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 […]

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 […]

Artemisia Herba-Alba

The genus Artemisia is a member of the large and evolutionary advanced plant family Asteraceae (Compositae). More than 300 different species comprise this diverse genus which is mainly found in arid and semi-arid areas of Europe, America, North Africa as well as in Asia. Artemisia species are widely used as medicinal plants in folk medicine. Some species such as Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia annua or Artemisia vulgaris have even been incorporated into the pharmacopoeias of several European and Asian countries. Sesquiterpene lactones are among the most prominent natural products found in Artemisia species and are largely responsible for the importance of these plants in medicine and pharmacy. For example, the antimalarial effect of the long known Chinese medicinal plant Qing Hao (Artemisia annua) is due to the sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin which is active against Plasmodium falciparum (). Another sesquiterpene lactone, absinthin, is the bitter tasting principle found in Artemisia absinthium formerly used to produce an alcolohic beverage called “absinth”. In addition to sesquiterpene lactones volatile terpenoids that constitute the so called essential oils are also characteristic metabolites of Artemisia species. Read more […]

Healing Powers of Aloes: Pharmacology and Therapeutic Applications

Constipation Aloe latex possesses laxative properties and has been used traditionally to treat constipation. The old practice of using aloe as a laxative drug is based on its content of anthraquinones like barbaloin, which is metabolised to the laxative aloe-emodin, isobarbaloin and chrysophanic acid. The term ‘aloe’ (or ‘aloin’) refers to a crystalline, concentrated form of the dried aloe latex. In addition, aloe latex contains large amounts of a resinous material. Following oral administration the stomach is quickly reached and the time required for passage into the intestine is determined by stomach content and gastric emptying rate. Glycosides are probably chemically stable in the stomach (pH 1–3) and the sugar moiety prevents their absorption into the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and subsequent detoxification in the liver, which protects them from breakdown in the intestine before they reach their site of action in the colon and rectum. Once they have reached the large intestine the glycosides behave like pro-drugs, liberating the aglycones (aloe-emodin, rhein-emodin, chyrosophanol, etc.) that act as the laxatives. The metabolism takes place in the colon, where bacterial glycosidases are Read more […]

Tabernaemontana spp.

The family Apocynaceae is probably one of the richest sources of drugs in the plant kingdom. Both alkaloids, e.g. reserpine, vincristine, vinblastine, ajmalicine and serpentine, and steroids, e.g. strophantidine, are found in species of this family. One of the larger indole alkaloid-bearing tribes within this family is Tabernaemontaneae. The tribe Plumerieae comprises well-known genera such as Catharanthus, Vinca, Amsonia, Rhazya and Alstonia. The Tribe Tabernaemontaneae For the genera belonging to the tribe Tabernaemontaneae, as presented in Table Genera belonging to the tribe Tabernaemontaneae, we followed the classification of Leeuwenberg. For the most recent classification see Leeuwenberg (1987). In this paper is also reporten, that T. orientalis is a synonym for T. pandacaqui Poir. Table Genera belonging to the tribe Tabernaemontaneae Family Apocynaceae Subfamily Plumerioideae Tribe Tabernaemontaneae Genus Tabernaemontana 120 species, tropics Stemmadenia 17 species, America Voacanga 14 species, Africa, Asia Callichilia 7 species, Africa Tabernanthe 1 species, Africa Schizozygia 1 species, Africa Carvalhoa 1 species, Africa Crioceras 1 Read more […]

Scarlet Wisteria Tree, Red Wisteria, Daun Turi

Sesbania grandiflora Pers. (Leguminosae) Sesbania grandiflora Pers. is a tree that can grow to 8-10 m in height. The compound leaves are about 30 cm long with 12 to 20 pairs of rounded, narrow, oblong leaflets, 3-4 cm by 1 cm. Flowers are 5-10 cm by 3 cm, in pale pink, red, purple or white. The pods are 25-50 cm, slender, and cylindrical with many light brown to red brown seeds. Origin Native to Malesia and cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Grandiflorol, (+)-leucocyanidin, oleanolic acid, lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, zeaxanthin and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In the Philippines, the plant is used for its hypotensive properties. It is used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of liver disorders. The juice of the leaves and flowers are popularly used for nasal catarrh and headache when taken as snuff. Various leaf preparations are used to treat epileptic fits. Applied externally for treatment of leprous eruptions. A poultice of the leaves is used for bruises. The leaf juice is mixed with honey for congenital bronchitis or cold in babies. Pharmacological Activities Antibacterial, Anticonvulsant, Anti-inflammatory, Anxiolytic, Depressant, Diuretic, Hepatoprotective, Hypoglycaemic, Read more […]

Indian Almond, Katapang

Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae) Terminalia catappa L. is a tall tree, up to 25 m tall. Branches are horizontally whorled, giving it a pagoda shape. Leaves are shiny, obovate, 10-25 cm long, tapering to a short thick petiole. Leaves are yellow that turn red before shedding. Flowers are small and white. Fruits have smooth outer coat, 3-6 cm long, flattened edges, with a pointed end. Pericarp is fibrous and fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Madagascar. Phytoconstituents Catappanin A, chebulagic acid, 1-desgalloylleugeniin, geraniin, granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin, tercatain, terflavins A & B, tergallagin, euginic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Terminalia catappa has been used to treat dysentery in a number of Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, the leaves are used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints while in the Philippines, they are used to expel worms. In Karkar Island, New Guinea, juice from the squeezed leaves is applied to sores and the sap from the white stem pith is squeezed and drunk to relieve cough. In Nasingalatu, Papua New Guinea, the flower is crushed, mixed with water and drunk to induce sterility. In New Britain, 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 […]

Asteraceae: Drug Interactions, Contraindications, And Precautions

Patient survey data from Canada, the U.S., and Australia show that one in five patients use prescription drugs concurrently with CAM. The inherent polypharmaceutical nature of complementary and alternative medicine increases the risk of adverse events if these complementary and alternative medicine either have pharmacological activity or interfere with drug metabolism. Since confirmed interactions are sporadic and based largely on case reports, advice to avoid certain drug-CAM combinations is based on known pharmacological and in vitro properties. Known Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae Cross-reactive sesquiterpene lactones are present in many, if not all, Asteraceae. Patients with known CAD from one plant may develop similar type IV reactions following contact with others. Affected patients are often advised to avoid contact with all Asteraceae, yet this advice is based on limited knowledge of cross-reactivity between relatively few members of this large family. Some authorities recommend avoiding Asteraceae-derived complementary and alternative medicine if, for example, the patient is known to have IgE-mediated inhalant allergy to ragweed. While a reasonable approach, this ignores a number of important facts: (1) Read more […]

Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Nymphaeaceae) Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotus, Oriental Lotus Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow waters. Leaves are green, round, 30-60 cm across and with long petiole. Flowers are pink, white or red, 10-30 cm and solitary. Fruits are non-edible and non-fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. Phytoconstituents Nuciferin, nornuciferin, nelumboroside A & B, nelumstemine, dotriacontane, ricinoleic, roemerin, liensinine, neferine, lotusine, liriodenine, asimilobin, pronuciferine and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The leaves are used to treat sunstroke, diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, dizziness and vomiting of blood. The plant is used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning and for smallpox. In Ayurveda, the plant is used to treat cholera, diarrhoea, worm infestation, vomiting, exhaustion and intermittent fever. The fruits are used in decoction for agitation, fever, heart and haematemesis while the stamens are used to “purify the heart, permeate the kidneys, strengthen virility, to blacken the hair, for haemoptysis and spermatorrhoea”. They are also used to treat premature ejaculation, as astringent for bleeding, Read more […]