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 […]

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 […]

Healing Powers of Aloes: Pharmacology and Therapeutic Applications

Constipation Aloe latex possesses laxative properties and has been used traditionally to treat constipation. The old practice of using aloe as a laxative drug is based on its content of anthraquinones like barbaloin, which is metabolised to the laxative aloe-emodin, isobarbaloin and chrysophanic acid. The term ‘aloe’ (or ‘aloin’) refers to a crystalline, concentrated form of the dried aloe latex. In addition, aloe latex contains large amounts of a resinous material. Following oral administration the stomach is quickly reached and the time required for passage into the intestine is determined by stomach content and gastric emptying rate. Glycosides are probably chemically stable in the stomach (pH 1–3) and the sugar moiety prevents their absorption into the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and subsequent detoxification in the liver, which protects them from breakdown in the intestine before they reach their site of action in the colon and rectum. Once they have reached the large intestine the glycosides behave like pro-drugs, liberating the aglycones (aloe-emodin, rhein-emodin, chyrosophanol, etc.) that act as the laxatives. The metabolism takes place in the colon, where bacterial glycosidases are Read more […]

The scope of herbal medicine

The majority of the world’s population has access only to traditional, mostly herbal, medicine, so it could be argued that any ailment or disease could be treated with herbal medicine. Some people living in rich industrialised societies, however, have the luxury of being able to choose herbal treatment from a palette of healthcare options which include orthodox modern medicine. In this scenario the different healthcare modalities are complementary to each other, and the selection of one over another is often a matter of personal choice. Without doubt, orthodox medicine is superior for the treatment of many acute and life-threatening conditions. Herbal medicine, however, has much to offer in the treatment and management of a wide range of conditions that do not constitute medical emergencies. Many common acute illnesses, such as the common cold, influenza, sinusitis, digestive upsets, insomnia, urinary tract infections and menstrual pain, to mention but a few, can be treated successfully by herbal therapy. It is often in the management of chronic conditions, however, that herbal medicine comes into its own. Herbal medicines are generally well tolerated and associated with only minor side effects. This makes them suitable Read more […]

North temperate Europe

Arnica Arnica montana / Asteraceae It is well known that the German poet, philosopher, and natural historian J.W. Goethe (1749-1832) highly valued Arnica montana, and that he received a tea prepared with arnica after he had suffered a heart attack in 1823. Today, arnica is still an important medicinal plant, but pharmaceutical uses are exclusively external, for the treatment of bruises and sprains, and as a counterirritant. However, the task of establishing uses for the plant in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance has proven to be a difficult one. Arnica was hardly known in Greek, Roman, and Arabic medicine, and the first reliable evidence dates back to the 14th century (Matthaeus Silvaticus) and the 15th century. The situation was made even more complicated when this species was confused with water plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica. In lacobus Theodorus Tabernomontanus’ New vollkommentlich Kreuterbuch (1588), there is a picture of Arnica montana. However, the text refers to water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica). Hence it comes as no surprise that the reported uses of these botanically completely different species are often very similar (especially during the 16th and 17th centuries). In the 16th century Arnica Read more […]

Southern and Southeastern Asia

India The current practices within traditional Indian medicine reflect an ancient tradition that can be traced back to at least 900 bc, to written Ayurvedic records. These practices, all holistic in nature, are divided into three principal systems: Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. The most ancient is Ayurveda, literally meaning the “science of life,” and has a basis in the spiritual as well as the temporal. The practice of Ayurveda is aimed at the intrinsic whole of the patient and involves the administration of medicinal preparations of complex mixtures containing animal, plant, and mineral products. Siddha can be considered similar to Ayurveda and is governed by the understanding that everything, including the human body, is made up of the five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. In addition, 96 major elements are considered to constitute human beings and include the constituents of physiological, moral, and intellectual elements. An imbalance among any of these is believed to result in disease. Siddha medicine is based more on a psychosomatic system in which treatments are based on minerals, metals, and herbal products. The Unani medical system can be sourced to the writings of the Greek philosopher-physician Read more […]

America North of the Rio Grande

American mayapple and Podophyllotoxin Podophyllum peltatum / Berberidaceae American mandrake or American mayapple is a poisonous weed which was commonly used in many regions of North America for many centuries. Its main use (e.g., by the Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois) was as a laxative and the resin had been included in the American pharmacopoeia of 1820 for this purpose. Another use for the resin is the treatment of warts. It is one of the main sources of podophyllotoxin, a lignan which has resulted in semisynthetic derivatives essential in the chemotherapy, for example, of leukemia, especially teniposide, which was introduced into clinical use in 1967. It is well known that this substance revolutionized the chemotherapy of leukemia and has saved untold numbers of young lives. Californian yew, Pacific yew Taxus brevifolia / Taxaceae Taxus brevifolia or Californian yew has been used by a variety of West-American Indian groups in the United States and Canada as a medicine, and also for producing a variety of other useful products (canoes, brooms, combs). Very diverse pharmaceutical uses of the root and the bark are recorded and include several reports of the treatment of stomachache and, in the case of the Tsimshian Read more […]

Australia and Oceania

Australian aboriginal societies have for millennia been based on a migratory lifestyle, and at the time of the conquest in the 17th century about 250 languages were spoken among them. Many of these are under considerable threat or have already disappeared, and the cultures have been forced to change extremely rapidly. Until fairly recently many societies still had this migratory lifestyle, but increasingly the Australian Aborigines have settled especially in the central deserts and in the north of the continent. In the south of Australia much of the local indigenous knowledge has disappeared forever, but in the north communities are once again gaining autonomy through “native title” to their lands, and are eager to salvage what remains of their culture. Statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people are the most disadvantaged group in Australia, with high unemployment rates, poor housing conditions, low life expectancy, and high infant mortality and morbidity rates. Surprisingly, few medicinal plants have been adopted by the white conquerors or have made their way to other continents. One of the most noteworthy exceptions is Eucalyptus globulus, which is now one of the most widely cultivated trees Read more […]

DERMATOLOGICAL AGENTS

DERMATOLOGICAL AGENTS are used for a wide variety of purposes and some of the more important pharmacological types and terms will be discussed. ANTIINFLAMMATORY AGENTS are frequently used to treat inflammatory and/or allergic reactions of the skin. The commonest agents used are CORTICOSTEROIDS (of the GLUCOCORTICOID type), which have potent antiinflammatory and ANTIALLERGIC properties. There is a range of steroids available as creams or ointments, which vary in concentration and the strength of the antiinflammatory action of the particular corticosteroid: the choice depends on the severity of the skin condition. Some preparations are available without prescription for minor skin inflammation, whereas at the other extreme some preparations are reserved for severe outbursts of eczema or psoriasis. There are many corticosteroids used clinically for dermatological conditions. Inflammatory skin conditions are sometimes complicated by a coexisting infection, and there are many compound preparations available containing ANTIBACTERIAL or ANTIFUNGAL AGENTS together with an antiinflammatory corticosteroid. ANTIPERSPIRANTS are substances that help to prevent sweating. Medically, they are needed only in cases of severe Read more […]

Paeony (Paeonia Officinalis)

Family: Paeoniaceae Part used: root Paeonia are long-lived, hardy, robust herbaceous perennials. The two main European species are Paeonia officinalis L. subsp. officinalis, ‘female paeony’, which is found from France across to the Balkans and Paeonia mascula (L.) Mill., ‘male paeony’, which is found around the Mediterranean and in Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Iran. A remnant population of introduced Paeonia mascula persists on Steep Holm, an island in the Bristol Channel. Both species contain several subspecies, which are described and illustrated by Halda (2004) and Page (2005). The two species hybridize if grown together. Both species are considered to be close relatives to Paeonia lactiflora. The Flora of Turkey gives six Paeonia species, including Paeonia mascula but not including Paeonia officinalis. Paeonia mascula has stiff stems (to 75 cm) which bear large compound leaves and the plant forms large clumps. Solitary, large, single, red terminal flowers with up to 10 petals and numerous yellow stamens occur in April. Three to five smooth, curved seed pods split to reveal bright pink unfertilized ovules and shiny, blue-black fertilized seeds. Paeonia officinalis is similar with deeply cut divided Read more […]