Artemisia Species in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Discovery of Artemisinin

Qing hao-an antimalarial herb A herb, named Qing Hao (usually pronounced ching how) in Chinese, sweet Annie or sweet wormwood in English, and properly known as Artemisia annua L. has become well known in western countries during the last 20 years. Herbal companies, which deal with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), receive several inquiries concerning this herb every day. A. question commonly asked by those about to travel to Africa or S.E. Asia is “Can I take the herb called Qing Hao to prevent malaria during my trip?” Unfortunately, the answer has disappointed many people because although this herb is used for the treatment of malaria in TCM, usually combined with other herbs, it is not recommended for the prevention of the disease or as a deterrent to mosquitoes. However, the leaves of Qing Hao were burned as a fumigant insecticide to kill mosquitoes in ancient China but this practice no longer continues today since the development and marketing of more efficient mosquito-repellant devices. The discovery of artemisinin Qing Hao is a herb commonly used in China with a long history of use as an antipyretic to treat the alternate chill and fever symptoms of malaria and other “heat syndromes” in the traditional Chinese Read more […]

Pharmacology of Black Pepper

Many spices used in food seasoning have broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Their antioxidant activity against lipid peroxidation enhances the keeping quality of food. Apart from the use as a popular spice and flavouring substance, black pepper as drug in the Indian and Chinese systems of medicine is well documented. In the Ayurvedic descriptions, pepper is described as katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), usbnaveerya (potency, leading to storing up of energy, easy digestion, diaphoresis, thirst and fatigue), to subdue vatta (all the biological phenomena controlled by CNS and autonomic nervous system) and kapha (implies the function of heat regulation, and also formation of various preservative fluids like mucus, synovia etc. The main functions of kapha is to provide co-ordination of the body system and regularization of all biological activities). Pepper is described as a drug which increases digestive power, improves appetite, cures cold, cough, dyspnoea, diseases of the throat, intermittent fever, colic, dysentery, worms and piles; also useful in tooth ache, pain in liver and muscle, inflammation, leucoderma and epileptic fits. Black pepper is called maricha or marica in Sanskrit, indicating its property to dispel 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 […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Likely Efficacy

Like depression, anxiety is an area of psychopharmacology where many naturopathic compounds have been studied. While kava has established efficacy with adults and consistently has been shown to be effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, no studies thus far have been performed with children and adolescents, and some risk of hepatotoxicity may be present, and consequently the supplement is included in this section. In addition, some other compounds have also revealed at least some efficacy, but research has primarily been done with adult patients, and clinicians must use caution when applying results of these studies to pediatric patients. Anxiolytic medications work by increasing the amount of activity in the serotonergic pathways, as well as altering the glutamate-GABA balance in favor of inhibitory effects. Supplements that accomplish similar changes in the brain have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), alsto referred to as kava kava, is a tall bush indigenous to the South Pacific, especially Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Its root is typically ground, and indigenous cultures have also chewed it, prepared it as an infusion, Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Possible Efficacy

In addition to supplements discussed above, a few other compounds may also have some efficacy in treating symptoms of anxiety. However, since the data that supports the use of the following supplements is extremely limited, clinicians should proceed with caution, and consider the use of the compounds discussed in this section as experimental. St. John’s Wort As described in site, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that exists in many species throughout the world, and it is widely used as an antidepressant. It is available in a variety of preparations, including capsules, liquid, oils, and raw herb to be brewed as tea. St. John’s Wort contains a plethora of active ingredients, including flavonoids, naphthodianthrones, phloroglucinols, phenolic acids, terpenes, and xanthones. These exert a variety of psychoactive effects, and several of these are described below. Of all herbal supplements, St. John’s Wort is the one that has been researched most extensively and there is strong support for its efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms. The use of St. John’s Wort as an anxiolytic is more recent, but a few studies suggest that is may be effective. Davidson and Connor (2001) reported case studies of patients Read more […]

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Medical Uses Comfrey is used externally for superficial wounds, sore breasts, and hemorrhoids. Historical Uses In folklore, comfrey was used for healing gastric ulcers and reducing the inflammation around fractures. It is also known as knitbone. Growth Comfrey is a perennial plant that grows to about 2 to 4 feet high. It has huge, broad, hairy leaves and a small, bell-shaped flower. Comfrey: Parts Used • Leaves • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Allantoin • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (more in the roots) • Mucilage • Tannins Comfrey: Clinical Uses Comfrey is used externally for superficial wounds, sore breasts, and hemorrhoids. Mechanism of Action AUantoin promotes cell proliferation, reduces inflammation, and controls bleeding. Its astringent properties help to heal hemorrhoids. Comfrey is unsafe when used internally. Comfrey: Dosage External Use Only Comfrey may be used externally up to three times daily. It may be applied to the skin in a compress, poultice, or ointment. Do not use for more than 10 days, and do not exceed 100 μg of pyrrolizidine alkaloids each day (Natural Medicines, 2000). Side Effects Comfrey may cause veno-occlusive disease and hepatotoxicity and may have Read more […]

Echinacea (E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida)

Echinacea: Medical Uses Echinacea is used for the common cold, infections, and low immune status. It is given with antibiotics and chemotherapy and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Historical Uses Native Americans and Eclectic physicians used echinacea as a natural anti-infective for colds and flu. Native Americans first introduced echinacea to the colonists. Growth There are nine species of echinacea. This perennial will grow in most herb gardens in the northeast. The beautiful flower of E. purpurea, commonly called “purple cone-flower,” may grow up to 6 feet tall. E. angustifolia has narrow leaves and is much shorter, at about 2 feet. It has pink flowers. E. pallida grows to about 3 feet and is much paler. All three species have been cultivated in the U.S. and Europe. E. angustifolia is listed as an at-risk endangered herb. Parts Used • Aerial (above-ground) parts • Whole plant and root Major Chemical Compounds • Alkylamides • Caffeic acid derivatives • Cichoric acid • Polysaccharides • Glycoproteins Not all active chemical compounds are found in each species of echinacea. Mechanism of Action Alkylamides, which cause a tingling sensation on the tongue, produce anti-inflammatory Read more […]

Coltsfoot: Recommendations On Safety

1. Use caution in dosage and duration of usage and consider using other expectorants before using coltsfoot. To evaluate the safety of any medicine, the effectiveness must be considered. Coltsfoot has been considered effective because of its mucilage content but there are other useful demulcent plants such as marshmallow. It has been shown to have an antioxidant action and an antiseptic action, but an in vitro study of the antibacterial qualities of Siberian medicinal plants found that the results for coltsfoot were similar to those for yarrow Achillea millefolium, another member of the Asteraceae family. Elecampane is an Asteraceae, which is an effective expectorant and contains sesquiterpenes and may be fully equivalent to coltsfoot immature flower buds, which are widely used in China. 2. Coltsfoot should not be used in children under the age of 18 or in pregnancy and lactation. Coltsfoot contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which are widespread plant toxins and their incidence in medicinal plants has been reviewed extensively. The compounds are not part of the medicinal benefit of a plant but are toxins whose ingestion should be avoided. Hepatotoxicity of medicinal plants is of concern for regulators Read more […]

Overview Of Immunomodulating Herbs Commonly Used In HIV / AIDS

Herbs used in the treatment of HIV / AIDS are aimed at improving the integrity of the immune system. The herbs below are presented merely on an informational basis. They are generally used for tonic purposes, taken in any number of forms from concentrated extracts to use in soups. They are considered to have a high safety profile, although little research has been conducted on the effects of these herbs clinically in individuals with HIV / AIDS using conventional pharmacotherapy. Readers can refer to other topics in this textbook for HIV- and AIDS-related conditions, for example, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy for common antinausea herbs, vaginitis, insomnia, anxiety, or depression. Anecdotally, many HIV / AIDS patients have reported that, in conjunction with conventional therapies, various combinations of the following herbs, and others, along with heavy nutritional supplementation programs, have vastly improved their quality of life. Astragalus Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is the one of the most widely used immune tonifying herbs of Chinese medicine. It is primarily used as a lung tonic, and may be helpful in increasing resistance against respiratory infections. It is also used as a digestive tonic. It Read more […]

Ferula assafoetida

Common Names Pakistan Anjadana Bangladesh Hing England Asafetida India Hing Croatia Asafetida India Hingu Finland Asafetida India Ingu Germany Asafetida India Inguva Guyana Asafetida Afghanistan Kama I anguza Iceland Asafetida Pakistan Kama I anguza Lithuania Asafetida India Kayam Netherlands Asafetida Laos Ma ha hing Poland Asafetida France Merde du diable Russia Asafetida Mozambique Mvuje Spain Asafetida Tanzania Mvuje Sweden Asafetida Zaire Mvuje United States Asafetida Hungary Ordoggyoker France Asafetide India Perungayam Estonia Asafootida India Perunkaya Germany Asafotida Sri Lanka Perunkayan Germany Asant Finland Pirunpaska France Assa Foetida Finland Pirunpihka Italy Assafetida India Raamathan China A-wei Iran Rechina fena Greece Aza Netherlands Sagapeen United States Devil’s dung Turkey Setan bokosu Iceland Djoflatao Turkey Seytan tersi Latvia Driveldrikis Myanmar Sheingho Netherlands Duivelsdrek Tibet Shing-kun Denmark Dyvelsdrak Germany Stinkasant Norway Dyvelsdrekk United States Stinking Read more […]