Bergenia crassifolia (L.) Fritsch (Bergenia)

Bergenia crassifolia (L.) Fritsch, a species in the Bergenia genus belongs to the family Saxifragaceae, the order Rosales. For more than 100 years the plant has been known in Asia as a valuable raw material, a source of tannins and pigments. Apart from that, Bergenia crassifolia has been used as a medicinal and ornamental plant. Due to its rich and varied chemical composition (arbutin, tannins, bergenin) the species continues to be the object of pharmaceutical and pharmacological studies. In the light of research confirming the usefulness of this plant as a source of chemical compounds, it has become increasingly obvious that plant tissue culture should be employed to provide ‘a method of rapid multiplication of Bergenia crassifolia as an alternative to propagation from seeds. The second part of this chapter deals with arbutin determination in regenerated plants. The observations are based on the results of the experiments carried out by the authors. Systematics and Distribution of Bergenia Plants The genus Bergenia Moench (Meth. pi. 1794) which is also known in the literature under the synonymous Geryonia Schrank, Megarea Haw., Eropheron Tausch., Piarophylla Raf. and Saxifraga L. is said to consist of 11 species 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 […]

Drosera spp. (Sundew)

“Ancient botanical treatises and pharmacopoeias attribute various properties to the sundew, or Drosera, whose red droplets of mucilage do not dry out in the sun. Certain extracts of these plants serve as treatment for corns, verrucas, and burns. Infusions and other extracts are used against coughs, respiratory disorders, tuberculosis, arteriosclerosis, inflammations, intestinal illnesses, and syphilis. These preparations are diuretic, soothing and even aphrodisiac”.. Drosera extracts are still being used against infections and ailments of the respiratory tract. Plumbagin and related compounds occur in the Droseraceae and are thought to be responsible for its therapeutic properties. Although plumbagin occurs in many species of Drosera the compound is also extracted from species of Plumbago (). Frequent harvesting of natural populations of Drosera in Europe have resulted in the plants becoming increasingly scarce and alternate sources of plants are therefore being sought. Vegetative propagation of Drosera and the production of plumbagin in vitro may serve as an alternative to the utilization of natural populations. Distribution and General Morphology of Drosera The genus Drosera was the first of the carnivorous Read more […]

Respiratory System: Herbal Treatment of Children

The Function Of The Respiratory System To ensure sufficient intake of oxygen it is vital for children to have a fully functioning respiratory system, to have plenty of fresh air and exercise every day and that they breathe properly. The quality of the air breathed in is also of vital importance. Children’s lungs are delicate organs susceptible to external factors including heat, dust, moulds, pathogenic micro-organisms and chemical irritants. The pollution in the air, cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide, lead from car fumes, etc., becomes pollution in their lungs, which is then carried in the blood all round the body. According to Western medicine the main function of the lungs is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and the maintenance of acid-base in the body. We also know that the air we breathe is not only vital to our physiological functioning, but also to our more subtle processes. In India air is called “prana”, the breath of life. Not only are we breathing in gases vital for normal functioning of our cells and tissues, but we are also taking in the energy of the atmosphere around us which radiates from the trees and other green plants and ultimately from the sun. Correct breathing is vital for our nerves Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Respiratory System

Herbs provide a number of actions that benefit both upper and lower respiratory diseases, including bronchitis (acute, allergic, and chronic), feline bronchial asthma, and sinusitis / rhinitis. Interestingly, some of the respiratory herbs are in the most commonly used, mass produced cough medicines available through pharmacies. These include cherry bark, Irish moss, and Licorice. Several groups of herbal actions are useful in the treatment of chronic respiratory disorders, and many traditional respiratory herbs fall into more than 1 group. In terms of respiratory therapy, the major actions are as follows. Antitussives Antitussives reduce coughing either through demulcent action, by removing the irritation (expectorant) action, or by depressing the cough reflex. This group therefore includes expectorants, demulcents, and anticatarrhals. The best known antitussive herbs are Irish moss (Cbondrus crispus), Wild cherry (Prunus serotina), and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Licorice root contains a potent antitussive compound, liquilitin apioside, the antitussive effects of which may depend on both peripheral and central mechanisms. A 50% methanol extract of licorice (100 mg / kg PO) reduced by more than 60% the number Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Fenugreek

Trigonella foenum-graecum L. (Fabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Bird’s foot, Bockshornsame, Foenugreek, Greek hay. Not to be confused with Bird’s foot trefoil, which is Lotus corniculatus. Pharmacopoeias Fenugreek (European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents Fenugreek seeds are about 25% protein (particularly lysine and tryptophan) and about 50% mucilaginous fibre. The seeds also contain flavonoids (luteolin, quercetin and vitexin). Saponins, natural coumarins and vitamins (nicotinic acid) are also present. Use and indications The seeds of fenugreek have been used as an appetite stimulant and for digestive disorders (including constipation, dyspepsia and gastritis). It has also been used in respiratory disorders and is said to be an expectorant. Topically, fenugreek has been used for wounds and leg ulcers, and as an emollient. It has been reported to have hypocholesterolaemic and hypoglycaemic activity. Pharmacokinetics No relevant pharmacokinetic data found. For information on the pharmacokinetics of individual flavonoids present in fenugreek, see under flavonoids. Interactions overview Fenugreek saponins may modestly enhance the antidiabetic effects of Read more […]

Perilla: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

Perilla exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant and anticariogenic activity. Preliminary evidence also suggests hepatoprotective and behavioural effects. • Perilla leaf and defatted seed extracts are specifically used for allergic respiratory disorders including hay fever, asthma and sinusitis. • Perilla leaf and defatted seed extract may downregulate Th2-type cytokine production and prevent theTh1/Th2 balance from shifting toward Th2-type immune responses that may be associated with a range of allergic reactions and autoimmune disorders. • Perilla refined oil is a good source of n-3 series alpha-linolenic acid and extracts should be free of perillyl ketones and aldehydes. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What can this herb do for me? Perilla is used in the treatment of allergic respiratory conditions, such as hay fever, asthma and sinusitis. Preliminary evidence suggests that it may be beneficial; however, more rigorous studies are still required to confirm effectiveness. When will it start to work? Relief of symptoms should be noticed within the first week, although it may take a couple of weeks to show a significant effect. For hay fever, it would be Read more […]

Perilla: Clinical Use. Dosage

The form most commonly used at the moment is the perilla seed defatted extract; however, this review will also include information regarding other forms. CANCER Phase I clinical trials have shown a favourable toxicity profile and preliminary data have indicated somechemotherapeutic efficacy in advanced cancers. However, perillyl alcohol (1200 mg/m2 four times daily) failed to extend the time-to-progression in three phase II studies in patients with advanced ovarian carcinoma, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. All trials were very small and had to contend with high drop-out rates due to intolerabihty of the medicine. Despite encouraging preclinical results, perilla does not appear to be an effective treatment for advanced cancer. ALLERGY Based on traditional use, in vitro and in vivo studies, and human trials, perilla leaf and defatted seed extracts are used for allergic respiratory disorders including hay fever, asthma and sinusitis. The refined oil may also help allergic and inflammatory respiratory conditions by regulating the arachidonic acid metabolism pathways. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial showed a significant reduction in symptoms such as watery eyes, itchy eyes and Read more […]