Citrus in Traditional Medicine

Citrus in traditional Asiatic medicine In a comparative study of the use of herbal drugs in the traditional medicines of India and Europe, Pun () found a marked similarity between the drugs used in the two continents. He attributed this not only to the similarity of the vegetation in the two areas, but also to the influence that traditional Indian medicine, in particular the Atherveda, one of the most ancient repositories of human knowledge, had on Egypt, Greece and Rome. He listed the principal uses of a small number of these drugs, including bitter orange peel, which in India is used as an aromatic, stomachic, tonic, astringent and carminative agent, and lemon, which is used as a flavouring and for its carminative and stomachic effects. In the Valmiki-Ramayana, written after the Vedas and one of the most sacred of all religious books which enumerates the virtues of the medicinal plants that Lord Rama (Vishnu) met during his fourteen-year journey around different parts of India, Karnick and Hocking () identified and listed fifty of these drugs with their use as described in the Ayurvedica (or native Indian) system of medicine. The immature fruit of Citrus aurantifolia (Christm) Swingle was used as an fortifier, Read more […]

Solanum chrysotrichum (Schldl.)

Distribution and Importance of the Plant Solanum chrysotrichum (Schldl.) of the Solanaceae family belongs to a group of plants commonly known as “sosas” throughout the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. These plants are used for the treatment of dermatological infections and other skin ailments. Among this group, and as a result of extensive ethnobotanical investigations, two species, Solanum chrysotrichum and S. lanceolatumy are particularly noted, as revealed by the highest index of citation. The two species are described by traditional healers as the most effective herbal remedies for the treatment of skin infections. According to popular nosologies considered as “skin infections”, water extracts from the leaves of S. chrysotrichum constitute the specific treatment for tinae (tirlapedis), scabies and other mycosis. S. chrysotrichum is distributed in the states of Chiapas, Hidalgo and Michoacan, in Mexico, where names such as sosa, berenjena and cuxpeal are given to this plant respectively. Among the highland Mayas of Chiapas, it is known as “kitxpeul” in tzotzil, “k ‘uxbal chix” in tzeltal, and “pajutiek” in chol. It is an erect perennial herb which may grow up to 2 m in height, with spiny stems. The leaves are rough Read more […]

Coptis

Coptis rhizome (Japanese name woren), belonging to the Ranunclaceae, is very commonly used in Japanese traditional medicine as antipyretic, antidote and an-tidysentery. The cultivation of the rhizome of Coptis plant grows very slowly and takes 5-6 years before use as raw material or as a source of berberine from the rhizome. Its rootstock and fibrous roots contain much berberine and other minor protoberberine alkaloids. Berberine is an useful antibacterial agent, and has stomachic and anti-inflammatory effects. Berberine can be obtained from Coptis rhizome and Phellodendron bark and has a wide market in Japan and East Asia. It is of pharmaceutical significance to investigate callus culture of this plant for berberine production. Several researchers have been working on its production. Coptis () has 15 species of small herbs with perennial root stocks distributed in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. The following species are used medicinally: C. japonica in Japan, C. chinensis in China, C. teeta in India and C. trifolia in North America. The powdered rhizome or an extract of C. japonica is a bitter stomachic and astringent. It has been used as remedy for severe headache; a concentrated solution Read more […]

Indian Almond, Katapang

Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae) Terminalia catappa L. is a tall tree, up to 25 m tall. Branches are horizontally whorled, giving it a pagoda shape. Leaves are shiny, obovate, 10-25 cm long, tapering to a short thick petiole. Leaves are yellow that turn red before shedding. Flowers are small and white. Fruits have smooth outer coat, 3-6 cm long, flattened edges, with a pointed end. Pericarp is fibrous and fleshy. Origin Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Madagascar. Phytoconstituents Catappanin A, chebulagic acid, 1-desgalloylleugeniin, geraniin, granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin, tercatain, terflavins A & B, tergallagin, euginic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses Terminalia catappa has been used to treat dysentery in a number of Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, the leaves are used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints while in the Philippines, they are used to expel worms. In Karkar Island, New Guinea, juice from the squeezed leaves is applied to sores and the sap from the white stem pith is squeezed and drunk to relieve cough. In Nasingalatu, Papua New Guinea, the flower is crushed, mixed with water and drunk to induce sterility. In New Britain, Read more […]

Eremophila Species (Poverty Bush; Emu Bush)

Distribution and Importance of Eremophila Species The genus Eremophila (Myoporaceae) consists of woody shrubs and trees which typically grow in low rainfall areas and are characterized by the viscid to resinous vegetative parts, ebracteate flowers and indehiscent woody fruit. In terms of biogeographical distribution, Eremophila is one of the most significant Australian desert genera. Of the 210 Eremophila species recognized by Chinnock, 175 occur throughout Western Australia. Seventy-five percent of the species are entomophilous, the remainder being ornithophilous. The genus is an important component of the semi-arid vegetation of pastoral zones and many species are browsed by animals when the plants are at the seedling stage. Some Eremophila species, e.g. E. gilesii F. Muell. and E. mitchellii Benth., are regarded as woody weeds. Many species occur on impoverished soil and, as a consequence, they are collectively referred to as poverty bush. Since emus favour the fruits of some Eremophila species, the term emu bush is also commonly used. Eremophila species have been highly valued for medicinal and cultural purposes by the Aboriginal people in central Australia. The use of different species in the cure or alleviation Read more […]

White Deadnettle (Lamium Album)

Family: Lamiaceae Part used: aerial parts Lamium album L. is a spreading perennial, common in Britain, found by roadsides and on rough ground in »ny and shady sites. The Flora of Turkey gives 27 Lamium species, including Lamium album and Lamium purpureum. Erect, pubescent, square stems (to 25 cm) bear opposite, fresh-green, dentate, stalked leaves. White flowers occur in whorls. The tubed corolla (2 cm) has a curved upper lip, the lower lip has two to three teeth on each side and the calyx is five-toothed. The flowers are creamy-yellow in bud. It flowers for long periods from early spring. Other species used Culpeper lists white, yellow and red deadnettles. Yellow deadnettle Lamium galeobdolon, syn. Lamiastrum galeobdolon or Galeobdolon luteum is a perennial plant of woodlands. It has yellow flowers and taller stems than the white deadnettle. Culpeper describes red deadnettle as an annual with pale, reddish flowers. This is probably Lamium purpureum L, which is a common weed. The Galeopsis genus is closely related and some descriptions could be of common hemp-nettle, Galeopsis tetrahit L, which is native to Europe and Western Asia and grows on disturbed sites or roadsides. It is a herbaceous annual with hairy Read more […]

Sweet Violet: Echoes, Changes And Additions

With the medieval herbals there are echoes, changes and additions. Macer writes of ‘vyolet’ as cold in the first degree, moist in the second; how it is good for sore, swollen or ‘blasted’ eyes, the root being stamped with myrrh and saffron – no distinction here between the purple and the yellow; for head wounds a plaster of the leaves stamped with honey and vinegar – is this a version of ‘when the head burns’?; and as a foot bath and a binding for the temples for poor sleep due to sickness, ‘and ye shall sleep well by the Grace of God’. The Old English Herbarium carries two uses: for fresh or old wounds (not just the head this time), swellings and calluses, the leaves are applied with lard. Then violet’s use for constipation is introduced; take the flowers mixed with honey and soaked in very good wine to relieve the constipation. Hildegard records a number of uses. She begins with use of the oil for the eyes, against fogginess of the eyes. She gives a recipe for this oil ‘take good oil and make it boil in a new pot, either in the sun or over a fire. When it boils, put violets in so that it becomes thickened. Put this in a glass vessel and save it. At night put this unguent around the eyelids and eyes. Although it Read more […]

External Use As An Astringent

Before moving to current practice, we can trace long usage of tormentil as an astringent in external remedies. Dioscorides advises the decoction of root, boiled down to one third, held in the mouth to relieve toothache, used as a rinse to control putrid humours in the mouth and as a gargle for hoarseness of the trachea. These are also given by Dodoens, who suggests the root and the leaf together. Dioscorides then gives a long list of indications and recommends a preparation of boiled root, ground up in vinegar to keep shingles in check, restrain herpes, disperse scrophulous swellings in glands, indurations, swellings, aneurysms, abscesses, erysipelas, fleshy excrescences in fingers, callous lumps and mange. Galen recommends pentaphyllum to dry wounds. Apuleius advises the juice of the herb bruised and mixed with egg yolk, rubbed on painful feet to take away the pain in 3 days. This usage also is given by Dalechamps and Bauhin, and reappears as a balm for the feet in Gloucestershire. The Salernitan herbal refers to tormentil, which resembles cinquefoil, and recommends the juice of the root placed inside a fistula and the juice mixed with white wine applied for fleck in the eye. Turner finds it similar to bistort Polygonum Read more […]

Nerium oleander

Nerium oleander L. (Apocynaceae) Oleander Flowers of Nerium oleander Nerium oleander shrub Nerium oleander L. is a small shrub up to 2 m high. Leaves are very narrowly elliptic, 5-21 by 1-3.5 cm, dark green, without stipules, leathery and arranged in whorls of three. Flowers are showy and fragrant. Sepals are narrowly triangular to narrowly ovate, 3-10 mm. Corolla is purplish red, pink, white, salmon, or yellow. Fruits consist of cylindrical follicles, 12-23 cm. Seeds are oblong, coma, about 0.9-1.2 cm. Origin Native to southern Europe, and widely cultivated and naturalised in Asia, Europe and North America. Phytoconstituents Oleandroside, kaneroside, neriaside, nerigoside, neriu-moside, neridiginoside, nerizoside, neritaloside, proceragenin, neridienone A, cardenolides N-l to N-4 and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The plant is used in Ayurveda to treat scabies, eye disease and haemorrhoids. It is used to treat parasitic infection in Calabria (Southern Italy). Leaf decoction is used to treat diabetes in southeastern Morocco. Bark, leaf, flower are used medicinally as a cardiotonic and diuretic. Pharmacological Activities Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Anticancer/Antineoplastic, Antifungal, Read more […]

Lonicera japonica

Lonicera japonica Thunb. (Caprifoliaceae) Japanese Honeysuckle, Jin Yin Hua Lonicera japonica Thunb. is a climbing shrub having tomen-tose young leaves and stems. Leaves are simple, opposite and exstipulate. Blade is elliptic, 3-8 cm by 2-3 cm, truncate at base, obtuse and chartaceous. Flowers are axillary, white, and turns yellow upon maturity. Fruits are globose and black. Origin A native of East Asia, widely cultivated and naturalised throughout the world. Phytoconstituents Linalool, luteolin, geraniol, aromadendrene, eugenol, loniceroside A, B, C, L-phenylalaninosecologanin, (Z)-aldosecologanin, (E)-aldosecologanin and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In China, the flowers are used for influenza, boils and carbuncle. In Malaysia, decoctions of dried flowers are used for cooling, flu, fever, headache, and boils. Distilled flowers are used to produce a medicine for treating postprandial stomachaches. Flower tea is prescribed to treat fever, sore throat, mouth sores, headache, conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal ulcers, breast infections, muscle and joint pain, stomach problems, diarrhoea, and painful urination. They are used in the treatment of arthritis and inflammation. Flower buds are used in infusions Read more […]