Quercus spp. (Oak)

The genus Quercus covers several hundred species and natural hybrids, distributed mainly over the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere (subgenus euquercus), as well as in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia (subgenus cyclobalanopsis). Oaks may be evergreen or deciduous trees, arborescent shrubs, or bushes. Their longevity often exceeds 400 years (). The different tissues of oak trees often accumulate large amounts of poly-phenols. These polyphenols are mainly tannins. The bark of Quercus robur and Quercus petraea in Europe (known as tan) (Meunier and Vaney 1903), and that of Quercus velutina and Quercus prinus in the United States (), were used on a large scale in the leather industry until the end of the last century. Bark, acorn cups, and galls from oaks, all rich in tannins, have been traditionally used in pharmacology for their astringent, hemostatic, and antiseptic properties. Tannic acid produced from galls of Quercus infectoria has been most commonly used; acorns from Quercus robur and galls from Quercus suber, as well as barks from both species, have also been used (). The main therapeutic applications of these tannins were externally to heal wounds, burns, dermatosis, hemorrhoids, etc., and Read more […]

Cornus officinalis

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc. (Japanese: San-shu-yu; Cornaceae) is a deciduous medium-sized tree, brought to Japan as a medicinal plant in the eighteenth century from China via Korea, and is cultivated as a garden tree because of its yellow flower () and red fruit (). The fruit (common name: cornus fruit) has also been used as an astringent, a tonic, and a hemostatic in these countries, particularly often as one of the ingredients in traditional prescriptions such as Hachimi-gan and Rokumi-gan in Japanese (the Chinese terms are ba-wei-wan and liu-wei-wan) which are popular tonics for preventing and improving symptoms of aging, including pollakiuria and cataract. Medicinal Components and Conventional Practices Several noteworthy biological activities of tannins have been recently reported (), and the fruit of Cornus officinalis is one of the rich sources of hydrolyzable tannins (). Generally, the majority of tannins are classified into two large groups of polyphenolic compounds: hydrolyzable tannins, which are metabolites of gallic acid; and condensed tannins, which are also called proanthocyanidins (). The former group of compounds is again classified into several groups: Read more […]

Cornus kousa (Dogwood)

The genus Cornus (family Cornaceae) consists of about 40 species, nearly all of which are native to the northern hemisphere. The name dogwood is a corruption of dagwood or dagger wood because the daggers (for skewering meat) were made from the wood of some sorts (another tradition also exists that the extract of the barks was used for the treatment of skin disease in dogs). Cornus plants, with flower clusters surrounded by large, spreading, petal-like bracts, have great decorative merit for garden and landscape trees. C. florida (eastern flowering dogwood) and C. nuttallii (western flowering dogwood) are especially popular trees in North America. Cornus kousa of Japan and Korea is also often used as a garden tree; the clusters of flowers and the brilliant red leaves in autumn look attractive under city conditions. The varieties C. kousa chinensis (from China), which is not botanically very distinct from the typical species, and C. kousa Milky Way, which blooms unusually freely, occur in Japan. C. capitata, whose four bracts turn yellow, often decorate the mountainside (evergreen forests) in the Himalayas. For medicinal use, C. offtcinalis Sieb. et Zucc, native to China, is often employed. The extract of the dried Read more […]

Uterine Fibroids: Botanical Treatment

Among Western herbalists specializing in gynecologic complaints, there is a common perception that although symptoms of uterine fibroids are not difficult to control with botanical medicines, and their growth can be arrested, they are difficult to eliminate entirely unless the fibroid is small at the onset of treatment (smaller than 12-week size). Many women are content to have symptom control over pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, as long as the fibroids present no mechanical problems. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has clearly defined diagnostic constructs, many herbal formulae, and well-developed adjunctive treatment protocols (e.g., acupuncture, moxibustion) for treating uterine fibroids and has claimed success in entirely eliminating uterine fibroids. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Uterine Fibroids Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Hormonal regulation; increase hormone biotransformation, conjugation, and improved elimination; displace with endogenous estrogen with estrogen receptor competitors. Cholagogues  Hepatic detoxification stimulants Berberis vulgaris  Camellia sinensis Chelidonium majus Hypericum perforation Schisandra Read more […]

Diseases of the Blood and Lymph

Herbs For Diseases Of The Blood And Lymph: Anemia And Chylothorax When herbalists think of chronic disease they often think of blood cleansers and blood purifiers; however, veterinarians and doctors immediately argue there is no such thing (apart from dialysis and chelation). Nevertheless, alteratives and depuratives are terms that were common in the early veterinary literature until the mid 1900s, and were defined as drugs that effected “gradual change and corrected the morbid condition of organs”. Herbalists still know them as blood cleansers and blood purifiers. These herbs improve metabolic processes and waste elimination, so they are often mild in action and may have laxative, cholagogue, or diuretic action. This is how they improve general health and it illustrates how these herbs may be thought of as cleansing or purifying. Herbs that have traditionally been used as alteratives include Burdock, Neem, Oregon grape, Barberry, Gotu kola, Fumitory, Cleavers, Blue flag, Yellow dock, Sarsaparilla, Red clover, and Heartsease. Alteratives should be considered in a formula for any chronic condition as a means of improving overall health from a traditional perspective. Blood tonics are another traditional category Read more […]