Strophanthus Species (Members of the Dogbane Family)

The cardiac glycosides are pharmaceutically potential drug groups that are available to medicine today for the treatment of congestive heart failure. Clinically availabilities are derived from the leaves and seeds of plant in the genera Digitalis and Strophanthus. In vitro culture, regeneration, and production of Digitalis (foxglove) cardenolides and other secondary metabolites were reviewed in detail (). Strophanthus, belonging to the family Apocynaceae (the dogbane family), is from the Greek meaning “a turn or twist” and “a flower” and refers to the twisted lobes of the corolla. About 40 species of Strophanthus native to Africa and Asia, chiefly tropical, are perennial trees, shrubs or climbers up to 3 m tall. The leaves are feathery or leathery and opposite. The cymose inflorescence is terminal. Members of this genus have a variety of fragrant flowers, ranging in color from white, through the yellows and reds, to purple. The calyxes is glandular, the corolla funnel-shaped, with five lobes tapering into attenuated, long tails. The two carpeled ovaries develop into capsular fruits having two diverging free follicles, which enclose the hairy seeds. Strophanthus seeds have long been used by the native Africans in Read more […]

Coleus spp.

The Genus Coleus More than 300 species belong to the genus Coleus, a member of the family Lamiaceae. Coleus species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Australia, the East Indies, the Malay Archipelago, and the Philippines. Some species, especially those with showy colorful foliage, are grown as ornamentals all over the world. In India, tubers of some Coleus species, namely, C. tuberosus and C. forskohlii, are eaten as vegetables and pickles, leaves of other Coleus species (e.g. C. amboinicus) are used as spices. Preparations from several Coleus species are used in Ayurvedic medicine in India, e.g., preparations from C. amboinicus are active against skin problems and worms. Other preparations from Coleus are traditionally used against heart diseases, abdominal colic, respiratory disorders, painful micturition, insomnia, and convulsions. The genus Coleus was first described by de Loureiro in 1790. The name Coleus is derived from the Greek work koleos, which means sheath. This relates to a typical characteristic of Coleus, where the four filaments fuse at the bottom to form a sheath around the style (de Loureiro 1790). Plants of the genus Coleus grow as herbaceous perennials, subshrubs, and low Read more […]

Yellow Oleander, Trumpet Flower

Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. (Apocynaceae) Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. is a shrub, up to 6 m tall. All parts contain highly poisonous milky latex. Leaves are simple, few, exstipulate and spirally arranged. Blade is linear, 7-13 cm by 0.5-1 cm and glossy. Flowers are large, yellow, 5 cm across, gathered in few flowered terminal cymes. Fruits are green, shiny, globose, 4-5.5 cm across with 4 or less poisonous seeds. Origin Native to Central and South America. Phytoconstituents Thevetins A and B, thevetosides, acetylperuvoside, epipemviol, perusitin, theveneriin, thevebioside, thevefolin, pervianoside I-III and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Used as an abortifacient, to treat congestive heart failure, malaria, leprosy, indigestion, ringworm, venereal disease and even as a suicide instrument. Used in India as an astringent to the bowel, useful in urethral discharge, worms, skin diseases, wounds, piles, eye problems and itch. Used in continental Europe and is considered particularly useful in mild myocardial insufficiency and digitalis intolerance. Its bark is used as an emetic, febrifuge, insecticidal, poison and for reviving patients with heart failure. Pharmacological Activities Antiarrhythmic, Read more […]


DIURETICS are used to reduce fluid in the body by increasing the excretion of electrolytes by the kidney — so increasing urine production. They have an extensive use. Reducing oedema is, in itself, of benefit in some disorders, and diuretics may be used in acute pulmonary oedema, congestive heart failure, some liver and kidney disease, glaucoma and in certain electrolyte disturbances, such as hypercalcaemia and hyperkalcaemia. The commonest use of diuretics is in antihypertensive therapy, where their action of reducing oedema is of value in reducing the load on the heart, which then — over some days or weeks — gives way to a beneficial reduction in blood pressure (that seems associated with vasodilator action). See ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS. In relation to their specific actions and uses, diuretics can be divided into a number of distinct classes. Osmotic diuretics (e.g. mannitol, urea) are inert compounds that are secreted into the proximal tubules of the kidney, and are not reabsorbed, so carry salts and water with them into the urine. Loop diuretics (e.g. ethacrynic acid, bumetanide, frusemide) have a vigorous action on the ascending tubules of the loop of Henle (inhibiting resorption of sodium and water, Read more […]

Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases constitute one of the major causes of disability and death all over the world. Increased mechanisation, Westernisation of lifestyle and genetic factors, coupled with an increase in life expectancy owing to control of infectious diseases, have contributed to its rise in the developing world as well. Despite remarkable advances in the identification of various risk factors and our enhanced knowledge regarding the aetiopathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and molecular targeting for drug development, effective drug management of cardiovascular diseases still eludes medical researchers. There continues to be an unmet need for better and safer drugs to treat as well as to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In this regard, it is important to remember that many of the cardiovascular diseases are preventable, either by lifestyle modification and/or by drugs. The past few decades have witnessed the introduction of a remarkable number of not only new drugs, but also new classes of drugs, for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. These include calcium-channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, various hypolipidaemic agents, and various antiplatelet Read more […]

Endometriosis: Conventional Treatment Approaches

Medical treatment of endometriosis includes both pharmaceutical and surgical approaches. Pharmaceutical treatments provide only suppression of the disease; they do not exact a cure. Decisions regarding treatment are based on endometriosis severity and staging, symptom picture, and ultimately, the woman’s needs and goals, for example, desire for children in the future. For women experiencing mild symptoms (or none) and for women who are close to menopause, the appropriate treatment may be to do nothing. For women with mild to moderate symptoms, and those who desire pregnancy, the appropriate pharmacologic therapy should be considered, and if necessary, can be combined with conservative surgery. It should be noted that, in spite of medical treatment, endometriosis has a high recurrence rate of 5% to 20% unless total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy are performed. With pharmacologic interventions, pain typically resumes upon cessation of medications, although initially with pain that is less intense than prior to treatment. Pain relief, pregnancy rates, and recurrence rates are similar with all treatment methods. The goal of pharmaceutical treatment is to interrupt patterns of endometrial stimulation and bleeding. Read more […]

Diseases of the Cardiovascular System

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System Formulas For Cardiovascular Conditions Strategy Implement appropriate lifestyle changes and appropriate diet. Monitor patients regularly, particularly if herbs are used as the sole treatment for early cases or if the patients are on conventional medication. Doses can be adjusted upwards if changes of less than 20% have been observed per week. The doses of conventional medicines may need to be reviewed 1 to 2 weeks after beginning treatment with herbs. It is assumed that conventional medicines will be used for diagnosed cardiac disease, whenever good evidence exists for efficacy. In most cases these formulas provide adjunctive care. The formulas below can be made as per the recipe or adapted from other recipes according to patient needs. They are formulated to allow substitution. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Astragalus: Immune-enhancing, tonic, cardiotonic, nephroprotective, diuretic, hypotensive; 1 part. Bugleweed: Cardioactive, diuretic, reduced heart rate, sedative, thyroxine antagonist; 1 part. Motherwort: Sedative, antispasmodic, cardiac tonic; 1 part. Ginkgo: PAF inhibitor, antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, cognitive enhancer; 1 part. Dandelion Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System

Herbs considered important for the cardiovascular system are classified according to traditional actions of cardioactive, cardioprotective, cardiotonic, and circulatory stimulants. Anticoagulants are a more modern application of herbs to cardiovascular disease and nervines and diuretic herbs are traditionally included in formulas. The diseases that are indicated for these herbs include cardiomyopathy (dilatative and hypertrophic), congestive heart failure / valvular disease, heartworm disease, and hypertension. Cardioactive herbs Cardioactive herbs are some of the most potentially toxic herbs. Many of these contain cardioactive glycosides such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which are ionotropic and lead to a more efficient and coordinated cardiac contraction. Perhaps the most useful from a veterinary perspective is Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus, L. virginicus). It does not contain cardiac glycosides but is still cardioactive. L. virginicus was recognized by the early Eclectics as an excellent sedative with properties similar to digitalis but without adverse side effects. L. europaeus may have applications in feline hyperthyroidism as well as cardiovascular disease. L. Read more […]

Stress: Ginseng

Ginseng (Panax ginseng; Panax quinquefolius) Ginseng species include Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius, Asian and American ginseng, respectively. Panax notoginseng and Panax pseudoginseng are also ginsengs but are not discussed here. Eleutherococcus sentico-sus, formerly referred to as Siberian ginseng, is not, in fact, a ginseng. White and red ginsengs are both forms of Panax ginseng, white being unprocessed, and the red having been steam prepared. In TCM, white and red ginseng are considered to have different actions, the former being much less stimulating, and the latter being used for deep deficiencies and to move the qi. Western herbalists consider American ginseng to be less heating and gentler than either Asian ginseng, especially compared with red ginseng. The word Panax is derived from the word panacea in deference to wide-ranging uses from immune support to energy enhancement to promotion of longevity. Ginsenosides are considered to be the pharmacologically active components of ginseng; however, as stated in Wichtl, “the theory for its use in traditional medicine cannot be explained based on the criteria of western rational medicine.” Chinese medicine has included ginseng in its pharmacopoeias for Read more […]

Stress: Licorice

Although licorice is sometimes categorized as an adaptogen, it does not strictly meet the criteria of one: Its actions are specific rather than nonspecific, and its use in certain patients in high doses or over a prolonged period is not always benign, and in fact can pose serious consequences. However, because of licorice’s action on the adrenal glands, as well as on several conditions associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction, it raises questions about the potential role of licorice in the prevention and treatment of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction, and merits mention in this section. Peptic ulcer was one of the first conditions ever to be associated with an overactive stress response. Interestingly, licorice extract has demonstrated efficacy against Helicobacter pylori, including against clarithromy-cin-resistant strains. Licorice studies have demonstrated its positive effects in treating viral infection, particularly those caused by herpes simplex virus, an active infection associated with increased stress. A recent study demonstrated that licorice root extract might even interfere with the latency of the herpes virus. Licorice components also have demonstrated the ability to modulate Read more […]