Citrus in Traditional Medicine

Citrus in traditional Asiatic medicine In a comparative study of the use of herbal drugs in the traditional medicines of India and Europe, Pun () found a marked similarity between the drugs used in the two continents. He attributed this not only to the similarity of the vegetation in the two areas, but also to the influence that traditional Indian medicine, in particular the Atherveda, one of the most ancient repositories of human knowledge, had on Egypt, Greece and Rome. He listed the principal uses of a small number of these drugs, including bitter orange peel, which in India is used as an aromatic, stomachic, tonic, astringent and carminative agent, and lemon, which is used as a flavouring and for its carminative and stomachic effects. In the Valmiki-Ramayana, written after the Vedas and one of the most sacred of all religious books which enumerates the virtues of the medicinal plants that Lord Rama (Vishnu) met during his fourteen-year journey around different parts of India, Karnick and Hocking () identified and listed fifty of these drugs with their use as described in the Ayurvedica (or native Indian) system of medicine. The immature fruit of Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swingle was used as an fortifier, Read more […]

Ruta graveolens

Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae) and its tissue cultures are investigated from a wide variety of aspects, such as botanical studies, medicinal activities, chemical constituents and biosynthesis of some compounds. The in vitro culture of Ruta, quick-growing and with strong biogenetic potentialities, is an optimal implement for biochemical and physiological studies, and many research teams are using it in various fields which are reported in this chapter. Distribution and Importance of the Plant The genus Ruta belongs to the family Rutaceae, subfamily Rutoideae and tribe Ruteae. The subtribe Rutinae contains the following genera: Ruta L., Haplophyllum A. Juss., Thamnosma Torr. and Fr. and Boenninghausenia Reichb. Engler (1931) included Ruta and Haplophyllum in one genus. However, Waterman (1975) found that from a chemical standpoint Haplophyllum and Thamnosma are similar, but quite different from Ruta. According to the Flora Europaea, five species are assigned to the genus Ruta (). Ruta graveolens L. (common names: Engl.: common rue, herb of grace; French: rue fetide; German: Gartenraute; Spanish: ruda, arruda) is a well-known evergreen, half shrubby plant of 0.5 to 1 m in height, with leaves two- to three-pinnate and Read more […]

Akebia quinata

The lardizabalaceous family occurs in central (the Himalayas) to eastern Asia (Japan), and in Chile, and there are eight genera [Decaisnea (India, China), Sinofranchetia (China), Holboellia (E. Asia), Akebia (E. Asia), Parvatia (E. Himal.), Boquila (Chile), Stauntonia (E. Asia), and Lardizabala (Chile)]. About 38 species are recorded. The plants are woody vines or sometimes shrubs. Leaves are palmate or rarely pinnate alternate. Flowers are usually unisexual. Ovules are usually many, and fruit berrylike, dehiscing lengthwise. Some genera are cultivated in the United States, where Akebia is more common (Decaisnea, Lardizabala, Stauntonia, and rarely Sargentadoxa along the southern border of the United States). Futhermore, some few species are found in East Asia and three species in Japan, i.e., Akebia quinata Decne (Akebi in Japanese), A. triforiata Koidz (Mitubaakebi in Japanese), and Stauntonia hexaphylla Decne (Mube in Japanese). A. quinata is widely distributed in thickets in hills and mountains in Japan, Korea, and China. It is a glabrous climber with woody vines or sometimes shrubs, with plants reaching to more than 3 m high, whose flowers, usually unisexual, bloom pale purple in April-May. The ovules are usually Read more […]


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 […]


Heartburn (Gastroesophageal Reflux) In Pregnancy Heartburn is caused by a reflux of gastric acids into the lower esophagus, usually occurring after meals or when lying down. The gastric acids irritate the esophagus, causing a burning sensation behind the sternum that may extend into the neck and face, and may be accompanied by regurgitation, nausea, and hypersalivation. Inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus may result. Up to two-thirds of women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Only rarely it is an exacerbation of preexisting disease. Symptoms may begin as early as the first trimester and cease soon after birth. Most women first experience reflux symptoms after 5 months of gestation; however, many women report the onset of symptoms only when they become very bothersome, long after the symptoms actually began. The prevalence and severity of heartburn progressively increases during pregnancy. The exact causes(s) of reflux during pregnancy include relaxed lower esophageal tone, secondary to hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly the influence of progesterone, and mechanical pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach which contributes to reflux of gastric acids into the esophagus. However, some Read more […]

Rue In Classical Medicine

Dioscorides lists over a dozen external uses of rue. The herb infused into olive oil by cooking and applied to the abdomen helps inflations of the colon downwards and of the uterus, while the herb ground up with honey and applied to the perineum, ‘from the genitalia to the anus’, relieves uterine suffocation. A similar application is made to joints to relieve pain, while mixed with figs it disperses oedema. As a plaster with barley groats, it assuages severe eye pains and in combination with rose ointment and vinegar it is rubbed onto the head in cases of headache. Ground and inserted into the nostrils, it can stop nosebleeds; plastered on with the leaves of sweet bay, it helps inflammation of the testicles or with a cerate (wax) of myrtle it remedies their pustules. Rubbed on with salt and pepper, it treats dull-white leprosy, which is either vitiligo or psoriasis, and both raised and flat warts. Applied with honey and alum it is good for lichen-like eruptions of the skin. The fresh juice, warmed in a pomegranate shell and instilled, combats earache or mixed with the juice of fennel and honey then smeared on is a remedy for dim-sightedness. Another mixture with vinegar, white lead and rose ointment treats erysipelas, Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Natural coumarins

Natural coumarins are widespread in herbal medicines and vegetables. There is a misconception that if a plant contains natural coumarins it will have anticoagulant properties, but very specific structural requirements are necessary for this – namely there must be a non-polar carbon substituent at the 3-position of 4-hydroxycoumarin. Moreover, at present, there are no established interactions between warfarin and herbal medicines that have been attributed to the natural coumarin content of the herb. Even in the classic case of haemorrhagic death of livestock that led to the discovery of dicoumarol, it was the action of the mould on the natural coumarin in the sweet clover (melilot) that led to the production of the anticoagulant, so consumption of a spoiled product would seem to be necessary for this specific interaction to occur. This suggests that the occurrence of natural coumarins in dietary supplements or herbal medicines should not trigger immediate concern as regards interactions with anticoagulants. The information in this family monograph relates to the individual natural coumarins, and the reader is referred back to the herb (and vice versa) where appropriate. Note that, to avoid confusion with the synthetic Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Liquorice

Qycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Licorice. Spanish and Italian liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra var typica Reg. et Herd. Persian or Turkish liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L var violacea Boiss. Russian liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L var glanduli-fera. Chinese liquorice is the closely related Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., also known as Gancao. Pharmacopoeias Licorice (US Ph 32); Liquorice (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Dry Extract for Flavouring Purposes (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Liquid Extract (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Root (European Ph 2008); Liquorice Root for use in THM (British Ph 2009); Powdered Licorice (US Ph 32); Powdered Licorice Extract (US Ph 32); Processed Liquorice Root for use in THMP (British Ph 2009); Standardised Liquorice Ethanolic Liquid Extract (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents Liquorice has a great number of active compounds of different classes that act in different ways. The most important constituents are usually considered to be the oleanane-type triterpenes, mainly glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid), to which it is usually standardised, and its aglycone glycyrrhetinic Read more […]

Iodine: Deficiency Signs and Symptoms

PRIMARY DEFICIENCY Iodine deficiency results when iodide intake is <20 µg/day. In situations of moderate deficiency, TSH induces thyroid hypertrophy in order to concentrate iodide, resulting in a goitre. Most of these cases remain euthyroid, but in cases of severe iodine deficiency, myxoedema may result in adults and cretinism in infants, both of which are serious conditions. Myxoedema is characterised by swelling of the hands, face, feet and peri-orbital tissues and can lead to coma and death if sufficiently severe and left untreated. Endemic cretinism is divided into two forms, neurologic or myxoedematous, depending on the interplay of genetics and iodine deficiency. Usually children with neurologic cretinism are mentally deficient and often deaf mute but of normal height and strength and may have goitre. Myxoedematous cretinism is characterised by dwarfism, mental deficiency, dry skin, large tongue, umbilical hernia, muscular incoordination and puffy facial features. Concomitant selenium deficiency may be a contributing factor in myxoedematous cretinism. Early treatment with thyroid hormone supplementation can promote normal physical growth; however, intellectual disability may not be prevented and in very Read more […]


ASH (Fraxinus excelsior) Yggdrasil, the tree of the universe of Scandinavian mythology, is generally supposed to have been an ash (see Yggdrasil), the tree upon which Odin hanged himself in his quest for wisdom. According to Hesiod, the men of the third age of the world (the Bronze Age) grew from the ash tree, and Teutonic mythology has it that the first men came from this tree. Ash and human birth are linked in many ways. In the Highlands, at the birth of a child, the midwife used to put a green ash stick into the fire, and while it was burning, let the sap drop into a spoon. This was given as the first spoonful of liquor to the newborn baby. It is said that it was given as a guard against witches, or against the evil eye. The mythology claimed that the fruit of Yggrdrasil ensures safe childbirth. When Ragnarok draws near, it was said the ash tree will tremble, and a man and woman who hide in it, Lif and Lifthrasir, will survive the ensuing holocaust and flood. They stand alone at the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. From these two, the earth will be re-peopled, and Yggrdrasil itself will survive Ragnarok. In other words, Yggdrasil is the source of all new life. The Irish tree, Bile Tortan, one of Read more […]