Artemisia Ludoviciana ssp. Mexicana (Estafiate)

Estafiate or iztauyatl (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana) is one of the most popular medicinal plants in Mexican phytotherapy and is nowadays used especially for gastrointestinal pain, as a vermifuge and as a bitter stimulant. The historical and modern uses of this species are reviewed. The first report of its medicinal use dates back to the 16th century, but at that time it was used for completely different illnesses. Only very limited pharmacological studies to evaluate these claims are available; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antihelmintic effects have been reported. The aerial parts contain a large number of sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids as well as essential oil which has not yet been studied in detail. Estafiate or iztauyatl (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana) is one of the most popular remedies in Mexican phytotherapy. It is frequently sold in markets in the cities and also grown in many house gardens (). It is thus a locally important economic product and a phytotherapeutic resource which requires documentation of its regional or national importance as well as evaluation and monitoring for efficacy and safety. Plants generally are an important medicinal resource to many people in Mexico and Read more […]

Artemisia vulgaris L.

Artemisia vulgaris L., most commonly known as Mugwort, is a species of wide distribution throughout Europe, Asia and north America. Several other common names are listed by Grieve and Bisset including Felon Herb, Wild Wormwood and St. John’s Plant, noting that the latter name should not be confused with St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum. The historical derivation of these names is suggested by Grieve, the herb having been used over many centuries. Most likely, the name “Mugwort” is linked with the plant’s use for flavouring beer prior to the modern use of hops (Humulus lupulus). Alternatively, Mugwort, may not relate to either drinking mugs or wort, but from “moughthe”, a moth or maggot since the plant has been thought to be useful in repelling moths. In the United Kingdom Artemisia vulgaris has received many local names. Grigson lists 24 names including Apple-Pie and Mugweed in Cheshire, Green Ginger and Smotherwood in Lincolnshire, Mugwood in Shropshire and Mugger in Scotland. Botany Habitat Mugwort is a hardy perennial common throughout temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It grows readily in hedgerows, roadsides, river banks and waste places such as rubbish tips. Clapham et al. () state that geographically Read more […]

Black Nightshade, Terong Meranti, Poison Berry

Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds. Origin Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan. Phytoconstituents Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The Read more […]

Primary Dysmenorrhoea

Primary dysmenorrhoea is caused by uterine contractions which are too strong and occur too frequently. Between the contractions, the uterine muscle does not relax properly, and there is an abnormally high ‘resting tone’. The overall effect is a reduction in the amount of blood flowing through the uterine muscle (ischaemia) which causes the pain known as primary dysmenorrhoea. The most usual cause of primary dysmenorrhoea is an imbalance in the prostaglandins levels. Prostaglandins are complex hormone-like substances found in most body tissues. There are many different types of prostaglandins which control bodily functions by working together as an integrated team. When the different types of prostaglandins are present in normal ratios, menstruation proceeds normally. An imbalance in the ratios in favour of the type of prostaglandins which increase muscle spasm will cause period pain. Their role in menstruation is complex and is discussed in ‘Prostaglandins’. The uterine tonics The uterine tonics, Aletris farinosa, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Angelica sinensis and Rubus idaeus, are used to treat pain because they are believed to regulate the muscular activity of the uterus and help initiate contractions which are Read more […]

Emmenagogue? Hormones?

Cullen notes a claimed, but to him unproven, emmenagogic action to the bitters. Wormwood is recorded with this property. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia does not record this action for wormwood, despite such a property in both the sister herbs, Artemisia abrotanum and Artemisia vulgaris. Indeed there is no strong modern tradition for its use in this regard, even when designated emmenagogue, other than cautions against its use in pregnancy, carried by all our modern authors. Mills & Bone expand the caution to association with foetal malformation, and contraindication in breast feeding. Only Bartram recommends its use for abnormal absence of periods and Menzies-Trull for atonic vaginal discharge and leucorrhoea. Mills (1991), together with strong cautions, mentions its use for spasmodic dysmenorrhoea and relief of pain in childbirth. Wood lists it for amenorrhoea, infertility, menstrual cramps and painful parturition but does not discourse further, and Barker (2001) records an anecdotal transient worsening of premenstrual tension symptoms in susceptible individuals, preferring different plants to bring on delayed periods. Beyond this there is little discussion. Past tradition is only a little more fulsome with its Read more […]

Vervain

Verbena officinalis, vervain Family: Verbenaceae Part used: aerial parts Verbena officinalis L. is a hardy, herbaceous perennial found in Eurasia, North and South America. It is found on rough grassland on dry soils. The Flora of Turkey gives two Verbena species, including Verbena officinalis. It forms an evergreen rosette which overwinters. Erect, hairy, woody, square stems (to 70 cm) bear opposite leaves with the lower leaves deeply lobed with serrated edges. Clusters of small pinkish lilac flowers with a two-lipped, five lobed tubular corolla occur on slender branched spikes in June to September. The calyx is long and tubular and the fruit contains four nutlets. A study carried out on waste ground the UK over 13 years found that population density depended on winter temperature in that plants died below -17°C, and summer temperature as seed germination required a temperature of above 19°C. Other species used Verbena hastata is a taller North American species that is easy to cultivate. It has bright green, larger, toothed leaves, a dark stem and branching flowerheads of blue flowers. It is discussed in American texts. Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla (syn. Lippia citriodora) is a half-hardy lemon scented Read more […]

Vervain Of The Americas

Where later writers have included any of the older indications, they are likely to have come from Culpeper. This includes Dioscorides’ indication for jaundice in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and references to lung conditions (Robinson 1868), but these are negligible compared to the importance of the descriptions by Coffin and Cook of the American Verbena hastata. Take vervain’s use in gynecology: Cook discusses vervain as a relaxant tonic with mild laxative effects indicated in recent obstructions of the menses, from which is derived an emmenogogue action and an indication of amenorrhoea (Priest & Priest, Bartram, Hoffmann), which has nothing to do with Culpeper’s original assertion, that vervain is a sympathetic remedy for the womb correcting all cold diseases of that organ. The relaxant effect becomes an anti-spasmodic action, useful in gall-bladder inflammation [British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Hoffmann), acute spasms of bronchitis and pertussis as well as dysmenorrhoea (Priest & Priest), seizures (Hoffmann) muscle spasm, neuritis and ear neuralgia (Menzies-Trull) and labour pains (Coffin). None of these writers mentions abdominal colic cited by the old Byzantine writers, or repeats Parkinson’s ‘all inward Read more […]

Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris Family: Asteraceae Part used: leaves, flowering tops Artemisia vulgaris L. is a vigorous, hardy, woody perennial found throughout Europe, although it is less common in the north. It is a commonplace weed in disturbed ground and waste places, where it forms dense stands. It is an aggressive weed in Canada, where it has spread rapidly as it propagates easily from small fragments of rhizome. The Flora of Turkey (Davis 1975) gives 22 Artemisia species, including Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia santonicum and Artemisia abrotanum. Erect, branched, ribbed reddish stems (50-180 cm high) bear alternate, stalked, pinnately lobed leaves, which are smooth and green on the upper side and white and downy beneath. Upper leaves are unstalked, entire and lanceolate. Dense, tapering panicles of inconspicuous, oval, rayless, reddish flowerheads (2-3 mm across) occur in July to September. Both leaves and flowerheads are very variable. Other species used Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus, southernwood Artemisia abrotanum. A study in Italy of 14 wild Artemisia species found similar volatile oils in all but wide variation in concentration. Artemisia abrotanum was the only species Read more […]

Zingiber officinale

Roscoe (Zingiberaceae) Common Ginger Description Zingiber officinale Roscoe is an herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m high and with an underground rhizome. The stem grows above ground and leaves are narrow, long, lanceolate, with distinct venation pattern and pointed apex. Flowers are white or yellowish-green, streaked with purple and fragrant. Origin Originate from tropical Asia, widely cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Gingerol, zingiberene, farnesene, camphene, neral, nerol, 1,8-cineole, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Ginger is the folk remedy for anaemia, nephritis, tuberculosis, and antidote to Arisaema and Pinellia. Sialogogue when chewed, causes sneezing when inhaled and rubefacient when applied externally. Antidotal to mushroom poisoning, ginger peel is used for opacity of the cornea. The juice is used as a digestive stimulant and local application in ecchymoses. Underground stem is used to treat stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, rheumatism, coughs, blood in stools, to improve digestion, expel intestinal gas, and stimulate appetite. The rhizomes are used to treat bleeding, chest congestion, cholera, cold, diarrhoea, dropsy, dysmenorrhoea, Read more […]

Agrimonia eupatoria

Agrimony Family: Rosaceae Part used: aerial parts Agrimonia eupatoria L. is a hardy, herbaceous perennial found throughout Europe in grassland and verges. The Flora of Turkey gives two Agrimonia species, including Agrimonia eupatoria. Erect, reddish, pubescent stems (50-150 cm high) bear alternate, pinnate, toothed leaves with velvety undersides with small pairs between larger pairs. There is a basal rosette of leaves. Bright yellow flowers with five small petals occur on long, slender spikes from June to September. Small, cone-shaped fruits are enclosed in a characteristic bristled calyx-tube. The hooked bristles enable widespread dispersal of seeds on animal fur. It also spreads vegetatively by stout, woody, deep-lying rhizomes. Other species used fragrant agrimony Agrimonia procera Wallr. syn. Agrimonia odorata, which is a larger plant with leaves green on both sides, pale yellow flowers and bell-shaped fruits. It has similar constituents but is scented. Agrimonia pilosa is used in China (WHO 1989). Quality Collect during or shortly before flowering (BHMA 1983). The Eupatorion Of Dioscorides Dioscorides (IV 41) describes agrimony under the title ‘eupatorion’, by which name it was known until the Linnaean Read more […]