Yellow Oleander, Trumpet Flower

Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. (Apocynaceae) Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. is a shrub, up to 6 m tall. All parts contain highly poisonous milky latex. Leaves are simple, few, exstipulate and spirally arranged. Blade is linear, 7-13 cm by 0.5-1 cm and glossy. Flowers are large, yellow, 5 cm across, gathered in few flowered terminal cymes. Fruits are green, shiny, globose, 4-5.5 cm across with 4 or less poisonous seeds. Origin Native to Central and South America. Phytoconstituents Thevetins A and B, thevetosides, acetylperuvoside, epipemviol, perusitin, theveneriin, thevebioside, thevefolin, pervianoside I-III and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Used as an abortifacient, to treat congestive heart failure, malaria, leprosy, indigestion, ringworm, venereal disease and even as a suicide instrument. Used in India as an astringent to the bowel, useful in urethral discharge, worms, skin diseases, wounds, piles, eye problems and itch. Used in continental Europe and is considered particularly useful in mild myocardial insufficiency and digitalis intolerance. Its bark is used as an emetic, febrifuge, insecticidal, poison and for reviving patients with heart failure. Pharmacological Activities Antiarrhythmic, Read more […]

Taxol (Paclitaxel) and Cancer Chemotherapy

Taxol is an antineoplastic agent. This compound, first isolated from the bark of the Western yew tree in 1971, exhibits unique pharmacological actions as an inhibitor of mitosis, differing from the vinca alkaloids and colchicine derivatives in that it promotes rather than inhibits microtubule formation. Following its introduction into clinical trial, the drug was approved for treatment of cisplatin-refractory ovarian cancer in 1992 and has promising activity against cancers of the breast, lung, esophagus, and head and neck. Malignant neoplastic diseases may be treated by various approaches: surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy, or a combination of these. The extent of a malignant disease (staging) should be ascertained in order to plan an effective therapeutic intervention. Plants have antineoplastic activities. A significant portion of the product derived from plants serve either as protective agents against various pathogens (e.g., insects, fungi, or bacteria) or growth regulatory molecules (e.g., hormonelike substances that stimulate or inhibit cell division and morphogenesis). Chemical Groups Of Natural Products With Anticancer Properties Cancer Chemotherapy Before discussing the specific Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Urogenital System

Herbs can treat a number of diseases of the urogenital system, including acute and chronic nephritis, cystitis, FLUTD, urinary incontinence, prostate and ovarian conditions, and urolithiasis (calcium oxalate, struvite, and urate). Herbal actions of interest include the renal protective herbs that aid chronic renal disease, diuretics, urinary antiseptics, bladder tonics, antilithic herbs, and demulcents. Herbs that benefit prostate health are also discussed. Renal-tonic and protective herbs Several herbs may be beneficial for nephropathies. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) has been shown to increase plasma and muscle protein and reduce urinary output of protein by improving dysfunctional protein metabolism in glomerulopathy. It can also prevent glomerular sclerosis. In rats with experimental nephritis, large doses of oral astragalus improved renal function, thus supporting the traditional use of large doses for the treatment of chronic nephritis in people. In China, another species of Astragalus (Astragalus mongholicus) and Dong guai (Angelica sinensis) have been used to treat nephrotic syndrome. Both herbs together or enalapril were administered to rats with chronic induced nephrosis and compared with control Read more […]


IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS are agents that inhibit the body’s reaction to infection or foreign bodies. In this capacity, drugs with this property may be used to prevent tissue rejection following donor grafting or transplant surgery (though there is then the risk of unopposed infection). Also, immunosuppressants are used to treat autoimmune diseases (where the immune system is triggered into acting against systems in the body), including disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus, and also to treat collagen disorders. These agents include cyclosporin, rapamycin and tacrolimus, cytotoxic agents such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide. and the glucocorticoids. These will be discussed in turn. Cyclosporin is technically an antibiotic, which was discovered serendipitously during a search for antifungal agents and is unique in having a selective action on lymphocytes. It is a cyclic peptide of 11 residues – some previously unknown. It is particularly important as an immunosuppressant in limiting tissue rejection during and following organ transplant surgery. It can also be used to treat severe active rheumatoid arthritis and some skin conditions, such as severe resistant atopic dermatitis and (under supervision) Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Flavonoids

Bioflavonoids The flavonoids are a large complex group of related compounds, which are widely available in the form of dietary supplements, as well as in the herbs or foods that they are originally derived from. They are the subject of intensive investigations and new information is constantly being published. You may have come to this monograph via a herb that contains flavonoids. Note that the information in this general monograph relates to the individual flavonoids, and the reader is referred back to the herb (and vice versa) where appropriate. It is very difficult to confidently predict whether a herb that contains one of the flavonoids mentioned will interact in the same way. The levels of the flavonoid in the particular herb can vary a great deal between specimens, related species, extracts and brands, and it is important to take this into account when viewing the interactions described below. Types, sources and related compounds Flavonoids are a very large family of polyphenolic compounds synthesised by plants that are common and widely distributed. With the exception of the flavanols (e.g. catechins) and their polymers, the proanthocyanidins, they usually occur naturally bound to one or more sugar molecules Read more […]

Ginkgo biloba: Uses. Dosage. Adverse Reactions

Other Uses Ginkgo biloba is used for many other indications, including improving connective tissue conditions such as haemorrhoids, common allergies, reducing the effects of exposure to radiation and to prevent some of the complications associated with diabetes. In the UK and other European countries, the cardioprotective effects of EGb 751 in myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion are currently being investigated in preclinical studies. ADJUNCT IN CANCER TREATMENT As a herb with significant antioxidant activity, ginkgo has been used to reduce the toxic side-effects of some chemotherapeutic drugs. Evidence from in vivo studies demonstrate protective effects against nephrotoxicity induced by cisplatin and cardiotoxicity induced by doxorubicin. Clinical trials are not yet available to determine its effectiveness in practice. CANCER PREVENTION A 2005 review puts forward the case that Ginkgo biloba should be more widely used as a safe, preventative agent for reducing cancer incidence. This recommendation is based on results from numerous in vitro and experimental studies showing that ginkgo affects many factors associated with the incidence and mortality of cancer. Dosage Range The recommended dose varies depending Read more […]

Selenium: Adverse Reactions. Interactions. Pregnancy Use.

Toxicity Long-term ingestion of excessive levels of selenium (> 1000 µg/day) may produce fatigue, depression, arthritis, hair or fingernail loss, garlicky breath or body odour and gastrointestinal disorders or irritability. Adverse Reactions Nausea, vomiting, nail changes, irritability and fatigue have been reported. The organic form of selenium found in high-selenium yeast is often preferred because it is less toxic. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia states that selenium intake should not exceed 600 µg/day. Significant Interactions CISPLATIN Selenium may reduce associated nephrotoxicity, myeloid suppression and weight loss, according to in vitro and in vivo tests — beneficial interaction. HEAVY METALS (E.G. MERCURY, LEAD, ARSENIC, SILVER AND CADMIUM) Selenium reduces toxicity of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, silver and cadmium by forming inert complexes — beneficial interaction. Contraindications and Precautions Sensitivity to selenium. Pregnancy Use Considered safe in usual dietary doses; safety at higher levels is unknown.

St Mary’s thistle: Clinical Use. Dosage

DYSPEPSIA Although St Mary’s thistle has been most commonly investigated for its effects as a hepatoprotective agent, it is commonly used to treat dyspeptic complaints, such as loss of appetite, poor digestion and upper gastrointestinal discomfort. Animal studies have identified a dose-dependent increase in bile flow and bile salt secretion for silymarin, achieved by stimulating the synthesis of bile salts. Commission E approves the use of crude milk thistle preparations for dyspeptic complaints. TOXIC LIVER DAMAGE Mushroom poisoning (Amanita phalloides) One of the best documented uses of milk thistle is in the treatment of poisoning by the mushroom Amanita phalloides (death cap). Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and severe diarrhea usually occur 8-12 hours after ingestion with extensive hepatic necrosis occurring 1-2 days later. A mortality rate of 20-30% has been observed but can be as high as 50% in children under 10 years of age. Several clinical studies have shown silybin (20-50 mg/kg/day IV) to protect against hepatotoxicity when administered within 48 hours. One report of pooled data from 452 case reports of A. phalloides poisoning showed a highly significant difference in mortality in favour of silybin. Environmental Read more […]