Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)

Choisya ternata Kunth (Rutaceae family) are bushy shrubs of 2 m maximum height. They are ornamental, with persistent leaves and white flowers resembling those of orange trees whence their French name: Oranger du Mexique or English name: Mexican orange (). In Germany they are called Dreizahlige Choisya, and in their native country, Mexico, they are known as Hierba del Clavo, Flor del Clavo, Clavillo, and Clavo de Olor. The genus name is dedicated to the Genevan naturalist, Choisy (1799-1859). Botanical Traits and Classification The genus Choisya was studied by Gray (1888), Standley (1923), and later by Muller (1940). Choisya neglecta is the nearest to Choisya ternata, differing only by smaller leaflets and inflorescences. The other species counted by Muller are sometimes classified in a related genus, Astrophyllum, but according to Dreyer et al. (1972), the comparison of the chemical constituents of Choisya ternata, Choisya mollis, and Choisya arizonica cannot justify this distinction. Therefore, the genus Choisya contains seven species: C. ternata Kunth, C. neglecta Muller, C. dumosa A. Gray, C. mollis Standley = Choisya dumosa var. mollis Benson, C. arizonica Standley = Choisya dumosa var. arizonica Benson, C. palmeri Read more […]

Artemisia Ludoviciana ssp. Mexicana (Estafiate)

Estafiate or iztauyatl (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana) is one of the most popular medicinal plants in Mexican phytotherapy and is nowadays used especially for gastrointestinal pain, as a vermifuge and as a bitter stimulant. The historical and modern uses of this species are reviewed. The first report of its medicinal use dates back to the 16th century, but at that time it was used for completely different illnesses. Only very limited pharmacological studies to evaluate these claims are available; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antihelmintic effects have been reported. The aerial parts contain a large number of sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids as well as essential oil which has not yet been studied in detail. Estafiate or iztauyatl (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana) is one of the most popular remedies in Mexican phytotherapy. It is frequently sold in markets in the cities and also grown in many house gardens (). It is thus a locally important economic product and a phytotherapeutic resource which requires documentation of its regional or national importance as well as evaluation and monitoring for efficacy and safety. Plants generally are an important medicinal resource to many people in Mexico and Read more […]

Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Pain Relief

Cannabis is a term that describes products derived from the Indian hemp, Cannabis sativa. It has its origins probably in India but now grows all over the world. The chemical compounds responsible for intoxication and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers of the female plants and surrounding leaves. Cannabis sativa contains a wide range of different chemicals including a family of compounds called “cannabinoids”. Of the cannabinoids delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the main compound responsible for the psychotropic activities. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and is mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating back to 2700 BC. There are records of ’its medicinal use in Egyptian papyri of the sixteenth century BC. Much later, the plant is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Greek and Roman sources as a medicinal agent. Early Experiences in the 19th Century Cannabis Tincture was used in the nineteenth century as an analgesic, as well as numerous other conditions and was considered milder and less dangerous than opium. W.B.O’Shaughnessy was the first of the western physicians to take an interest in cannabis as a medicine on account Read more […]

Nabilone — Clinical Experience at the James Paget Hospital

The dose per capsule is 1 mg but we found that this could be excessive for some patients. Therefore, some were started at 0.25 mg by opening the capsule and dividing the resultant powder into four. The initial time for nabilone use has been at night to reduce the potential discomfort of any side effects. Once the patient’s confidence has been developed, the dosage has been increased where appropriate. Those patients who have benefited from nabilone have been through a period of discontinuation to help evaluate the benefits of this drug. The age range of the 43 patients who have used nabilone is from 25–82 years with 75% between the ages of 30 and 50. More women than men were treated, mainly reflecting a large sex difference in the group with multiple sclerosis. The diagnoses of the patients were categorised into 6 groups as the most convenient method of presenting the information from such an heterogeneous group. No attempt has been made to do anything more than describe the effects of using nabilone on each individual patient and thereby evaluate whether it might be of value in pain control. Multiple Sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis is characterised by widespread and varied damage to the central nervous Read more […]

Valeriana Products

There are four species of Valeriana that are important articles of commerce either as the plant material or as extracts used in the production of the commodities mentioned below. These species are European Valerian Valeriana officinalis L., Indian Valerian V. wallichii DC, Mexican Valerian V. edulis Nutt. ex Torr. & Gray and Japanese Valerian V. fauriei Briq.. Commercial supplies of these four species are mainly obtained from cultivation but some plants are still collected from the wild. The first three of these are cultivated in Europe whilst Japanese Valerian is grown and used mainly in the Far East and Indian Valerian is the species grown and used on the Indian subcontinent. Valeriana officinalis is also grown commercially in North America. Most of the data available refers to Valeriana officinalis since this is the species which has received most attention as a commercial crop and is consequendy utilised in Western society. It should be remembered, however, that a large trade in these and more local Valeriana species, as with other plants used in traditional medicine, occurs within developing countries at a local level and information concerning this usage is practically impossible to obtain. In these conditions Read more […]

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 […]

Pharmacology of Poppy Alkaloids: Minor Opium Alkaloids

The pharmacology and biology of minor opium alkaloids have been surveyed previously in two comprehensive reviews (). Thebaine The pharmacology of thebaine was summarized by Reynolds and Randall in 1957 and studied comprehensively by a WHO Advisory Group in 1980. The pharmacological actions of thebaine in various isolated organs have been studied. Thebaine can induce a temporary decrease in blood pressure in anaesthetized dogs and this depressor effect showed a marked tachyphylaxis. In isolated guinea pig atrium, thebaine decreased the heart rate and contractions depending on the concentration. In isolated rabbit ileum it decreased the peristaltic movement and contractions (). The predominant effect of thebaine is stimulation of the central nervous system. In the mouse, rabbit, cat and dog increases in motor activity and reflex excitability were observed at doses around 2-10mg/kg s.c. or i.m. The Straub-tail response was noted only occasionally. The effects of thebaine on body temperature and respiration have also been studied. Convulsions were observed in almost all species of animals including the frog, pigeon, mouse, guinea pig, cat and dog. Transient tremors, restlessness and convulsions were observed in the Read more […]

Pharmacology of Poppy Alkaloids: Major Opium Alkaloids

 The latex obtained by the incision of unripe seed capsules of Papaver somniferum and which is known as opium is the source of several pharmacologically important alkaloids. Dioskorides, in about AD 77, referred to both the latex (opos) and the total plant extract (mekonion) and to the use of oral and inhaled (pipe smoked) opium to induce a state of euphoria and sedation. Since before the Christian era the therapeutic properties of opium were evident, with the first written reference to poppy juice by Theophrastus in the third century BC. Powdered opium contains more than 40 alkaloids which constitute about 25% by weight of the opium and are responsible for its pharmacological activity. In 1803 the German pharmacist Sertiirner achieved the isolation of morphine as one of the active ingredients of opium. Morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverine, narcotine and narceine are the most important bases, with many of the remaining (minor) alkaloids occurring only in traces. Morphine Morphine has long occupied an eminent position on the list of useful drugs. As a pure alkaloid, it has been employed for over a century and a half and, as the most important constituent of opium, it has contributed to the comfort of the human Read more […]

Scopolia spp.

Scopolia comprises a number of species which are a rich source of tropane alkaloids. In the literature the following species and synonyms have been mentioned: Scopolia acutangula Wu et Chen Scopolia atropoides Scopolia carniolica Jacq. [Asia, Eastern Europe] Scopolia hladnikiana Scopolia japonica Maxim [Japan] Scopolia lurida Scopolia parviflora Nakai [Korea] Scopolia physaloides Dun Scopolia sinensis [China] Scopolia stramonifolia [Central Himalaya] Scopolia tangutica [West China] Synonyms are: Scopolia atropoides = Scopolia hladnikiana = Scopolia carniolica Scopolia stramonifolia = Scopolia lurida = Anisodus luridus = Anisodus stramonifolius Scopolia physaloides = Physalis virginiana Scopolia acutangula = Anisodus acutangulus Scopolia tangutica = Anisodus tanguticus Scopolia parviflora = Scopolia japonica var. parviflora Zheng () gives a fourth species of Anisodus: A. mairei. It is not known whether this species has been described as a Scopolia species. Scopolia carniolica from West Asia was naturalized in Europe. As far as is known, in the last century Scopolia carniolica was cultivated to some extent in the Netherlands and in Lithuania. There was Uttle Read more […]

Ptelea trifoliata (Quinine Tree, Hop Tree)

Ptelea trifoliata L. (Rutaceae) is a bush of North American origin that has been cultivated in Europe since the eighteenth century. Pharmacological properties (particularly bacteriocidal and cytotoxic activities) are due to the presence of coumarins and quinoline alkaloids. Botany and Distribution Ptelea trifoliata’s common names include: quinine tree, potato chip tree, and hop tree (the latter being the most widely used today); in Spanish, Cola de Zorillo; in French Ptelea a 3 feuilles, trefle de Virginie, Orme de Samarie – this last name was first used in France around 1800 and is still widely used (). Ptelea trifoliata L., described by Linnaeus in 1753, is extremely variable in its morphology and chemical composition. This explains the description of numerous varieties which have often been raised to the rank of species. The most recent revision of the genus Ptelea is by Bailey () who recognizes only three species: Ptelea trifoliata L., Ptelea crenulata Greene, and Ptelea aptera Parry, although he subdivides P. trifoliata into five subspecies and ten varieties. The Ptelea species are deciduous bushes, 3-4 m tall, with trifoliate aromatic leaves (). A large number of detailed descriptions exist (). There have Read more […]