Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

The historical and contemporary, medicinal uses of cannabis have been reviewed on several occasions. Perhaps the earliest published report to contain at least some objectivity on the subject was that of O’Shaughnessy (1842), an Irish surgeon, working in India, who described the analgesic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties of the drug. This report triggered the appearance of over 100 publications on the medicinal use of cannabis in American and European medical journals over the next 60 years. One such use was to treat nausea and vomiting; but it was not until the advent of potent cancer chemotherapeutic drugs that the antiemetic properties of cannabis became more widely investigated and then employed. One can argue that the available clinical evidence of efficacy is stronger here than for any other application and that proponents of its use are most likely to be successful in arguing that cannabis should be re-scheduled (to permit its use as a medicine) because it has a “currently accepted medical use”. Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis Spastic Conditions A discussion Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma

Cannabis smoking and the oral ingestion of several of its derivatives have been shown to cause an appreciable drop in intraocular pressure (); and it is known that patients with open angle closure glaucoma smoke cannabis for this purpose. Cannabis When smoked, cannabis containing the equivalent of 20–30 mg of THC has been shown to lower intraocular pressure in an heterogeneous group of glaucoma patients and more specifically, patients with open angle glaucoma. However, the treatment was not without side effects: six of 32 patients developed severe systemic hypotension; this was significantly greater in hypertensive glaucoma patients. Cannabis caused a dose-related, clinically significant, reduction in intraocular pressure of 25– 30%, occurring at 1 hour and lasting 5–6 hours, which was discrete from the sedative effects of the drug. Orthostatic hypotension was observed mainly in cannabis-naive patients. Cannabis does not cure glaucoma but has been shown to slow progressive sight loss when conventional medicines have failed or where the risks of surgery are too great. Tolerance to this effect of cannabis has not been observed; but the degree of reduction in intraocular pressure seen in cannabis-naive patients 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 […]

Honduras Mahogany, Broad-leaved Mahogany

Swietenia macrophylla King (Meliaceae) Swietenia macrophylla King is an evergreen tree, up to 30-35 m tall. Bark is grey and smooth when young, turning dark brown, ridged and flaky when old. Leaves are up to 35-50 cm long, alternate, glabrous with 4-6 pairs of leaflets. Each leaflet is 9-18 cm long. Flowers are small and white; and the fruit is dehiscent, usually 5-lobed capsule, erect, 12-15 cm long, grayish brown, smooth or minutely verrucose. The seed is woody, glossy and possesses wing-like structure at the base that aids its dispersion by wind. Origin Native to South America, cultivated in the Asia-Pacific and the Pacific for its quality wood. Phytoconstituents Swietenine, swietenolide, andirobin, khayasin T, swietemahonins E-G, swietenine acetate, swietenolide tiglate and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The seeds of Swietenia macrophylla are traditionally used in several indigenous systems of medicine for the treatment of various ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and malaria. The local folks of Malaysia believe that the seeds are capable of “curing” hypertension and diabetes. The seeds are usually consumed raw by chewing. A decoction of seeds of Swietenia macrophylla is reported to treat malaria Read more […]

Akar Putarwali, Batang Wali

Tinospora crispa (L.) Diels (Menispermaceae) Tinospora crispa (L.) Diels is a woody climber with numerous protrusions on the stem. Leaves are oblong-ovate, cordate, 8-9 cm by 7-8 cm and tapering to a pointed end. Flowers are small, with 6 petals, 2 mm in length and 8-27 cm racemes. Male flowers have yellow sepals whereas female flowers have green sepals. Drupelets are red, juicy and 7-8 mm long. Origin Native to Malesia, Indochina, Indian subcontinent and China. Phytoconstituents Boropetol B, borapetoside B, C & F, jatrorhizine, magnoflorine, palmatine, protoberberine, tembolarine, diosmetin, cycloeucalenol, cycloeucalenone and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses It is used for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, to treat malaria, remedy for diarrhoea and as vermifuge. In Malaysia, T. crispa extract is taken orally by Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients to treat hyperglycaemia. Pharmacological Activities Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antimalarial, Antiprotozoal and Hypoglycaemic. Dosage No information as yet. Adverse Reactions The plant may result in an increased risk of hepatic dysfunction due to marked elevation of liver enzymes but is reversible upon discontinuation of T. crispa. Toxicity No Read more […]

Scoparia dulcis L. (Sweet Broomweed)

Sweet broomweed (Scoparia dulcis L., Scrophulariaceae) is a perennial herb widely distributed in the torrid zone. The original habitat of this plant is tropical America. Stems are erect, branching, and sometimes woody at the base, 25-80 cm tall. Roots are pale yellow and straight, 10-15 cm long, with many lateral roots. Leaves are lanceolate, elliptical, or obovate, 5-20 mm long, with serrations at the edge, and are opposite or verticillate. The plant has small, white flowers with four calices. The corrola is actinomorphic and split in four. Flowers are 4-5 mm in diameter and bear four stamens and a pistil. Flowering time is summer and autumn. After flowering, ovate or globular capsules mature (2-3 mm in diameter), which contain many powder-like seeds. In tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and South and Central America, the fresh or dried plant of S. dulcis has traditionally been used as a medicament for stomach disorders, bronchitis, diabetes, hypertension, hemorroids and hepatosis, and as an analgesic and antipyretic. The antidiabetic activity of the Indian S. dulcis is attributed to the glycoside ammelin obtained from the fresh plant. The methanolic and water extracts from roots of Formosan S. Read more […]

Clerodendron trichotomum Thunb

The Plant Clerodendron tvichotomum Thunb., whose Japanese name is kusagi, meaning bad-smelling tree, belongs to the Verbenaceae and grows wild in fields and mountains in Japan and China. It has a stalk of more than 3 m in height and a wide egg-shaped leaf. It blossoms in August, has many white flowers with five red sepals, and the fruits assume a sky-blue pigment when they ripen in October. Formerly, the blue pigment of the fruit was used to color clothes in sky-blue and its extract was used as a herbal medicine. Clerodendrine A, B and clerodenronine A, B are contained in the leaf, and clerodron and clerodon triterpenoids are contained in the root. These substances are effective in the treatment of hypertension, rheumatism, diarrhea, etc. Current Condition of Food Colors The Food Sanitation Act (Law No. 233) was established and issued in Japan on 24 December 1947 and enforced on 1 January 1948. The Food Sanitation Act Enforcement Regulations (ordinance No. 23 of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 1948) were established and issued on July 13 in the following year. Simultaneously, specifications and standards of foods, additives, apparatus, containers, and packages were delineated (Notification No. 54, 1948), specifying Read more […]

Morinda Species

The genus Morinda belongs to the family Rubiaceae. Among the many species comprising this genus, six are of some pharmaceutical and technical importance. One of these is Morinda citrifolia which occurs in India and Southeast Asia. Its leaves and roots are used in the treatment of hypertension or as a diuretic and laxative. A more recent study shows that extracts of the roots exhibit an analgesic and probably sedative effect on mice. Morinda lucida, another plant dealt with in this Chapter, grows in central Africa. Natives of central Africa use the plant as a diuretic, purgative and in the treatment of leprosy, fever, malaria, yellow fever, diarrhea and dysentery. The technical use of Morinda plants as a dye is based on the occurrence of anthraquinone pigments in the roots. The pigments isolated from both M. citrifolia and M. lucida plants are listed in Thomson (1987). A publication by Demagos et al. (1981) and reviews by Wijnsma and Verpoorte (1986) as well as by van den Berg and Labadie (1989) contain later additions to the array of known anthraquinones. While roots are the main source of anthraquinones, pigments are also present in the heartwood, leaves and even flowers. The anthraquinones present in cell suspension Read more […]

Claviceps purpurea (Ergot):

Ergot (Claviceps purpurea), best known as a disease of rye and some other grasses, is probably the most widely cultivated fungus and has now become an important field crop. The main reason for its importance is the presence of ergot alkaloids, extensively used in medicine. Currently, ergot alkaloids cover a large field of therapeutic uses as drugs of high potency in the treatment of uterine atonia, postpartum bleeding, migraine, orthostatic circulatory disturbances, senile cerebral insufficiency, hypertension, hyperprolactinemia, acromegaly, and parkinsonism. Recently, new therapeutic uses have emerged, such as, e.g., against schizophrenia, applications based on newly discovered antibacterial and cytostatic effects, immunomodulatory and hypolipemic activity. Of the naturally occurring ergot alkaloids only two are used in the therapy: ergotamine and ergometrine. The rest of the therapeutically important ergot compounds are semisynthetic compounds. Ergot alkaloids are traditionally obtained by extraction of ergot sclerotia artificially cultivated on cereals. The parasitic cultures are not able to produce all alkaloids, e.g., clavine, necessary for most semisynthetic drugs. Crop fluctuations and market demand have Read more […]

Adverse Reactions Associated with Echinacea and Other Asteraceae

Fifty percent of Australians report using some form of complementary alternative medicines (CAM) apart from vitamins in any 12-month period, with similar patterns of use in British and North American subjects. Despite the common perception that “natural therapy” is safe, toxic and hypersensitivity reactions to complementary and alternative medicine have been described. Given that these products are rarely packaged in childproof containers, accidental exposure also occurs. Allergic reactions are most common in atopic subjects. This is not surprising when one considers that up to 20% of atopic subjects use CAM. Furthermore, these patients are more likely than others to become sensitized to cross-reactive allergens and some use (or are advised to use) products such as Echinacea for treatment of allergic disease. When interpreting reports of immediate hypersensitivity to Asteraceae-derived CAM, it is helpful to bear in mind a number of important concepts: (1) exposure to Asteraceae is common; (2) sensitization is more common in subjects with preexistent allergic disease; (3) there is allergenic cross-reactivity between different Asteraceae, and between Asteraceae and some foods; and (4) patients sensitized by inhalation Read more […]