Stephania

Importance and Distribution of the Genus The genus Stephania (Menispermaceae) comprises approximately 50 species distributed from Africa through Asia to Australia. The importance of the genus in traditional medicine in Asia and Africa is well documented. The underground tubers of the vines are generally characterized by powerful pharmacological effects. Stephania abyssinica is a creeper indigenous to southern and eastern Africa. The leaves of this plant are used as a purgative and emetic, whereas the roots are employed in the treatment of roundworm, menorrhagia and boils. Stephania bancroftii is used by the aboriginal communities of Australia both as a treatment for diarrhea and as a fish poison. Stephania cepharantha (), a perennial plant native to mainland China known by the vernacular name “bei-yan-zi”, is commonly used as a folk medicinal herb. Decoctions from the tuber of Stephania cepharantha are traditionally used in China to treat a number of diseases including parotiditis, gastric ulcer, leukopenia, alopecia areata and alopecia androgenetica. The major components of this crude drug, known as Cepharanthin preparations, are the bisbenzylisoquinoline (BBI) alkaloids cepharanthine, isotetrandrine and cycleanine. Stephania Read more […]

Artemisia vulgaris L.

Artemisia vulgaris L., most commonly known as Mugwort, is a species of wide distribution throughout Europe, Asia and north America. Several other common names are listed by Grieve and Bisset including Felon Herb, Wild Wormwood and St. John’s Plant, noting that the latter name should not be confused with St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum. The historical derivation of these names is suggested by Grieve, the herb having been used over many centuries. Most likely, the name “Mugwort” is linked with the plant’s use for flavouring beer prior to the modern use of hops (Humulus lupulus). Alternatively, Mugwort, may not relate to either drinking mugs or wort, but from “moughthe”, a moth or maggot since the plant has been thought to be useful in repelling moths. In the United Kingdom Artemisia vulgaris has received many local names. Grigson lists 24 names including Apple-Pie and Mugweed in Cheshire, Green Ginger and Smotherwood in Lincolnshire, Mugwood in Shropshire and Mugger in Scotland. Botany Habitat Mugwort is a hardy perennial common throughout temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It grows readily in hedgerows, roadsides, river banks and waste places such as rubbish tips. Clapham et al. () state that geographically Read more […]

Coix lacryma-jobi L. (Jobstears)

Geographic Distribution and Importance Jobstears (Coix lacryma-jobi) belongs to the Gramineae and is a diploid species (2n = 20). It is widely distributed in the temperate zones in the world, especially in humid areas of low latitude. In China, it is mainly distributed in the south provinces and there are wild and cultivated types of jobstears. Jobstears is a perennial root species and has strong root system with thick fibrous roots (3 mm in diameter). The stem is straight, 1 -1.5 m high and has ten nodes and some branches. The leaf is conifer-shaped and 30 cm in length and 1.5-3 cm in width, midrib thick and prominent. Unisexual flower, monoexism and axillary or top-growing raceme. Female spikelets are at the base of inflorescence and male spikelets at the top of the inflorescence. The blooming period is July-September and in September-October the grains ripen. The fruit of jobstears is oval with a hard outer shell. The endosperm and embryo of the fruit is called “Job’s tears” and are utilized for both food and medicine. The nutritive value of Jobstears is primarily as a cereal crop and the kernel is reputed to be “the king of cereals”. Jobstears is also a highly waterlogging-, drought- and salt-tolerant and high-productive Read more […]

Wormwood: Worms And Safety

An action associated with bitters in general and wormwood in particular is that of anthelmintic. Nevertheless, experience is not uniform. Dioscorides, notably, does not document wormwood as anthelmintic. He reserves the designation for seriphon, sea wormwood ‘boiled down either by itself or with rice and consumed with honey it destroys intestinal and round worms, gently purging the bowels’, although it is bad for the stomach, he adds. It will do the same boiled with lentil gruel, and moreover fattens the sheep (Dodoens extends this to beeves, sheep and cattle) that graze on it, presumably by ridding them of worms. Santonicon acts similarly. I can find no reference from Galen to the use of wormwood for worms, only sea wormwood, as Dioscorides. There is a small debate here about Galen’s declaring sea absinthium as of the same sort and taste similar to absinthium, while Dioscorides says seriphon, sea wormwood, more approaches abrotanum than absinthium. Mattioli says it is a case of deciding who is at fault, although Parkinson holds they cannot differ so much in judgment and that the place in Dioscorides or Galen is ‘perverted by some writer’s fault’. Pliny, however, does appear to commend wormwood for ‘worms of the Read more […]

Diseases of the Digestive System

Herbs For Gastrointestinal Disorders Formulas For Gastrointestinal Conditions The formulas below are indicated for gingivitis, stomatitis, and periodontal disease; food allergy gastritis and enteritis; gastritis and vomiting; immune-mediated inflammatory bowel disease; internal parasites (coccidia, giardia, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms); chronic active hepatitis and cholangiohepatitis; and acute and chronic pancreatitis. Strategy Implement appropriate lifestyle changes and appropriate diet. Monitor patients regularly, particularly if herbs are used as the sole treatment for early cases or if the animals are on conventional medication. Doses can be adjusted upwards if no changes of 20% per week have been observed. Doses of conventional medicines may need to be reviewed 1 to 2 weeks after commencing treatment with herbs. These formulas can be made as per the recipe or adapted from other recipes according to patient needs. They are formulated to allow substitution. Gingivitis and periodontal disease and stomatitis Implement dental prophylaxis and teeth cleaning. Use vulnery (wound healing), antiinflammatory, and antimicrobial herbs, and consider immune-supporting herbs. Improve peripheral circulation Read more […]

Herbs For Gastrointestinal Disorders

In herbal medicine, there is a recognized fundamental linkage between the gut and systemic health in conditions as widely ranging as asthma, atopy, autoimmune disease, and even arthritis. This is important, considering that the gut plays a significant role in immune function. Herbalists emphasize the health of the digestive system, bowel movements, and any symptoms related to gut function — even mild digestive disturbances such as burping, mild constipation, inconsistent stools, or excessive flatulence are always considered significant, even if not the reason for presentation for consultation. The herbs outlined below are useful in gastrointestinal health and disease management and are supported by traditional use or research. The lists are by no means complete, and there are differences in the potency of the actions of the individual herbs. However, by knowing the particulars of the patient, an herb might be chosen for its breadth of action when more than 1 system is involved or for a particularly strong action that is needed. Sometimes only a gentle stimulation, triggering an appropriate reflex response or dampening a response, may be all that’s needed to reach equilibrium again. The beauty and art of herbal Read more […]

ANTHELMINTICS

ANTHELMINTICS (anthelminthic drugs) are used to treat infections by parasitic organisms of the helminths family (helminthos, a worm). A large proportion of humankind harbours helminths of one species or another. In some cases there may only be minor discomfort, but in many cases there is serious morbidity. The form of treatment depends in part on the form of the infection. Intestinal forms include infection by tapeworms, including Taenia species. Tissue forms include Trematodes or flukes (genus Schistosoma, class Trematoda, phylum Platyhelminthes) cause schistosomiasis — or bilharziasis. The drugs that treat fluke infection by Schistosoma mansoni, S.japonicum and S. haematobium are called ANTISCHISTOSOMES. In all cases there is a complicated life cycle in which hosts other than humans are utilized. Treatment varies with the stage of the life cycle. Anthelmintic drugs, in order to act, must be capable of penetrating the cuticle of the worm or pass into its alimentary tract. They work in a variety of ways to damage the worm, causing paralysis, narcosis, or damaging its cuticle and so allowing partial digestion. Some drugs interfere with the metabolism, which may be very species-dependent. Benzimidazoles include albendazole, Read more […]