The Medicinal Uses of Thyme

The uses of thyme, Thymus vulgaris and other Thymus species are well known, and extensive parts of the world get benefit from this plant group in medicinal and non-medicinal respects. Following the development of the medicinal uses of thyme we can see that thyme has changed from a traditional herb to a serious drug in rational phytotherapy. This is due to many pharmacological in vitro experiments carried out during the last decades, and even a few clinical tests. The studies have revealed well defined pharmacological activities of both, the essential oils and the plant extracts, the antibacterial and spasmolytical properties being the most important ones. The use of thyme in modern phytotherapy is based on this knowledge, whereas the traditional use of thyme describes only empirical results and often debatable observations. Therefore it seems necessary to present here the data available on the pharmacodynamics of thyme and thyme preparations in order to substantiate the use of thyme in modern medicine. The non-medicinal use of thyme is no less important, because thyme (mainly Thymus vulgaris) is used in the food and aroma industries. It serves as a preservative for foods and is a culinary ingredient widely used as Read more […]

Healing Powers of Aloes

Aloe is a medicinal plant that has maintained its popularity over the course of time. Three distinct preparations of aloe plants are mostly used in a medicinal capacity: aloe latex (=aloe); aloe gel (=aloe vera); and, aloe whole leaf (=aloe extract). Aloe latex is used for its laxative effect; aloe gel is used topically for skin ailments, such as wound healing, psoriasis, genital herpes and internally by oral administration in diabetic and hyperlipidaemic patients and to heal gastric ulcers; and, aloe extract is potentially useful for cancer and AIDS. The use of honey may make the aloe extract therapy palatable and more efficient. Aloe preparations, especially aloe gel, have been reported to be chemically unstable and may deteriorate over a short time period. In addition, hot water extracts may not contain adequate concentrations of active ingredients and purified fractions may be required in animal studies and clinical trials. Therefore it should be kept in mind that, in some cases, the accuracy of the listed actions may be uncertain and should be verified by further studies. There are at least 600 known species of Aloe (Family Liliaceae), many of which have been used as botanical medicines in many countries for Read more […]

Marigold / Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Marigold: Medical Uses Calendula is used externally for skin irritations and wound healing. Historical Uses Calendula infusion has been used for breaking fevers and treating conjunctivitis. It has also been used for its antispasmodic and stimulant effects. The tincture has been applied to sprains. It was used during the Civil War as an antiseptic for wounds. It is also called pot marigold. Growth A member of the Asteraceae family, calendula can be grown in herb gardens. It is an annual plant with yellowish-orange petals that open and close with the sun. Plant it in late spring in temperate climates; it prefers well-drained soil. Pick the flower heads when they open and dry them on paper in a warm, dark place. Separate the petals from the head and store them in dark jars. They can be used to make calendula cream or oil. Part Used • Flower petals Major Chemical Compounds • Carotenoids • Volatile oil • Mucilage • Saponins () Marigold: Clinical Uses Calendula is used externally for skin irritations and wound healing and for juvenile acne. It is approved for use by the German Commission E for wound healing. Mechanism of Action Calendula has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties; Read more […]

Slippery elm: Background. Actions

Common Name Slippery elm Other Names American elm, Indian elm, moose elm, red elm, sweet elm, winged elm Botanical Name / Family Ulmus fulvus or Ulmus rubra (family Ulmaceae) According to current botanical nomenclature, it should now be referred to as Ulmus rubra. Plant Part Used Dried inner bark Historical Note The dried inner bark of the slippery elm tree was a popular remedy used by many Native American tribes, and subsequently taken up by European settlers. It was mixed with water and applied topically to treat wounds, bruises and skin irritations, and used internally for sore throat, coughs and gastrointestinal conditions. When mixed with milk, it was used as a nutritious gruel for children and convalescents. It also gained a reputation as an effective wound healer among soldiers during the American Civil War. From 1820 until 1960 it was listed in the US Pharmacopeia as a demulcent, emollient and antitussive. The name ‘slippery elm’ refers to the slippery consistency of the inner bark when it comes into contact with water. Chemical Components The inner bark chiefly contains mucilage (various hexoses, pentoses, methylpentoses), glucose, polyuronides, tannins, galacturonicacid, L-rhamnose, D-galactose, Read more […]