Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Pain Relief

Cannabis is a term that describes products derived from the Indian hemp, Cannabis sativa. It has its origins probably in India but now grows all over the world. The chemical compounds responsible for intoxication and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers of the female plants and surrounding leaves. Cannabis sativa contains a wide range of different chemicals including a family of compounds called “cannabinoids”. Of the cannabinoids delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the main compound responsible for the psychotropic activities. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and is mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating back to 2700 BC. There are records of ’its medicinal use in Egyptian papyri of the sixteenth century BC. Much later, the plant is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Greek and Roman sources as a medicinal agent. Early Experiences in the 19th Century Cannabis Tincture was used in the nineteenth century as an analgesic, as well as numerous other conditions and was considered milder and less dangerous than opium. W.B.O’Shaughnessy was the first of the western physicians to take an interest in cannabis as a medicine on account Read more […]

Rheum Species (Rhubarb)

Rhubarb, the rhizome and root of Rheum spp. (Polygonaceae), has been used since ancient times as an important drug in the East and West. It was described in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica as Ra (pα), designating its native place, the Volga (Ra River) basin. It was said to be effective for disorders of stomach and intestine, as well as for pains in spleen, liver, kidney, abdomen, bladder, and chest (). In traditional Chinese medicine, rhubarb (Da-Huang in Chinese) has been used as a major component of some prescriptions for the treatment of blood stasis, in which it produces mildly purgative, antiinflammatory, and sedative effects. In western countries, rhubarb is mostly employed as a purgative drug in folk medicine. Several Rheum species are recognized as being the original rhubarb plants, from which Rheum palmatum L., Rheum tanguticum Maxim., and Rheum officinale Bail, are recommended for medicinal use. All these species with palmately or elliptically lobed large leaves are native in cool, high-altitude districts in Tibet, Chianhai, Yunnan, and Si-Chuang Provinces, China. A Korean species, Rheum coreanum Nakai, possesses similarly shaped leaves to those of Chinese origin. The rhizome and root of Rheum sp. growing Read more […]

Stevia: Stevioside

Absorption, distribution and metabolism In the rat, stevioside (125 mg/kg; p.o.) has a half-life of 24 hour, and is largely excreted in the feces in the form of steviol. Other metabolites include steviolbioside. In this species, at least, metabolism appears to be mediated primarily by the gut microflora. Thus, [17-14C] stevioside is converted to steviol by suspensions of rat intestinal microflora. Conversion is complete within two days. The distribution of a derivative, [131I]iodostevioside (position of the label not reported), has been studied in rats following i.v. administration. Radioactivity rapidly accumulated first in the small intestine and then in the liver. Within two hours, 52% of the radioactivity administered appeared in the bile. The largest biliary component was [131I]iodosteviol (47% of total radioactivity), followed by [131I]iodostevioside (37%) and an unidentified metabolite (15%). Non-enzymatic conversion of stevioside to steviol does not occur. Acid hydrolysis yields isosteviol, while incubation for up to three months under conditions ranging pH 2–8 and 5 to 90 °C does not result in detectable formation of steviol. Stevioside appears to be poorly transported across the cell membrane. No Read more […]

Heimia salicifolia

Description, Distribution, and Uses of Heimia salicifolia Heimia salicifolia, a small shrub of the Lythraceae is the source of biphenylquinolizidine lactones and related alkaloids. Heimia is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical climates of the American Continent and has been described as reaching 0.5-3 m in height. It has sessile, linear lanceolate leaves that are generally opposite. The yellow flowers are solitary and axillary. The fruit is a capsule filled with small (ca. 0.5 mm diameter) ovoid seeds. H. salicifolia has received several common names. In Mexico it is mostly known as sinicuiche and less frequently as sinicuilche, sinicuil, huachinol, anchinol and xonecuili. In Brazil it is locally known as abre-o-sol, herva da vida and quebra arado and in Argentina as quiebra arado. The Mexican name sinicuiche is of most common use. H. salicifolia has been used as a folk remedy especially in Mexico. It has been employed as a diuretic, laxative, antisyphilitic, emetic, vulnerary, digestive and to treat cases of dysentery, inflammation of the uterus, bronchitis, and other chest ailments. In addition, inhibition of a beverage produced from the fermented plant is said to cause a mild state of intoxication Read more […]

Echinacea (E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida)

Echinacea: Medical Uses Echinacea is used for the common cold, infections, and low immune status. It is given with antibiotics and chemotherapy and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Historical Uses Native Americans and Eclectic physicians used echinacea as a natural anti-infective for colds and flu. Native Americans first introduced echinacea to the colonists. Growth There are nine species of echinacea. This perennial will grow in most herb gardens in the northeast. The beautiful flower of E. purpurea, commonly called “purple cone-flower,” may grow up to 6 feet tall. E. angustifolia has narrow leaves and is much shorter, at about 2 feet. It has pink flowers. E. pallida grows to about 3 feet and is much paler. All three species have been cultivated in the U.S. and Europe. E. angustifolia is listed as an at-risk endangered herb. Parts Used • Aerial (above-ground) parts • Whole plant and root Major Chemical Compounds • Alkylamides • Caffeic acid derivatives • Cichoric acid • Polysaccharides • Glycoproteins Not all active chemical compounds are found in each species of echinacea. Mechanism of Action Alkylamides, which cause a tingling sensation on the tongue, produce anti-inflammatory 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 […]

CYCLOOXYGENASE INHIBITORS

CYCLOOXYGENASE INHIBITORS bind reversibly or irreversibly to the enzyme cyclooxygenase (originally referred to as the prostaglandin synthase system or ‘prostaglandin H2 synthase’; (PGHS)-l and (PGHS)-2). Members of the prostaglandin family have a number of proinflammatory or hyperalgesic actions, and consequently many cyclooxygenase inhibitors are used as anthnflammatories and ANALGESICS. Prostanoids are members of the eicosanoid family of phospholipid mediators, and are comprised of the thromboxanes and the prostaglandins, both of which are formed by the complex cyclooxygenase system. They share common precursors in the form of a series of unstable cyclic endoperoxides. The first stage of the transformation of arachidonic acid has the enzyme endoperoxide synthase oxygenate arachidonate, followed by cyclization to give a cyclic endoperoxide called PGG2. These reactions are inhibited by cyclooxygenase inhibitors. Subsequently, PGG2 is converted by a peroxidase action to PGH2. This is a common precursor for a number of different pathways, forming prostacyclin (by prostacyclin synthase), the various prostaglandins or thromboxanes (by thromboxane synthase). See THROMBOXANE SYNTHASE INHIBITORS. The conversion depends Read more […]

Devil’s claw: Uses

Clinical Use ARTHRITIS Overall, current evidence from clinical trials suggest that devil’s claw may be a useful treatment for arthritis; however, it is suggested, as with many herbal medicines, that evidence of effectiveness is not transferrable from product to product and that the evidence is more robust for products that contain at least 50 mg of harpagoside in the daily dosage. An observational study of 6 months’ use of 3-9 g/day of an aqueous extract of devil’s claw root reported significant benefit in 42-85% of the 630 people suffering from various arthritic complaints. In a 12-week uncontrolled multicentre study of 75 patients with arthrosis of the hip or knee, a strong reduction in pain and the symptoms of osteoarthritis were observed in patients taking 2400 mg of devil’s claw extract daily, corresponding to 50 mg harpagoside. Similar results were reported in a 2-month observational study of 227 people with osteoarthritic knee and hip pain and non-specific low back pain and a double-blind study of 89 subjects with rheumatic complaints using powdered devil’s claw root (2 g/day) for 2 months, which also provided significant pain relief, whereas another double-blind study of 100 people reported benefit after Read more […]

ANTIINFLAMMATORY AGENTS

ANTIINFLAMMATORY AGENTS are drugs that are used to reduce inflammatory responses in the body. Although inflammation is essentially a normal defensive mechanism (a reaction to tissue injury, infection, inhalation of foreign proteins), the manifestations may be so serious and inappropriate or involve such discomfort, that treatment with antiinflammatory agents is required. Inflammatory conditions can be acute (as in insect stings) or chronic (chronic asthma, dermatitis and other skin conditions, rheumatoid conditions). A wide range of drugs may be used to treat one or other inflammatory condition, and potential toxicity in relation to the medical condition is an important determinant of choice. The NSAID ANALGESIC group has the widest antiinflammatory use, and their inhibitory antiinflammatory property is due to their cyclooxygenase activity (see CYCLOOXYGENASE INHIBITORS). Here the associated relief of pain is largely attributable to some degree of correction of the underlying inflammatory condition. Some of this group are relatively non-toxic and are available without prescription for use for relatively trivial complaints, e.g. aspirin and ibuprofen. (Paracetamol has insufficient antiinflammatory action to be useful Read more […]

Lavender: Actions

Lavender and several of its constituents have been tested for pharmacological activity. SEDATIVE/ANXIOLYTIC The sedative properties of the essential oil and its main constituents (linalool and linalyl acetate) were shown to have a dose-dependent effect in mice and to reverse caffeine-induced hyperactivity in mice, as well as reduce stress, as indicated by modulation of ACTH, catecholamine and gonadotropin levels in experimental menopausal rats, and reduce cortisol responses in infant Japanese macaques. Inhalation of lavender has also been shown to produce a dose-dependent anticonvulsant effect in both rats and mice. In human trials, inhalation of lavender has been shown to induce relaxation and sedation and to alter EEG responses, as well as significantly decreasing heart rate and increasing high-frequency spectral components to produce calm and vigorous mood states in healthy volunteers. Transdermal absorption of linalool without inhalation produced a decrease in systolic blood pressure and a smaller decrease of skin temperature with no effects on subjective evaluation of wellbeing in healthy human subjects, and another study found that lavender scent was associated with lower fatigue following an anxiety-provoking Read more […]