Pharmacology of Poppy Alkaloids: Minor Opium Alkaloids

The pharmacology and biology of minor opium alkaloids have been surveyed previously in two comprehensive reviews (). Thebaine The pharmacology of thebaine was summarized by Reynolds and Randall in 1957 and studied comprehensively by a WHO Advisory Group in 1980. The pharmacological actions of thebaine in various isolated organs have been studied. Thebaine can induce a temporary decrease in blood pressure in anaesthetized dogs and this depressor effect showed a marked tachyphylaxis. In isolated guinea pig atrium, thebaine decreased the heart rate and contractions depending on the concentration. In isolated rabbit ileum it decreased the peristaltic movement and contractions (). The predominant effect of thebaine is stimulation of the central nervous system. In the mouse, rabbit, cat and dog increases in motor activity and reflex excitability were observed at doses around 2-10mg/kg s.c. or i.m. The Straub-tail response was noted only occasionally. The effects of thebaine on body temperature and respiration have also been studied. Convulsions were observed in almost all species of animals including the frog, pigeon, mouse, guinea pig, cat and dog. Transient tremors, restlessness and convulsions were observed in the Read more […]

Pharmacology of Poppy Alkaloids: Major Opium Alkaloids

 The latex obtained by the incision of unripe seed capsules of Papaver somniferum and which is known as opium is the source of several pharmacologically important alkaloids. Dioskorides, in about AD 77, referred to both the latex (opos) and the total plant extract (mekonion) and to the use of oral and inhaled (pipe smoked) opium to induce a state of euphoria and sedation. Since before the Christian era the therapeutic properties of opium were evident, with the first written reference to poppy juice by Theophrastus in the third century BC. Powdered opium contains more than 40 alkaloids which constitute about 25% by weight of the opium and are responsible for its pharmacological activity. In 1803 the German pharmacist Sertiirner achieved the isolation of morphine as one of the active ingredients of opium. Morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverine, narcotine and narceine are the most important bases, with many of the remaining (minor) alkaloids occurring only in traces. Morphine Morphine has long occupied an eminent position on the list of useful drugs. As a pure alkaloid, it has been employed for over a century and a half and, as the most important constituent of opium, it has contributed to the comfort of the human Read more […]

Artemisia Absinthium L.

Artemisia absinthium L. is a member of the family Compositae (Asteraceae) and is known by the common names wormwood (UK), absinthe (France) and wermut (Germany). The name Artemisia is derived from the Goddess Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have discovered the plant’s virtues, while absinthium comes from the Greek word apinthion meaning “undrinkable”, reflecting the very bitter nature of the plant. The plant is also known by a number of synonyms which include: Absinthium, Wermutkraut, Absinthii Herba, Assenzio, Losna, Pelin, Armoise, Ajenjo and Alsem. The herb is native to warm Mediterranean countries, usually found growing in dry waste places such as roadsides, preferring a nitrogen-rich stoney and hence loose soil. It is also native to the British Isles and is fairly widespread. Wormwood has been naturalised in northeastern North America, North and West Asia and Africa. Brief Botanical Description The stem of this shrubby perennial herb is multibranched and firm, almost woody at the base, and grows up to 130 cm in height. The root stock produces many shoots which are covered in fine silky hairs, as are the leaves. The leaves themselves are silvery grey, 8 cm long by 3 cm broad, abundantly pinnate 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 […]

Humulus lupulus L. (Hop)

Distribution and Economic Importance Hops (Humulus lupulus L., family: Cannabinaceae) are widely grown throughout the world, being indigenous in the northern hemisphere above 32 ° latitude; they have also been introduced into the southern hemisphere, including S.-America, S.-Africa, New Zealand, and Australia (Connell 1986). The hop is a dioecious plant, normally diploid (2n = 20), with a strong climbing habit, resulting in twining shoots reaching as high as 7-9 m in the growing season, the rootstock perennating from late autumn to the following spring. The stem (bine) and oppositely arranged leaves bear coarse hairs. The crop is cultivated for the resins and essential oils produced by the lupulin glands in the flowers (cones) of female plants). Scattered male plants may be grown amongst the stand of females in order to produce so-called seeded hops as traditionally produced in the UK, but brewers producing lighter, lager-type beers normally require seedless hops. The growing of hops was brought to England from mainland Europe in the 15th century and they were used initially to preserve what had previously been termed ale, and which then became known as beer, characterized by its bitter taste and improved keeping Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Rule-Outs And Comorbid Disorders

Anxiety disorders commonly co-occur with other disorders, and some disorders not classified as anxiety disorders may include features of anxiety, complicating the diagnosis. It is imperative for mental health professionals to carefully examine all symptoms in order to perform a comprehensive differential diagnosis. In order to select an appropriate therapeutic compound, the diagnosis must be parsimonious, but at the same time it must account for all symptoms that are evident. To assist clinicians, this section reviews the disorders commonly associated with anxiety that need to be examined when rule-outs and comorbidities are considered. Mood Disorders Depression and anxiety frequently co-occur. In one study, 10-15 percent of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders also had clinical depression, and about 25-50 percent of youths with depression also had an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders and depression are both considered ‘internalizing’ disorders where stress is experienced through internal discomfort (rather than behavioral disturbances commonly associated with ‘externalizing’ disorder, like ADHD). Hyperarousal is characteristic of anxiety disorders, but may also be a feature of depression, as well as Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders

As with depression, anxiety in the pediatric population has often been overlooked or minimized as normal childhood experiences. Currently, it is recognized that anxiety disorders in children and adolescents can cause substantial impairment and negatively affect their social, familial, educational, and developmental functioning, and may also affect their physical well-being. Point prevalence for any anxiety disorder in the pediatric population has been estimated to be between 3 and 5 percent, and up to 20 percent of children and adolescents exhibit significant subclinical or clinical symptoms of anxiety. Without treatment, most of the symptoms continue into adulthood, and risk for additional disorders, like depression and alcohol/substance abuse, increases. It is important to recognize and treat these disorders as early as possible, since successful treatment is likely to improve adoptive functioning as well as overall psychological, social, and physical development. Recognizing anxiety in children may be obscured by expectations about what constitutes normal functioning. While it is expected for very young children to exhibit stranger anxiety and difficulties sleeping alone, by the time the child reaches school age, Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Possible Efficacy

In addition to supplements discussed above, a few other compounds may also have some efficacy in treating symptoms of anxiety. However, since the data that supports the use of the following supplements is extremely limited, clinicians should proceed with caution, and consider the use of the compounds discussed in this section as experimental. St. John’s Wort As described in site, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that exists in many species throughout the world, and it is widely used as an antidepressant. It is available in a variety of preparations, including capsules, liquid, oils, and raw herb to be brewed as tea. St. John’s Wort contains a plethora of active ingredients, including flavonoids, naphthodianthrones, phloroglucinols, phenolic acids, terpenes, and xanthones. These exert a variety of psychoactive effects, and several of these are described below. Of all herbal supplements, St. John’s Wort is the one that has been researched most extensively and there is strong support for its efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms. The use of St. John’s Wort as an anxiolytic is more recent, but a few studies suggest that is may be effective. Davidson and Connor (2001) reported case studies of patients Read more […]

Treating The Common Cold

When using herbs to treat the common cold, the aim is to support the body’s fight against the infection and speed recovery, while at the same time relieving the often annoying symptoms. Echinacea is one of the prime cold remedies that has received much press coverage over the last few years. Research shows preparations made from the pressed juice of the flowering aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea are an effective supportive treatment of common viral infections of the upper respiratory tract and can diminish the severity and the length of common colds significantly. Taking 2.5 ml of the tincture at the onset of infection and taken every 2 hours until all symptoms have cleared, can certainly stop a cold from progressing. At the first signs of infection, hot herbal infusions (sweetened with honey or flavoured with unsweetened blackcurrant / apple juice or liquorice if required) can be given to ease the symptoms and if taken every 2 hours can speed infection on its way. Equal parts of the four following herbs or any of them given singly as hot infusions can be taken in the same manner: 1. Yarrow stimulates the circulation and induces sweating, helping to reduce fevers, clear toxins, decongest the airways and soothe Read more […]

Hayfever

Hayfever (Allergic Rhinitis) Strictly speaking, hayfever is an allergic reaction to grass pollen, which usually occurs at its worst in May, June and July, often a stressful time for children as it is exam time. The term was originally related to symptoms caused by dust when haymaking and now includes a variety of seasonal allergic reactions due to pollen or some other airborne substance. Although most of the symptoms of over-sensitivity of the respiratory mucosa caused by hayfever are more annoying than serious, hayfever can trigger an asthma attack in a susceptible child. Hayfever rarely occurs before the age of five, and children tend to be worse affected during adolescence. Very often, these are children with an existing allergic tendency, who perhaps exchange a former allergic reaction, such as eczema, for hayfever (see Allergies). There may be an inherited disposition to allergies and / or hayfever, or it may be that weak digestion, poor diet or low general health has rendered the immune system and respiratory tract over-susceptible to pollen. Hayfever often occurs in children who have a tendency to chronic catarrh or frequent respiratory infections, as the mucous membranes are already irritated. It appears Read more […]