Gardenia jasminoides Ellis

Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (= G. grandiflora Lour.), a native of China and Indochina, is an ornamental and medicinal woody plant. This plant, belonging to the Rubiaceae, is an evergreen small shrub with white, solitary and fragrant flowers. The double-flowered form is usually used for ornamental purposes, while the single-flowered form is used as a medicinal plant, since the former does not bear fruits, a medicinally used organ. G. jasminoides, as well as its variety, G. jasminoides var. ovalifolia Nakai, is called gardenia and used as a garden tree in Europe and North America, and also as a pot plant in Greece. This plant was once called Cape jasmine in North America because of its fragrant flowers, which were popular for cutting. In China it is called Zhi-zi, and the dried fruits have been medicinally used for curing various inflammatory diseases including hepatitis and cystitis. The dried fruits of G. jasminoides and of its form, G. jasminoides f. grandiflora Makino, are called San-shi-shi in Japan and have been used as a dyestuff and an antiphlogistic, diuretic and haemostatic drug in Chinese traditional medicine. A demand for the fruits as food colouring has been rapidly increasing and currently more than 150 Read more […]

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS enhance the process of haemostasis, which is the arrest of blood loss from damaged blood vessels, and is essential to life. It involves three key components and their processes: platelets, blood vessels (the vascular endothelium and smooth muscle of the wall), and the blood-borne coagulation cascade system. To an extent, these components can be separated, but proper formation of the haemostatic plug in vivo requires interaction of all. For instance, blood coagulation in vitro is rapid and efficiently forms a clot as such, but it is not the same entity as the thrombus of platelets enmeshed in fibrin that constitutes the functional haemostatic plug which is required in haemostasis to prevent haemorrhage. Similarly, in vivo, in a patient with a deficiency of platelets, there may be spontaneous bleeding giving a purple coloration in the skin (thrombocytopenic purpurea); though the clotting time of the blood is unchanged, the bleeding time is prolonged. The processes involved in formation of fibrin are described in more detail at ANTITHROMBINS and ANTICOAGULANTS. Briefly, some agents are direct-acting thrombin antagonists, binding avidly to this enzyme and thus preventing the key stage in blood coagulation Read more […]

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS help in the dissolution of thrombi or blood clots. Some agents used clinically are versions of endogenous agents, and others are agents foreign to the body, with a number of modes of action. Blood coagulation involves the conversion of fluid blood to a solid gel or a clot. The formation of a clot helps in the process of haemostasis (see HAEMOSTATICS). The formation of fibrin filament, together with the adhesion and activation of platelets, helps form the haemostatic plug, which serves to block the damaged blood vessel wall. The actual elements of the clot, insoluble strands of fibrin, are the end-product of a cascade largely involving serine protease enzymes, notably thrombin, and blood-borne proteins. A thrombus is the unwanted formation of a haemostatic plug in blood vessels, often within the veins or arteries of the heart, commonly in pathological conditions associated with arterial disease or where there is stasis. Pieces of the thrombus may break off and form an embolism, which may lodge in vessels in the lungs or brain causing damage to the tissues supplied. Thrombolytic drugs are able actually to dissolve thrombi. In contrast, neither antiplatelet drugs nor anticoagulants are necessarily Read more […]

ENZYMES

ENZYMES can be used in therapeutics, though in general there are difficulties in delivering them to their proposed sites of action. There are commonly serious side-effects, normally immune reactions. There have been repeated attempts to use proteolytic enzymes in therapeutics to supplement deficiencies within the gastrointestinal tract, and necessarily there are difficulties in administering such enzymes without erosion of the mouth and upper digestive tract. Some notes follow on enzymes currently used. Anistreplase is a plasminogen streptokinase activator used as a fibrinolytic agent in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Crisantaspase (asparaginase) is an enzyme isolated from E. coli, which is thought to have some activity as an anticancer and antileukaemic agent. Batroxobin from snake venom is a serine protease and with its thrombin-like enzyme it is a haemostatic and defibrinogenating agent, and can be used in peripheral arterial circulatory disorders. Cellulase is a concentrate of cellulose-splitting (cellulytic) enzymes isolated from Aspergillus niger. It can be given by mouth, in combination with other digestive enzymes, to aid digestion. Chymopapain is a proteolytic enzyme isolated from Carica papaya, Read more […]

White Deadnettle: Modern Use

Modern texts, if the herb appears in them at all, mainly limit themselves to white deadnettle, but vary quite widely in their range of applications. Chevallier cites Gerard on lifting the spirits but restricts his internal uses mainly to women’s complaints. It is, he says, astringent and demulcent, used as a uterine tonic, to stop intermenstrual bleeding and menorrhagia; traditionally for vaginal discharge; sometimes taken to relieve painful periods. It can be taken against diarrhoea and externally used for varicose veins and haemorrhages. Wood cites Hill, Weiss and a 19th century UK herbalist who records the familiar traditional uses of helping the spleen, whites, flooding, nose bleeds, spitting blood, haemorrhages, green wounds, bruises and burns. The source of some of his specific indications ― cough, bronchitis, pleurisy, inflamed prostate, anaemia -is unclear, given his text. Menzies-Trull covers a broad range of uses, although there is no specific discussion of them. Bartram too gives a broad sweep, designating the flowering tops haemostatic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antispasmodic and menstrual regulator, with uses including heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, cystitis, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Horsetail

Equisetum arvense L. (Equisetaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Equisetum. The related species Equisetum hyemale L. has also been used, but note that standardised pharmacopoeial preparations of horsetail should contain no more than 5% of other Equisetum species. Pharmacopoeias Equisetum Stem (Ph Eur 6.04); Horsetail (British Pharmacopoeia 2009). Constituents Horsetail contains high concentrations of silicic acid, up to 8%, and is sometimes used as an organic source of silicon. It also contains flavonoids such as apigenin, kaempferol, luteolin and quercetin and their derivatives, and may be standardised to the total flavonoid content expressed as isoquercitroside. Other polyphenolic compounds such as caffeic acid derivatives, and trace amounts of the alkaloid nicotine, and sterols including cholesterol, isofucosterol and campesterol, are also present. Horsetail also contains thiaminase (an enzyme that breaks down thiamine), and this is inactivated in some supplements. Use and indications Horsetail is used mainly as an astringent, haemostatic and anti-inflammatory agent, and for urinary tract complaints such as cystitis, prostatitis, urethritis and enuresis. There is little pharmacological, and no clinical, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Flavonoids

Bioflavonoids The flavonoids are a large complex group of related compounds, which are widely available in the form of dietary supplements, as well as in the herbs or foods that they are originally derived from. They are the subject of intensive investigations and new information is constantly being published. You may have come to this monograph via a herb that contains flavonoids. Note that the information in this general monograph relates to the individual flavonoids, and the reader is referred back to the herb (and vice versa) where appropriate. It is very difficult to confidently predict whether a herb that contains one of the flavonoids mentioned will interact in the same way. The levels of the flavonoid in the particular herb can vary a great deal between specimens, related species, extracts and brands, and it is important to take this into account when viewing the interactions described below. Types, sources and related compounds Flavonoids are a very large family of polyphenolic compounds synthesised by plants that are common and widely distributed. With the exception of the flavanols (e.g. catechins) and their polymers, the proanthocyanidins, they usually occur naturally bound to one or more sugar molecules Read more […]

Dong quai: Background. Actions

Historical Note Dong quai is an aromatic herb commonly used in TCM. Its reputation is second to that of ginseng and is regarded as a ‘female’ remedy, or women’s ginseng. Used in combination with other herbs, dong quai is used to treat numerous menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms, as well as abdominal pain, migraine headache, rheumatism and anaemia. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is closely related to the European Angelica archangelica, a common garden herb and the flavouring in Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs. Common Name Dong quai Other Names Chinese angelica, dang gui, women’s ginseng, tang kuei Botanical Name / Family Angelica sinensis (synonym: Angelica polymorpha sinensis) (family Apiaceae [Umbelliferae] — carrot family) Plant Part Used Root Chemical Components Dong quai contains essential oil (0.4-0.7%) consisting of 45% ligustilide, n-butylphthalide, cadinene, carvacrol, safrole and isosafrol. The root also contains sucrose (40%) and various lactonesand vitamins, together with phytosterols, ferulic acid and coumarins, including osthole, psoralen and bergapten. Ferulic acid and ligustilide are considered to be the main active components and it has been suggested that assessment of total Read more […]

ANTICOAGULANTS

ANTICOAGULANTS are agents that prevent the clotting of blood. Blood coagulation involves the conversion of fluid blood to a solid gel or a clot. The formation of a clot contributes to the process of haemostasis (see HAEMOSTATICS). The formation of fibrin filament, together with the adhesion and activation of platelets, helps form the haemostatic plug, which serves to block the damaged blood vessel wall. The actual elements of the clot, insoluble strands of fibrin, are the end-product of a cascade largely involving serine protease enzymes, notably thrombin, and blood-borne proteins. A thrombus is the generally unwanted formation of a haemostatic plug or thrombus within blood vessels, often within the veins or arteries of the heart, commonly in pathological conditions associated with arterial disease or where there is stasis. The formation of a thrombus occurs only in vivo (unlike blood clots which can form in vitro). Pieces of the thrombus may break off and form an embolism, which may lodge in vessels in the lungs or brain, causing damage to the tissues supplied. Thrombolytic drugs are able to dissolve thrombi (see FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS), whereas antiplatelet drugs are not thrombolytic drugs but diminish the adhesion of Read more […]