The use of eucalyptus oils in consumer products

Insect repellents As noted in the introduction, Eucalyptus citriodora oil has been used as a ‘natural’ insect repellent. Depending on the product formulation it is used in, Lemon Eucalyptus (known as Quwenling in China) is up to four or five times more effective and longer-lasting than citronella oil (from Cymbopogon nardus), one of the best known natural insect repellents. p-Menthane-3,8-diol is the main active component of Quwenling and this can be isolated and used as a highly effective insect repellent. Eucalyptus citriodora oil contains up to 80–90 per cent citronellal, along with geraniol, both of which are known to have insect repellent activity but tend to dilute the much higher activity of the p-menthane-3,8-diol. The Mosi-guard Natural insect repellent spray produced by MASTA in the UK contains ‘Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus’ and claims on the label: Approved and recommended by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Field trials have shown effective protection for 6 h after a single application in mosquito infected areas. Also protects against many other biting insects. Mosi-guard Natural is made from a natural and renewable resource. It is kind to your skin and has no adverse effects Read more […]

Pepper in traditional medicine and health care

Pepper is one of the most important and unavoidable drugs in Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha, the Indian systems of Medicine. It is used as single drug or in combination with long pepper (Piper longum) and dry ginger (Zingiber officinale) the combination is popularly known as “Trikatu” — the three acrids which cures the three disordered humours-Vata, Pitta and Kapha and helps to maintain normal health. Maricham, the Sanskrit word for pepper literally means that which facilitates numbness of the tongue (“Mriyate Jihwa Anena Iti Maricham” i.e. the pungent property of the drug obstructs the sensory nerve endings of the taste buds). It also has the property of dispelling poison (“Mriyate Visham Anena”). The various Sanskrit synonyms of the drug given in ayurvedic texts of India describe its characters and different uses. According to these classics, pepper is pungent and acrid, hot, rubefacient, carminative, dry corrosive, alternative, antihelminthic and germicidal. It promotes salivation, increases the digestive power, gives relish for the food and cures cough, dyspnoea, cardiac diseases, colic, worms, diabetes, piles, epilepsy and almost all diseases caused by the disorders of vata and pitta. Pepper is prescribed Read more […]

Herbs for the treatment of skin problems

Internal treatment of skin problems will often be relevant, but it may be appropriate to also apply herb externally for local effects. Alteratives As with the musculoskeletal system, the skin is often the focus for manifestations of systemic illness. For the phytotherapist, it should come as no surprise that alterative herbs are again the cornerstone of any fundamental healing transformation. The therapist is continually faced with the challenge of selecting appropriate alteratives for given individuals. Because of its focus on secondary actions and system affinities, our herb selection model often helps, but sometimes it is not the answer. I have found the following generalization to be helpful. Bear in mind that as with all generalizations, there are many exceptions. However, it is possible to broadly group alterative herbs according to their botany and their impact on elimination. Table Alteratives Grouped by Plant Part and Route of Elimination PLANT PART USED PRIMARY ELIMINATION PATHWAY/ACTION HERBAL EXAMPLES Leaf Kidney/diuretic Galium aparine, Trifolium pratense, Urtica dioica Root, rhizome, wood Liver/hepatic Arctium lappa, Mahonia aquifolium, Rumex crispus Herbs for Read more […]

Zingiber officinale

Roscoe (Zingiberaceae) Common Ginger Description Zingiber officinale Roscoe is an herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m high and with an underground rhizome. The stem grows above ground and leaves are narrow, long, lanceolate, with distinct venation pattern and pointed apex. Flowers are white or yellowish-green, streaked with purple and fragrant. Origin Originate from tropical Asia, widely cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Gingerol, zingiberene, farnesene, camphene, neral, nerol, 1,8-cineole, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Ginger is the folk remedy for anaemia, nephritis, tuberculosis, and antidote to Arisaema and Pinellia. Sialogogue when chewed, causes sneezing when inhaled and rubefacient when applied externally. Antidotal to mushroom poisoning, ginger peel is used for opacity of the cornea. The juice is used as a digestive stimulant and local application in ecchymoses. Underground stem is used to treat stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, rheumatism, coughs, blood in stools, to improve digestion, expel intestinal gas, and stimulate appetite. The rhizomes are used to treat bleeding, chest congestion, cholera, cold, diarrhoea, dropsy, dysmenorrhoea, Read more […]

Rue, Harmala And Poison

It will be useful now to clarify here the difference between cultivated and wild rue, for there is some confusion in the later tradition. Dioscorides writes of the cultivated or garden rue and the wild rue that grows on mountains together as ‘peganon’. He has a separate entry for the wild rue ‘peganon agrion’ called ‘harmala’, by the Syrians ‘bessara’ and by the Cappodocians ‘moly’. It is sometimes called ‘Syrian rue’ but is the white-flowered harmal Peganum harmala from the Zygophyllaceae (USDA 2010). The fact that these plants of different families are both called wild rue sets up a confusion. For Dioscorides’ peganon agrion or harmal is also used for dim-sightedness but there is no internal use mentioned for either the seed or root. Galen accords with Dioscorides in pointing out that the wild form of rue and harmal are both called ‘wild rue’ but differentiates garden and wild forms by attributing heating and especially drying qualities in the fourth degree to wild rue (a category reserved for agents which can inflame and blister the skin) and in the third degree to garden rue. Mattioli tells us that harmal is also deemed hot and dry in the third degree by Galen, and therefore it cuts thick humours, provokes diuresis Read more […]


Glucosinolates yield pungent, sulfur-containing, amino acid-derived aglycones, such as glucobrassicins, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates, that give Brassicaceae, Capparidaceae, Resedaceae, and other families of plants their unique flavors. Similar to other glycosides, glucosinolates are water soluble, but their aglycones are hydrophobic. These aglycones have an oily consistency and are often known as mustard oils. Despite their strong odor and oily nature, these compounds are chemically very different from volatile oils and should not be confused with them. The sulfur-containing cysteine sulf-oxides that give Allium sativum (garlic) and related plants their pungency and much of their activity are closely related to glucosinolate aglycones. Cysteine sulfoxides do not occur as glycosides. Isothiocyanate aglycones such as phenethyl isothio-cyanate (PEITC) and sulforaphane and glucobrassicins indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and diindolylmethane (DIM) have been widely studied because of their presence in broccoli and other commonly consumed Brassicaceae vegetables. These compounds have complex effects on cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms 1A1, 1A2, and 2B1 in various parts of the body, but ultimately, they tend to decrease hepatic Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Sage

Salvia officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Dalmatian sage, Garden sage, Red sage, Salvia, True sage. There are many related species, which include Salvia lavandulifolia Vahl. (Spanish sage) and Salvia triloba L. (Greek sage). Pharmacopoeias Sage Leaf (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Sage Oil (British Ph 2009); Sage Tincture (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Spanish Sage Oil (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Three-lobed Sage Leaf (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The major constituents of sage are flavonoids including luteolin and derivatives, caffeic acid derivatives, diterpenes and triterpenes. The essential oil components vary according to species and origin. Salvia officinalis contains the monoterpene hydrocarbons alpha- and beta-thujones as the major components, together with 1,8-cineole, camphor and borneol, and others. Salvia lavandulifolia does not contain thujones, and Salvia triloba only small amounts, making these oils less toxic. Use and indications Sage is used traditionally to reduce ‘hot flushes’ and hyperhidrosis associated with the menopause. It has antiseptic and spasmolytic properties, and Read more […]


ANALGESICS are drugs that relieve the sensation of pain. Because pain is a subjective experience, arising from many causes, there are many ways that drugs can be used to relieve it. However, the term analgesic is best restricted, from a pharmacological point of view, to two main classes of drugs. (1) Narcotic analgesics or opioid analgesics, typified by morphine, have powerful actions on the CNS, and act to alter the perception of pain. Because of the numerous possible side-effects, crucially dependence (habituation, ‘addiction’), this class is usually used under strict medical supervision and are only available on prescription or OTC in very low doses. (2) Non-narcotic analgesics (NSAIDs), typified by aspirin, which have no tendency to produce dependence, but are by no means free of side-effects. This class is referred to by many names, most commonly non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The latter term refers to the valuable antiinflammatory action of some members of the class. This class is used for a variety of purposes, such as treating mild aches and pains, for fever (see ANTIPYRETICS) and rheumatoid arthritis (at higher dosages), see ANTIINFLAMMATORY AGENTS. Apart from these two main classes, there 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 […]