoflorine, palmatine, protoberberine, tembolarine, diosmetin, cycloeucalenol, cycloeucalenone and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses It is used for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, to treat malaria, remedy for diarrhoea and as vermifuge. In Malaysia, T. crispa extract is taken orally by Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients to treat hyperglycaemia. Pharmacological Activities Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antimalarial, Antiprotozoal and Hypoglycaemic. Dosage No information as yet. Adverse Reactions The plant may result in an increased risk of hepatic dysfunction due to marked elevation of liver enzymes but is reversible upon discontinuation of T. crispa. Toxicity No Read more […]

Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum)

Medical Uses Fenugreek has been used to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics and to lower high cholesterol and blood lipid levels. It has also been used to increase fiber in the diet, to reduce inflammation, and to aid digestion. And it has been used for bronchitis and loss of appetite. Historical Uses In folklore, fenugreek was said to stimulate milk production and increase appetite. It has been used traditionally to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. In India it has been used as a condiment. Growth This annual plant grows in the Mediterranean region. Fenugreek: Part Used • Seeds Major chemical compounds • Steroidal saponins • Mucilage • Alkaloid trigonelline • Flavonoids Fenugreek: Clinical Uses Fenugreek has been used to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics, to increase fiber in the diet, to reduce inflammation, and to aid digestion. It has also been used for hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia, bronchitis, and loss of appetite. It is approved by the German Commission E for “loss of appetite and external use as a poultice for inflammation”. Mechanism of Action Fenugreek contains soluble fiber that indirectly decreases blood glucose. Its anti-inflammatory and Read more […]

Soy (Glycine max)

Soy: Medical Uses Soy is used for high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and menopausal symptoms and is also used for its anticancer effects and prevention of osteoporosis. Historical Uses In China, soy is valued highly and has been called one of the five sacred grains. Growth Soy is a subtropical plant that is now cultivated in temperate regions. The plant grows from 1 to 5 feet tall. Part Used • Seed (soybean) Major Chemical Compounds • Genistein, a major isoflavone in soy and a weak estrogen • Daidzein, another isoflavone Soy: Clinical Uses Soy is used to treat high cholesterol (, diabetes mellitus, and menopausal symptoms and is also used for its anticancer effects and prevention of osteoporosis. Labels approved by the Food and Drug Administration state that soy may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Soy is approved by the German Commission E for mild hypercholesterolemia. Soy products containing isoflavones may provide a viable alternative to hormones for maintaining bone density and protecting against cardiovascular diseases, especially for postmenopausal women who choose to not take hormone replacement therapy. Japanese people consume an average of 7 to Read more […]

Echinacea (E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida)

Echinacea: Medical Uses Echinacea is used for the common cold, infections, and low immune status. It is given with antibiotics and chemotherapy and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Historical Uses Native Americans and Eclectic physicians used echinacea as a natural anti-infective for colds and flu. Native Americans first introduced echinacea to the colonists. Growth There are nine species of echinacea. This perennial will grow in most herb gardens in the northeast. The beautiful flower of E. purpurea, commonly called “purple cone-flower,” may grow up to 6 feet tall. E. angustifolia has narrow leaves and is much shorter, at about 2 feet. It has pink flowers. E. pallida grows to about 3 feet and is much paler. All three species have been cultivated in the U.S. and Europe. E. angustifolia is listed as an at-risk endangered herb. Parts Used • Aerial (above-ground) parts • Whole plant and root Major Chemical Compounds • Alkylamides • Caffeic acid derivatives • Cichoric acid • Polysaccharides • Glycoproteins Not all active chemical compounds are found in each species of echinacea. Mechanism of Action Alkylamides, which cause a tingling sensation on the tongue, produce anti-inflammatory Read more […]

Vulvovaginitis And Common Vaginal Infections

The normal vaginal environment is a dynamic milieu with a constantly changing balance of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other endogenous flora, glycogen, estrogen, pH, and metabolic byproducts of flora and pathogens. L. acidophilus produces hydrogen peroxide that limits the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Disturbances in the vaginal environment can allow the proliferation of vaginitis-causing organisms. The term vulvovaginitis actually encompasses a variety of inflammatory lower genital tract disorders that may be secondary to infection, irritation, allergy, or systemic disease. Vulvovaginitis is the most common reason for gynecologic visits, with over 10 million office visits for vaginal discharge annually. It is usually characterized by vaginal discharge, vulvar itching and irritation, and sometimes vaginal odor. Up to 90% of vaginitis is secondary to bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), and trichomoniasis. The actual prevalence and causes of vaginitis, however, are hard to gauge because of the frequency of self-diagnosis and self-treatment. In one survey of 105 women with chronic vaginal symptoms, 73% had self-treated with OTC products and 42% had used alternative therapies. On self-assessment, Read more […]

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis

Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), commonly referred to as yeast infection, is the second most common cause of vaginitis in the United States. Approximately 75% of all women will experience an episode of VVC in their lifetime, with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis occurring in 5% of women. It is most commonly caused by the fungus Candida albicans; however, other Candida species, such as C. tropicalis and C. glabrata are becoming increasingly common, possibly because of increased use of OTC anti-fungals, and they are also typically more resistant to antifungal treatments. OTC antifungal treatments are among the top 10 selling OTC medications in the United States with an estimated $250 in annual sales. Establishing Candida as a cause of vaginitis can be difficult, because 50% of all women have Candida organisms as part of their normal vaginal flora. Candida is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, and conventional medical practice does not include treatment of male partners unless uncircumcised or presenting with inflammation of the glans penis. recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is defined as four or more episodes annually. Recurrence may be a result of associated factors, intestinal microorganism reservoir, Read more […]

Vulvovaginitis: The Botanical Practitioner’s Perspective

Research and clinical experience indicate that women commonly seek OTC and alternative therapies for the treatment of vaginal infections and vulvovaginitis (Table Botanical Treatment Strategies for Vulvovaginitis). In one study, 105 patients, with a mean age of 36 years, and 50% with college degrees, referred by their gynecologists for evaluation of chronic vaginal symptoms, were interviewed about their OTC and alternative medicine use in the preceding year, it was found that 73% of patients had self-treated with OTC antifungal medications or povidone-iodine douching and 42% had tried alternative therapies including acidophilus pills orally (50%) or vaginally (11.4%), yogurt orally (20.5%) or vaginally (18.2%), vinegar douches (13.6%), and boric acid (13.6%). Botanical Treatment Strategies for Vulvovaginitis Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Eliminate / reduce infection Antimicrobial Allium sativum Garlic Arctostaphylos uva ursi Uva ursi Berberis aquifolium Oregon grape Calendula officinalis Calendula Coptis chinensis Goldthread Clycyrrhiza glabra Licorice Hydrastis canadensis Goldenseal Melaleuca alternifolia Tea tree Origanum Read more […]

Wormwood: Bitters

By Cullen’s time the bitters were acknowledged as a particular group of plants with specific actions. Cullen lectured on their capacities under both bitters and tonics, and he divides the bitters into hot and cold, amara calida and amara frigida, wormwood, of course counting among the calida. Bitters are seldom simple, he says, but combined with other qualities. More recently Schulz et al (1998) differentiate simple, aromatic, astringent and acrid types. ‘Proper tonics are bitters’ Cullen says. His appraisal both encompasses the applications we have met through the tradition above, other uses from the past to be covered below, and anticipate our modern conception of their bitter actions. On the common qualities he discusses, he offers his own experience, which does not always corroborate the general claim. The ‘common qualities’ include: 1. action on the stomach; increasing appetite for food and promoting digestion of it, the improvement depending upon an increase in tone of the muscular fibres, hence ‘restoring tone to that organ’; correcting acidity and flatulence, checking fermentation, and relieving the stomach from abundant mucus or phlegm. This improved state, communicated to other parts of the system improve Read more […]


The Role Of Herbs In The Prevention And Treatment Of Miscarriage Miscarriage, medically referred to as spontaneous abortion, is the spontaneous, unexpected, and often unexplained loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. Miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication; however, the exact incidence is unknown because the actual incidence of conception in the population is uncertain. One in seven clinically recognized pregnancies will miscarry, and in studies of women attempting to conceive, spontaneous abortion occurs in 10% to 15% of conceptions. Based on studies of pregnancies achieved through assisted reproductive technologies, 50% of conceptions result in miscarriage. Miscarriage rate is related to maternal age, with rates under 2% for women under 30 years of age, and between 5% and 10% for women more than 40 years old. Miscarriage rates decline to less than 3% if there is a healthy fetus present at 8 weeks gestation (as visible upon ultrasonogram) in healthy women. Note: The term fetus is used throughout this chapter; however, the term embryo is the technically correct developmental term for any baby less than or equal to 8 weeks of gestation. Although miscarriage may occasionally be welcome in Read more […]