Blood-Pressure Lowering Activity of Tea

Hypertension is a common disorder in humans. Te a drinking can lower blood pressure. There are many Chinese traditional prescriptions, with tea as a major constituent, used in the treatment of hypertension and coronary disease in Chinese traditional medicine. A survey on the relationship between hypertension and tea drinking in 964 adults was carried out by Zhejiang Medical University of China during the 1970s. Results showed that the average rate of hypertension was 6.2% in the group who drank tea as habit, and 10.5% in the group who did not. Clinical experiments showed that hot water extract of green tea possessed a degree of blood pressure lowering effect. An experiment in vivo carried out on rats fed with diet supplemented with 0.5% crude catechins showed that the blood pressure in treated rats was 10–20 mm Hg lower than that in the control group (). A clinical experiment using green tea on high blood pressure patients was conducted at the Anhui Medical Research Institute of China. Results showed that a 10 g tea intake daily treatment over half a year, decreased the blood pressure by 20–30% (). A study was conducted to determine whether the effect in vitro is reflected in the lowering of blood pressure of Read more […]

Black Nightshade, Terong Meranti, Poison Berry

Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Solanum nigrum L. is a small herb, up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are ovate, ovate-oblong, glabrous, hairy, 1-16 cm by 0.25-12 cm. Inflorescence of 2-10 in an extra-axillary cluster, with white or purple corolla and yellow central protrusion. Fruit is globose, black in colour but is green when immature, 0.5 cm in diameter, with many seeds. Origin Native to Southwest Asia, Europe, India and Japan. Phytoconstituents Solanidine, α-, β-, γ-chaconine, desgalactotigonin, α-, β-solamargine, diosgenin, solanadiol, α-, β-, γ-solanines, soladulcidine, solanocapsine, α-, β-solansodamine, solasodine, α-solasonine, tigogenin, tomatidenol, uttronins A and B, uttrosides A and B, solanigroside A-H and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The stem, leaves and roots are used as a decoction for wounds, tumours and cancerous growths, sores and as an astringent. They are also used as a condiment, stimulant, tonic, for treatment of piles, dysentery, abdominal pain, inflammation of bladder, relief of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, eye ailments, itch, psoriasis, skin diseases, eczema, ulcer, relief of cramps, rheumatism, neuralgia and expulsion of excess fluids. The roots are used as an expectorant. The Read more […]

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum)

Medical Uses Reishi mushroom is used to support the immune system, usually for prevention and long-term use. It may lower blood sugar levels. Historical Uses Historically in China and Japan, the reishi mushroom has been called “the mushroom of immortality” because of its medicinal properties, which stimulate the immune system. Growth This fungus is a member of the Ganoderma family of fungi. Parts used • Fruiting body • Mycelium Major Chemical Compounds • Polysaccharides Reishi Mushroom: Clinical Uses Reishi mushroom is used to support the immune system, usually for prevention and long-term use. It may lower blood glucose levels. Mechanism of Action Polysaccharides bind to specialized receptor sites on macrophages and natural killer cells, which send out chemical signals to fight off infection. Reishi Mushroom: Dosage Crude dried mushroom: 1.5 to 9 grams daily by mouth. Reishi powder: 1 to 1.5 grams daily by mouth. Reishi tincture: 1 mL daily by mouth (Natural Medicines, 2000). Side Effects Prolonged use of reishi mushroom (more than 3 months) has resulted in infrequent reports of dry mouth and stomach upset. It may prolong bleeding times. Contraindications • None are known. Herb-Drug Read more […]

Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)

Medical Uses Ginseng is used as an adaptogenic (for stress), an anti-fatigue agent, an anti-stress agent, and a tonic. Historical Uses Ginseng has been used medicinally in Asia for more than 5000 years. It is known as the ruler of tonic herbs. It is also known as “root of man.” Growth This perennial plant is indigenous to China and is cultivated in many countries. Ginseng: Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Triterpenoid saponins, especially ginsenosides. Ginseng: Clinical Uses Ginseng is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization for use as an adaptogenic (for stress), an anti-fatigue agent, an anti-stress agent, and a tonic. In Germany, ginseng may be labeled as an aid to convalescence and a tonic to treat fatigue, reduced work capacity, and poor concentration. Mechanism of Action Triterpenoid saponins are believed to help the body build vitality, resist stress, and overcome disease. Ginseng inhibits platelet aggregation by inhibiting thromboxane A2 production. Ginsenosides may act on the pituitary gland, not the adrenal glands. The pituitary secretes corticosteroids indirectly through the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone and also stimulates nerve fibers Read more […]

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Medical Uses Garlic is used for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infections, and cancer prevention. Historical Uses Called the “stinking rose,” garlic has been used by the Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, and native North Americans to heal many ailments. In the early 1900s, Dr. W Minuchin, a physician who was interested in the effects of garlic, performed clinical trials that showed its usefulness in treating tuberculosis, lupus, diphtheria, and infections. Growth Plant garlic cloves in the spring, about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart, in well-drained soil. Planting garlic around vegetable plants helps to repel insects; planting it around fruit and nut trees helps to repel moles. Harvest the garlic when the top of the plant dies. Garlic: Part used • Bulb Major Chemical Compounds • Allicin • Ajoene • Selenium • Saponins • Fructans • Potassium • Thiamine • Calcium • Magnesium • Iron • Phosphorus • Zinc Garlic: Clinical Uses Garlic is used for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, infection, and cancer prevention. It is approved by the German Commission E and the World Health Organization for hyperlipidemia and atherosclerotic vascular changes. Read more […]

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha, Crataegus laevigata)

Hawthorn: Medical Uses Hawthorn is used as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and angina. Historical Uses Hawthorn was the symbol of hope and happiness in ancient Greece and Rome. Growth This shrub grows in temperate zones in Europe and in the United States. Parts Used • Berries • Flower heads • Leaves Major Chemical Compounds • Flavonoids • Oligomeric procyanidins • Cardiotonic amines • Anthocyanins Hawthorn: Clinical Uses Hawthorn is used as a heart tonic and for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and angina. Mechanism of Action Flavonoids prevent destruction of collagen, prevent plaque buildup, and strengthen blood vessels. Inotropic in nature, they help the heart muscle to contract. Anthocyanins inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and platelet aggregation, which protects against heart disease. They help to treat vascular disorders and also capillary fragility. Flavonoids cause smooth muscles of coronary vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow and decreasing angina. Proanthocyanidins in the flower heads inhibit biosynthesis of thromboxane A2. Hawthorn: Dosage Hawthorn extracts are standardized to 2.2 percent flavonoids or 18 percent Read more […]

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice: Medical Uses Licorice has been used for peptic ulcer disease, canker sores, and cough. It is used topically for eczema, psoriasis, and herpes. Historical Uses Historically, licorice has been used as a flavoring agent in candy, tobacco, and soft drinks. Licorice syrup was used as a cough remedy. For years, licorice root has been valued in Germany and China and in Ayurvedic medicine. Growth Licorice comes from a small shrub that grows in temperate climates. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Glycyrrhizin • Flavonoids • Phenolic compounds • Glicophenone • Glicoisoflavone • Phytosterols • Coumarins () Licorice: Clinical Uses Licorice has been used for peptic ulcer disease, canker sores, cough, and chronic fatigue syndrome (under supervision). It is used topically for eczema, psoriasis, and herpes. It is also used for its antibacterial activity and its antiparasitic, antitumor, and estrogenic activity. It may be used for anti-HIV effects. Mechanism of Action Licorice does not inhibit the release of gastric acid, but rather stimulates normal defense mechanisms by improving blood supply, increasing the amount and quality of substances that line the intestinal Read more […]

Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake Mushroom: Medical Uses Maitake mushroom is used for anticancer effects, stimulation of the immune system in cancer patients, and as supportive therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy or patients with HIV or AIDS, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, weight loss, or diabetes. Historical Uses The maitake is known as the “hen of the woods” and is valued for “maintaining health and promoting longevity”. Growth This mushroom is cultivated in Japan and native to the northeastern part of that country. Part Used • Edible mushroom Major Chemical Compound • D-fraction, a polysaccharide Maitake Mushroom: Clinical Uses Maitake mushroom is used for anticancer effects, immune stimulation in cancer patients, and adjunct therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy. It is also used for patients with HIV and AIDS, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, weight loss, or diabetes (Natural Medicine, 2000). Mechanism of Action The D-fraction of beta-glucan has been shown to possess antitumor activity. It also lowers blood glucose and reduces weight in rats. It has immunostimulant effects (Natural Medicine, 2000). The most recent maitake extract is the MD-fraction, which, combined with the D-fraction, is helpful Read more […]

Mediterranean and the Near East

Alexandra senna Senna alexandrina and Tinnevelly senna S. angustifolia / Fabaceae Both species are of desert origin: Tinnevelly senna, Senna angustifolia, is native to Arabia, West Africa and Asia, as far as Punjab, while Alexandra senna, S. alexandrina, grows naturally in northeastern Africa and it is harvested and cultivated in Sudan, China, and India. About 1,000 years ago the Arabs introduced the use of dried leaves and especially fruits of senna into Western pharmacopoeias as a laxative. Senna was mentioned in detail by Ibn al-Baytar (1197-1248), one of the most important Arabian scholars of the Middle Ages and the author of the famous medical treatise Jami’ al-mufradat. Over the centuries senna has proved its worth as an herbal drug and today represents one of the most widely used herbal drugs in the classical pharmacy. Artichoke Cynara cardunculus / Asteraceae Formerly known as Cynara scolymus, the artichoke is the best example of a food-medicine in the whole of European phytotherapy. Artichokes originated in the Mediterranean region and numerous diverse cultivars were subsequently developed. Many Mediterraneans used artichokes by soaking them in wine, then drinking the liquid as a digestive and a reconstituent Read more […]

Southern and Southeastern Asia

India The current practices within traditional Indian medicine reflect an ancient tradition that can be traced back to at least 900 bc, to written Ayurvedic records. These practices, all holistic in nature, are divided into three principal systems: Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. The most ancient is Ayurveda, literally meaning the “science of life,” and has a basis in the spiritual as well as the temporal. The practice of Ayurveda is aimed at the intrinsic whole of the patient and involves the administration of medicinal preparations of complex mixtures containing animal, plant, and mineral products. Siddha can be considered similar to Ayurveda and is governed by the understanding that everything, including the human body, is made up of the five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. In addition, 96 major elements are considered to constitute human beings and include the constituents of physiological, moral, and intellectual elements. An imbalance among any of these is believed to result in disease. Siddha medicine is based more on a psychosomatic system in which treatments are based on minerals, metals, and herbal products. The Unani medical system can be sourced to the writings of the Greek philosopher-physician Read more […]