Sanguinaria canadensis L. (Sanguinarius)

Sanguinaria canadensis L. () is a low perennial with mostly white flowers and thick rhizomes containing an acrid red-orange juice from whence the plant was named (sanguinarius, bleeding). This monotypic genus is a member of the Papaver-aceae family, known to contain a diversity of isoquinoline alkaloids, including the protoberberine and benzophenanthridine alkaloids which are found in many species of this family (). The synonymous Latin binomials for Sanguinaria canadensis are claimed to be Chelidonium maximum canadense, Sanguinaria acaulis, and Sanguinaria vernalis. Moreover, a number of vernacular names of Sanguinaria canadensis have been used, some examples include: bloodroot, Indian paint, red root, snakebite, and sweet slumber. Sanguinaria canadensis is distributed across Canada east to Nova Scotia, south from New England to Florida, west to Texas and north to Manitoba (). Historically speaking, the red-orange juice obtained from the roots and stem of the plant was used by native American Indians as a dye for clothing, baskets, and skin. Medicinal uses of this plant by native American Indians included a tea derived from roots which was used as a treatment for rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and as an emetic Read more […]

The Efficacy of Echinacea Tea

Herbal remedies continue to grow in popularity in the U.S. as demonstrated by expanding sales with seemingly no correlation to scientific research. Echinacea preparations have developed into the best-selling herbal immunostimulants. Nine species of the genus Echinacea are found today in the U.S. and Canada. Native Americans used Echinacea to treat wounds, snakebites and other animal bites, tonsillitis, headache, and cold symptoms. In the early 1900s in the U.S., Echinacea was the most utilized indigenous medicinal plant. After the introduction of antibiotics, its use declined in the U.S., although today it remains popular in Europe. Although Echinacea is processed and sold around the world, Switzerland and Germany have been in the forefront by marketing more than 800 homeopathic products and drugs containing Echinacea (). Analyses of these preparations have shown that three different species of Echinacea are used in medicine and homeopathy: Echinacea angustifolia DC, Echinacea pallida (Nutt.) Nutt., and Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench. (Asteraceae). Even though a number of species of Echinacea have shown an immunostimulating effect, E. purpurea has been the type most often used for relief of symptoms of flu, cold, Read more […]

History of usage of Lavandula species: transcriptions of texts in historical section

Abbess Hildegard When a person with palsy (possibly Parkinson’s disease) is afflicted they should take galangale (a rhizome with similar properties to ginger), with half as much nutmeg (50 per cent of the amount of galangale), and half as much of spike lavender as nutmeg, plus an equal amount of githrut (probably gith or black cumin) and lovage. To these he should add equal weights (amounts) of female fern and saxifrage (these two together should be equal to the five precious ingredients). Pulverise these in a pestle and mortar. If the patient is (well) strong, he should eat this powder on bread, if (ill) weak he should eat an electuary (soft pill made with honey) made from it. So today we might say, for example, the five precious ingredients: 100 gms of galangale; 50 gms of nutmeg; 25 gms spike lavender; 12.5 gms each of githrut and lovage. To this add: 100 gms each of female fern and saxifrage. The second recipe quoted is easier to understand, but less obviously effective. Lavender is hot and dry (referring to its properties under the Galenic system of medicine), having very little moisture (it is indeed a dry herb). It is not pleasant to eat, but does have a strong smell. If a person with many lice frequently Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil

Traditional Medicine Basil has traditionally been used for head colds and as a cure for warts and worms, as an appetite stimulant, carminative, and diuretic. In addition, it has been used as a mouth wash and adstringent to cure inflammations in the mouth and throat. Alcoholic extracts of basil have been used in creams to treat slowly healing wounds. Basil is more widely used as a medicinal herb in the Far East, especially in China and India. It was first described in a major Chinese herbal around A.D. 1060 and has since been used in China for spasms of the stomach and kidney ailments, among others. It is especially recommended for use before and after parturition to promote blood circulation. The whole herb is also used to treat snakebite and insect bites. In Nigeria, a decoction of the leaves of Ocimum gratissimum is used in the treatment of fever, as a diaphoretic and also as a stomachic and laxative. In Franchophone West Africa, the plant is used in treating coughs and fevers and as an anthelmintic. In areas around Ibadan (Western State of Nigeria), Ocimum gratissimum is most often taken as a decoction of the whole herb (Agbo) and is particularly used in treating diarrhoea. It is known to the Yorubas as “Efirin-nla” 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 […]

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 […]

Plantago major

Plantago major L. (Plantaginaceae) Common Plantain, Whiteman’s Foot, Daun Sejumbok Plantago major L. is a small perennial herb. Leaves are nearly all basal, exstipulate, lanceolate to ovate, 5-20 cm long and rosette. Flowers are small, white, in dense spike-like inflorescence. Sepals are broadly elliptic, oblong to rounded obtuse or subacute and corolla are greenish or yellowish, with four lobed and imbricate. Seeds are dull black and endospermous. Origin It is found in Europe, Northern and Central Asia, and introduced all over the world. Phytoconstituents Aucubin, catalpol, scutellarein, nepetin, chloro genie acid, neochlorogenic acid, hispidulin, homoplantaginin, nepitrin, ursolic acid and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses The Greeks and Romans used it as an astringent, to heal wounds, asthma, fever and eye disorders. In Brazil, it has been used to treat skin ulceration (cutaneous leishmaniasis) caused by Leishmania braziliensis.l] P. major has been used in Turkey in the treatment of ulcers by taking the powdered dried leaves together with honey daily before breakfast. Infusion of the leaf has been taken for diarrhoea, ulcers, bloody urine, digestive disorders, and excess mucous discharge. The American Indian Read more […]

Ruta graveolens

Ruta graveolens L. (Rutaceae) Herb of Grace, Common Rue Ruta graveolens L. is a glabrous herb with stem that can grow up to 14-45 cm. Lower leaves are more or less long-petiolate with ultimate segments 2-9 mm wide, lanceolate to narrowly oblong. Inflorescence is rather lax; pedicels are as long as or longer than the capsule; bracts are lanceolate, leaf-like. Sepals are lanceolate and acute. Petals are oblong-ovate, denticulate and undulate. Capsule is glabrous; segments somewhat narrowed above to an obtuse apex. Origin Native to Europe. Phytoconstituents Rutoside, rutaverine, arborinine, rutin, elemol, pregei-jerene, geijerene, furocoumarins, bergapten, xanthotoxin, fagarine, graveolinine and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses It is frequently used to treat worm and parasitic infection. It has been commonly used for the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo due to the psoralens and methoxypsoralens present. It is also used to relieve muscle spasms, as carminative, emmenagogue, haemostat, uter-onic, vermifuge, to treat hepatitis, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, bug bite, cancer, cold, fever, snakebite, earache, toothache and as an antidote especially in malarial poisoning. It is also used as an abortifacient to terminate 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 […]

Echinacea: Background. Actions

Historical Note Echinacea was first used by Native American Sioux Indians centuries ago as a treatment for snakebite, colic, infection and external wounds, among other things. It was introduced into standard medical practice in the USA during the 1 800s as a popular anti-infective medication, which was prescribed by eclectic and traditional doctors until the 20th century. Remaining on the national list of official plant drugs in the USA until the 1940s, it was produced by pharmaceutical companies during this period. With the arrival of antibiotics, echinacea fell out of favour and was no longer considered a ‘real’ medicine for infection. Its use has re-emerged, probably because we are now in a better position to understand the limitations of antibiotic therapy and because there is growing public interest in self-care. The dozens of clinical trials conducted overseas have also played a role in its renaissance. Common Name Echinacea Other Names Echinacea angustifolia — American coneflower, black sampson, black susans, coneflower, echinaceawurzel, Indian head, kansas snakeroot, purple coneflower, purpursonnenhutkraut, racine d’echinacea, Rudbeckia angustifolia L, scurvy root, snakeroot Echinacea purpurea — Read more […]