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 […]

Commonly used chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla

As mentioned above, Perilla is often used together with other Chinese herbs in many herb formulas, especially in the qi formulas used for treating neurotic disorders, and respiratory diseases. In addition, it is also commonly used as a diaphoretic for common cold. Some commonly used Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf are shown in Tables Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf and Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf as recorded in the pharmacopoeia of PRC. And some commonly used Chinese herb formulas containing Perilla seed or fruit are shown in Table Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla seed. Table Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf Formula Source Number of Herbs Content (%) of   Perilla Leaf Pinellia and Magnolia Combination Jin-gui-yao-lue 5 10.0 Ephedra and Magnolia Combination Wai-tai-mi-yao 7 7.5 Cyperus and Perilla Formula Tai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang 5 15.0 Ginseng and Perilla Combination Tai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang 13 4.4 Dang-guei Sixteen Herbs Combination Wan-bing-hui-chun 16 5.3 Aquilaria and Perilla Formula Tai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang 11 9.8 Citrus Read more […]

Historical review of the use of lavender

The classical physicians Lavender has been used as a healing plant and was first mentioned by Dioscorides (c. 40—90 AD) who found what was probably Lavandula stoechas growing on the islands of Stoechades (now known as Hyeres); this was used in Roman communal baths. Dioscorides attributed to the plant some laxative and invigorating properties and advised its use in a tea-like preparation for chest complaints. The author also recounts that Galen (129—99 ad) added lavender to his list of ancient antidotes for poison and bites and thus Nero’s physician used it in anti-poison pills and for uterine disorders. Lavender in wine was taken for snake bites stings, stomach aches, liver, renal and gall disorders, jaundice and dropsy. Pliny differentiated between Lavandula stoechas and Lavandula vera, the latter was apparently used only for diluting expensive perfumes. Pliny the Elder advocated lavender for bereavement as well as promoting menstruation. Abbess Hildegard The Abbess Hildegard (1098—1179) of Bingen near the Rhine in what is now Germany, was the first person in the Middle Ages to clearly distinguish between Lavandula vera and Lavandula spica (): On Palsy one who is tormented should take galangale, with Read more […]

The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications Read more […]

Betony: Genito-Urinary Uses

Other abdominal pains for which betony may be used relate to the urinary system and reproductive organs. Honey is required in the vehicle for kidney problems. Dalechamps and Bauhin report Musa advising 2 drachms (8 g) of herb mixed with honey for defects of the kidneys and double this dose in 4 cyathi of water (180 mL) to break stones. With the addition of 27 peppercorns and no honey, the herb is good for pains in the sides, which may refer to ureteric pain. Since the recommendation for dropsy follows that for stones, this may indicate oedema of renal origin, although ascites cannot be ruled out. Certainly Dioscorides specifies oedemata after kidney problems and bladder pain, for which 2 drachms (8 g) in honey water is the dose. He claims betony is diuretic, as does Galen, who confirms its use in kidney stones. On the other hand, Macer speaks of dropsy and this is how Dioscorides’ oedemata is interpreted by Fuchs and the other Renaissance writers. The Old English Herbarium also offers recipes for both pains in the side and pains in the loins. In both cases betony is taken with peppercorns, 27 in the former recipe and 17 in the latter, the herbs being powdered and gently boiled in aged wine. Three cupfuls are taken warm Read more […]

Betony And The Nervous System

When Musa includes three treatments with betony for the nervous system, one concerns trauma and probably both the other two bear some relation to indications contemplated by modern practitioners. Firstly, the leaves powdered and applied heal severed nerves. Other traumas appearing elsewhere in Musa’s list of conditions are ruptures, and in those who have tumbled down from a high place, for which 3 drachms (12 g) in old wine is used. It is not clear whether internal or external administration is meant here, but the former is presumed, since The Old English Herbarium specifies internal ruptures and Dioscorides mentions ruptures with spasms, uterine problems and suffocations, for which cases he advises 1 drachm of the powdered leaves in water or honey water. We have already noted, too, when discussing mugwort, that uterine suffocations are renamed hysterical affections in the later tradition. To this supposed nervous state we can add Musa’s ‘unnerved’ or enfeebled condition (Bauhin’s ‘resolutos’), unless another traumatic injury such as the wrenching of a joint is meant. The Salernitan herbal, however, advises betony for those in a weakened state, where 1 drachm (4 g) in 3 cyathi (135 mL) of good wine taken daily for 5 Read more […]

Cerebrovascular Insufficiency And Depression

Atherosclerosis of the vasculature feeding the brain can lead to a condition known as cerebrovascular insufficiency. This chronic low-grade ischemia can impair memory or otherwise mimic dementia. It can also produce a syndrome resembling depression. This syndrome is surprisingly little discussed in the United States but is much more widely recognized in Europe. The treatment is obviously the same as for atherosclerosis anywhere in the body — elimination of the underlying dietary and lifestyle causes (especially sedentariness) and addition of supportive nutrients and practices (like meditation). Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) leaf extracts have been very rigorously shown to help alleviate cerebrovascular insufficiency symptoms. This is almost certainly due to ginkgo’s ability to reduce the underlying atherosclerosis and improve neuron function despite ischemia. It also seems to stimulate blood flow to the brain, perhaps by acting on blood vessels. The usual dose of ginkgo standardized extract is 80-160 mg two or three times per day. It should be used attentively in patients taking anticoagulants as the combination occasionally but rarely may have a synergistic effect and cause bleeding. Gingko has also been shown to Read more […]

Vervain Of The Americas

Where later writers have included any of the older indications, they are likely to have come from Culpeper. This includes Dioscorides’ indication for jaundice in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and references to lung conditions (Robinson 1868), but these are negligible compared to the importance of the descriptions by Coffin and Cook of the American Verbena hastata. Take vervain’s use in gynecology: Cook discusses vervain as a relaxant tonic with mild laxative effects indicated in recent obstructions of the menses, from which is derived an emmenogogue action and an indication of amenorrhoea (Priest & Priest, Bartram, Hoffmann), which has nothing to do with Culpeper’s original assertion, that vervain is a sympathetic remedy for the womb correcting all cold diseases of that organ. The relaxant effect becomes an anti-spasmodic action, useful in gall-bladder inflammation [British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Hoffmann), acute spasms of bronchitis and pertussis as well as dysmenorrhoea (Priest & Priest), seizures (Hoffmann) muscle spasm, neuritis and ear neuralgia (Menzies-Trull) and labour pains (Coffin). None of these writers mentions abdominal colic cited by the old Byzantine writers, or repeats Parkinson’s ‘all inward 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 […]

Hyssop: Later Uses

Late 19th and early 20th century authors are still following Dioscorides, Robinson (1868) almost exactly (via Parkinson). Hool in the 20th century records a breadth of properties: aromatic, diaphoretic, anthelmintic, aperient, febrifuge, expectorant, diuretic. He says it is a herb highly esteemed in infancy. For bronchitis, hoarseness and cough he gives a recipe: hyssop ½ oz, symphytum y, oz, pour on 2½ pints of water, boil gently for 10 minutes, strain, sweeten with sugar or molasses, take a wineglassful every 2-3 hours or oftener. Mrs Grieve attributes the virtues to the volatile oil which, she says, is stimulating, carminative and sudorific; particularly promoting expectoration, and the diaphoretic and stimulant properties too being useful in chronic catarrh. She says it is frequently mixed with horehound Marrubium vulgare. Although in her day it was ‘seldom employed (as it once was)’ as a carminative and for hysterical complaints, she attests to the use of the fresh green tops as tea as an old-fashioned country remedy for rheumatism ‘that is still employed’. Is this perhaps an echo of Dioscorides’ use for inflammation? The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia records the presence of volatile oil and flavonoid glycosides, Read more […]