Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.)

Large cardamom or Nepal cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) is a spice cultivated in the sub-Himalayan region of north-eastern India, especially in Sikkim since time immemorial. In the past the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim, Lepchas, collected capsules of large cardamom from natural forest, but later on these forests passed into village ownership and the villagers started cultivation of large cardamom. The presence of wild species, locally known as churumpa, and the variability within the cultivated species supports the view of its origin in Sikkim (). Later the cultivation has spread to northern Uttar Pradesh, north-eastern States of India (Arunachal Pradesh, Mizorum and Manipur), Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkim is the largest producer of large cardamom; the annual production in India is about 3500–4000 mt of cured Large cardamom. The average productivity is 100–150 kg/ha, but in well-maintained plantations the productivity reaches 1000–2000 kg/ha. Nepal and Bhutan are the other two countries cultivating this crop with an annual production of about 1500 mt. This spice is used in Ayurvedic preparation in India as mentioned by Susruta in the sixth century BC and also known among Greeks and Romans as Amomum (Ridley, 1912). Read more […]

Artemisia Absinthium L.

Artemisia absinthium L. is a member of the family Compositae (Asteraceae) and is known by the common names wormwood (UK), absinthe (France) and wermut (Germany). The name Artemisia is derived from the Goddess Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have discovered the plant’s virtues, while absinthium comes from the Greek word apinthion meaning “undrinkable”, reflecting the very bitter nature of the plant. The plant is also known by a number of synonyms which include: Absinthium, Wermutkraut, Absinthii Herba, Assenzio, Losna, Pelin, Armoise, Ajenjo and Alsem. The herb is native to warm Mediterranean countries, usually found growing in dry waste places such as roadsides, preferring a nitrogen-rich stoney and hence loose soil. It is also native to the British Isles and is fairly widespread. Wormwood has been naturalised in northeastern North America, North and West Asia and Africa. Brief Botanical Description The stem of this shrubby perennial herb is multibranched and firm, almost woody at the base, and grows up to 130 cm in height. The root stock produces many shoots which are covered in fine silky hairs, as are the leaves. The leaves themselves are silvery grey, 8 cm long by 3 cm broad, abundantly pinnate Read more […]

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Medical Uses Goldenseal is used for infections of the mucous membranes, digestive disorders, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, and traveler’s diarrhea. It has been used to treat streptococcus, staphylococcus, and bacterial vaginosis. Goldenseal’s major constituent (berberine) has also been effective in treating candidiasis (yeast infections). Scientists have disproved the rumor that goldenseal masks morphine in urine testing. Historical Uses Sometimes called “poor man’s ginseng,” goldenseal was discovered by Cherokee Indians who used it for eyewashes, acne, and eczema. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations cites goldenseal as one of the best-selling herbs internationally. It is very bitter. Growth Goldenseal is found in wooded areas in eastern North America, but it is endangered because of overharvesting. The plant prefers moist soil and shade. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Alkaloids of berberine and hydrastine Goldenseal: Clinical Uses Goldenseal is used for infections of the mucous membranes, digestive disorders, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, and traveler’s diarrhea. It has been used to treat streptococcus, staphylococcus, and bacterial vaginosis. Werbach Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Of Chronic Pelvic Pain: Anti-inflammatories

Dong Quai Dong quai possesses antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory antioxidant, uterine tonic, as well as specific immunomodulatory effects (see Plant Profiles). Immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects have been attributed to isolated ferulic acid. It has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine for the treatment of “blood vacuity” and “blood stasis,” which may be considered related tochronic pelvic pain. Evening Primrose Oil It is thought that the use of evening primrose oil (evening primrose oil), with its high gamma linoleic acid content, may preferentially promote the synthesis of anti-inflammatory prostaglandin series over inflammatory prostaglandins. One critical review of the effects of evening primrose oil for the treatment of PMS concluded that there was no benefit. However, in a study of women (n = 40) who experienced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) just prior to and at the onset of menstruation, 53% reported an improvement in symptoms, whereas no improvement was seen in the placebo group. Improvement generally took 2 to 3 months to become apparent. Blood analysis at the beginning and end of treatment revealed significant improvement in fatty acid imbalances in the evening primrose Read more […]

Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Nymphaeaceae) Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotus, Oriental Lotus Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow waters. Leaves are green, round, 30-60 cm across and with long petiole. Flowers are pink, white or red, 10-30 cm and solitary. Fruits are non-edible and non-fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. Phytoconstituents Nuciferin, nornuciferin, nelumboroside A & B, nelumstemine, dotriacontane, ricinoleic, roemerin, liensinine, neferine, lotusine, liriodenine, asimilobin, pronuciferine and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The leaves are used to treat sunstroke, diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, dizziness and vomiting of blood. The plant is used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning and for smallpox. In Ayurveda, the plant is used to treat cholera, diarrhoea, worm infestation, vomiting, exhaustion and intermittent fever. The fruits are used in decoction for agitation, fever, heart and haematemesis while the stamens are used to “purify the heart, permeate the kidneys, strengthen virility, to blacken the hair, for haemoptysis and spermatorrhoea”. They are also used to treat premature ejaculation, as astringent for bleeding, Read more […]

Plantago major

Plantago major L. (Plantaginaceae) Common Plantain, Whiteman’s Foot, Daun Sejumbok Plantago major L. is a small perennial herb. Leaves are nearly all basal, exstipulate, lanceolate to ovate, 5-20 cm long and rosette. Flowers are small, white, in dense spike-like inflorescence. Sepals are broadly elliptic, oblong to rounded obtuse or subacute and corolla are greenish or yellowish, with four lobed and imbricate. Seeds are dull black and endospermous. Origin It is found in Europe, Northern and Central Asia, and introduced all over the world. Phytoconstituents Aucubin, catalpol, scutellarein, nepetin, chloro genie acid, neochlorogenic acid, hispidulin, homoplantaginin, nepitrin, ursolic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The Greeks and Romans used it as an astringent, to heal wounds, asthma, fever and eye disorders. In Brazil, it has been used to treat skin ulceration (cutaneous leishmaniasis) caused by Leishmania braziliensis.l] P. major has been used in Turkey in the treatment of ulcers by taking the powdered dried leaves together with honey daily before breakfast. Infusion of the leaf has been taken for diarrhoea, ulcers, bloody urine, digestive disorders, and excess mucous discharge. The American Indian Read more […]

Basil: Current Views

Looking for references to basil in more current texts, the herbals which do not mention it are far greater in number than those which do. Bairacli Levy (1966) is fascinated by the herb and recommends it for culinary use, as an insecticide and as a powerful tonic stimulant and nerve remedy. It is advised for nausea, severe vomiting and indigestion, as well as topically for snake and spider bites and scorpion stings. Schauenberg & Paris (1977) list the infusion of the entire dried plant as a gastric antispasmodic, carminative and galactogogue. Ody (1993) has a more extensive monograph, listing the actions of basil as antidepressant, antiseptic and tonic, stimulating the adrenal cortex and preventing vomiting, while acting as a carminative, febrifuge and expectorant. She proposes several combinations: as a tincture with wood betony and skullcap for nervous conditions, or with elecampane Inula helenium and hyssop Hyssopus officinalis for coughs and bronchitis; as a juice mixed with honey in a syrup for coughs, or the juice in a decoction of cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum and cloves Syzygium aromaticum for chills. Topically, it can be mixed with honey for ringworm and itching skin or the fresh herb can be rubbed on Read more […]

Astringency

Recent authors identify agrimony as a topical astringent for wounds, ulcers and sore throats and an astringent, bitter tonic, indicated for gastrointestinal and urinary problems such as indigestion, diarrhoea and colitis, urinary tract infections, enuresis and incontinence and kidney and bladder gravel. Because of its gentleness it is particularly suitable for children and the elderly. These indications are largely represented in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (1983): a mild astringent for diarrhoea in children, mucous colitis and grumbling appendicitis; a diuretic for cystitis and kidney stones; and external use as a gargle for acute sore throat and chronic nasopharyngeal catarrh. Agrimony has also been used in France for venous insufficiency and heavy legs, and for haemorrhoids. Among the German authors, Schulz et al (1998) suggest agrimony only for mild, transient forms of diarrhoea and inflammations of the oropharyngeal mucosa, while Weiss specifies its use in chronic cholecystopathies with gastric subacidity, but requiring consistent use for some time to achieve success. Williamson references research indicating anti-diabetic activity, lending weight to the claim of Hool and Robinson 100 years earlier. Hoffmann Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cinnamon

Cinnamomum cassia Blume and Cinnamomum verum J. Presl. and its varieties (Lauraceae) Synonym(s) and related species Cinnamomum cassia: Cassia, Chinese cinnamon, False cinnamon, Cassia lignea, Cinnamomum aromaticum Nees, Cinnamomum pseudomelastoma auct. non Liao. Cinnamomum verum: Canela, Ceylon cinnamon, Cinnamomum burmannii (Nees & T. Nees) Bl. (known as Batavian cinnamon or Panang cinnamon), Cinnamomum loureiroi Nees, Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees., Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume. Pharmacopoeias Cassia Oil (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Cinnamon (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Cinnamon Tincture (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The bark of Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum verum contains volatile oil mainly composed of trans-cinnamaldehyde, with cinnamylacetate, phenylpropylacetate, salicylaldehyde and methyleugenol. Diterpenes including cinncassiols, and tannins such as cinnamtannins, are also present. Use and indications Both varieties of cinnamon are mainly used for digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cranberry

Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton (Ericaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Large cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is the cultivated species. European cranberry or Mossberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus) has also been used. Pharmacopoeias Cranberry Liquid Preparation (The United States Ph 32). Constituents The berries contain anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins (mainly oligomers of epicatechin), and organic acids including malic, citric, quinic and benzoic acids. Note that, although salicylic acid does not appear as a constituent of the juice in many cranberry monographs, some studies have shown low levels of salicylates in commercial cranberry juice (e.g. 7mg/L), which resulted in detectable plasma and urine levels of salicylic acid in women who drank 250 mL of cranberry juice three times daily. Use and indications The main use of cranberries and cranberry juice is for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections, although they have also been used for blood and digestive disorders. Cranberries are commonly used in food and beverages. Pharmacokinetics There is high absorption and excretion of cranberry anthocyanins in human urine, as shown by a study where 11 healthy subjects drank 200 mL of cranberry Read more […]