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 […]

New Zealand Medicinal Plants

Despite the small area of New Zealand, comparable with that of California, it constitutes a distinctive botanic region. Of the approximate number of two thousand species of higher plants found, 75% are endemic to the country. Many unusual plants occur and the chemical investigations conducted to date have confirmed the unique nature of the flora. In view of these facts it is surprising that only a few native plants have been commercially exploited. Several of the trees, notably Agathis australis, Dacrydium cupressinum, Podocarpus totara, P. dacrydioides, and Vitex lucens yield useful timber, but the stands of these have largely been worked out. New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax, is cultivated for its fibre which is made into ropes and matting. Kauri gum (really a fossil product) up to a value of £21 million has been exported but it is a declining article of commerce. It has been shown that useful dyestuffs can be produced from a number of plants, particularly in the genus Coprosma, but no commercial exploitation has resulted. Pharmacology is probably the most promising field for extending the use of New Zealand native plants and it should therefore be of value to have a check list of those plants reported to have Read more […]

Group B Strep Infection In Pregnancy

In the 1970s, Group B Streptococcus (GBS), infection with Streptococcus agalactiae, emerged as a leading cause of pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis in newborns. Group B Streptococcus is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract and colonizes the vaginal tracts of many women; it can be demonstrated by culture of combined rectal and vaginal swabs in 15% to 40% of pregnant women on random sampling. Most bacterial transmission to the neonate occurs during birth via passage of the baby through the birth canal, or via ascendant bacteria during labor with ruptured membranes. Premature babies and babies of mothers with premature or prolonged rupture of membranes (PROM) are at higher risk of infection. Group B Streptococcus can also cross the membranes, so cesarean section is not protective and carries additional surgical risks to the mother. Infection is categorized as either early or late onset. Early-onset disease symptoms manifest within a few hours, and up to a week after birth. Antibiotic prophylaxis administered to the mother during labor, as is discussed in the following, is used to prevent early-onset infection in the neonate. Late-onset disease develops through contact with hospital nursery personnel and usually Read more […]

Conventional Treatment Approaches

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidelines in 1996 recommending a risk-based (screening) approach, to determine when to recommend intravenous (IV) antibiotic prophylaxis during labor. It was determined that women with the following risk factors should be offered (IV) antibiotics during labor and delivery, not before labor: • fever during labor • rupture of membranes 18 hours or more before delivery • labor or rupture of membranes before 37 weeks As of 2002, the CDC revised the 1996 guidelines, recommending routine screening for all pregnant women between 35 and 37 weeks gestation, and universal treatment for women who test positive for group B Streptococcus during pregnancy (Box CDC 2002 group B Streptococcus Treatment Guidelines). CDC 2002 group B Streptococcus Treatment Guidelines • All pregnant women should be screened at 35 to 37 week gestation for vaginal and rectal group B Streptococcus colonization. At the time of labor or rupture of membranes, intrapartum chemoprophylaxis should be given to all pregnant women identified as group B Streptococcus carriers. Colonization Read more […]

Korean ginseng: Main Actions

Clinical note — Adaptogens Adaptogens are innocuous agents, non-specifically increasing resistance against physical, chemical or biological factors (stressors), having a normalising effect independent of the nature of the pathological state (original definition of adaptogen by Brekhman & Dardymov 1969). Adaptogens are natural bioregulators, which increase the ability of the organism to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage from such factor (revised definition by Panossian et al 1999). (Refer to the Siberian ginseng post for more information about adaptogens and allostasis.) ADAPTOGEN The pharmacological effects of ginseng are many and varied, contributing to its reputation as a potent adaptogen. The adrenal gland and the pituitary gland are both known to have an effect on the body’s ability to respond to stress and alter work capacity, and ginseng is thought to profoundly influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The active metabolites of protopanaxadiol and protopanaxatriol saponins reduce acetylcholine-induced catecholamine secretion in animal models and this may help to explain the purported antistress effects of ginseng. Ginseng has been shown in numerous animal experiments Read more […]

Green tea: Actions

Main Actions It is suspected that the polyphenol content is chiefly responsible for the chemoprotective, antiproliferative, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of green tea. The caffeine content is predominantly responsible for central nervous system activity and an interaction between both appears necessary for increasing thermogenesis. ANTIOXIDANT Green tea has consistently demonstrated strong antioxidant activity. In a recent controlled human trial, 24 healthy women consumed 2 cups of green tea (250 mg catechins/day) for 42 days. The results showed a significant increase in plasma antioxidant status, reduced plasma peroxides and reduced LDL-cholesterol when compared with controls. Several other in vitro animal and human studies have also demonstrated that green tea inhibits lipid peroxidation and scavenges hydroxyl and superoxide radicals. ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY Green tea extract has moderate and wide-spectrum inhibitory effects on the growth of many types of pathogenic bacteria, according to in vitro tests, including seven strains of Staphylococcus spp., seven strains of Streptococcus spp., one strain of Corynebacterium suis, 19 strains of Escherichia coli and 26 strains of Salmonella spp. Green tea has Read more […]

Selenium: Clinical Use. Dosage

DEFICIENCY STATES: PREVENTION AND TREATMENT Traditionally, selenium supplementation has been used to treat deficiency or prevent deficiency in conditions such as malabsorption syndromes. CANCER: PREVENTION AND POSSIBLE ADJUNCT TO TREATMENT Selenium supplementation is used to reduce total cancer incidence and mortality. Chemoprevention Collectively, geographical studies, epidemiological data, laboratory bioassays, studies in over 12 different animal models and human intervention trials generally support a protective role for selenium against the development of cancer. Populations who live in low selenium environments and have low selenium intakes tend to have higher cancer mortality rates. However, the results from epidemiological studies have been less consistent and show the effect is strongest in males. Total cancer incidence and mortality The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial was a large multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial conducted with 1312 patients with a history of basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas of the skin, which investigated the effects of 200 µg selenium daily (as 500 mg brewer’s yeast) as a cancer protective agent. Selenium supplementation in this population Read more […]