Ajuga reptans (Bugle)

Ajuga reptans () is a member of the Lamiaceae (Labiatae), subfamily Lamioideae (). It is a small perennial plant, 10 to 40 cm high and common in Europe, West Asia, North America, Algeria, and Tunisia (synonym: Bugula reptans; French name: bugle; German name: Giinsel). It is cultivated as an ornamental plant and several varieties have been described: var. viridissima (dark-colored leaves), var. atropurperea (deep blue-purple-colored leaves), var. variegata (leaf borders are white and aquamarine), var. alpina G.B., var. stolonifera, var. alba G.B. (white flowering). Most plants have blue flowers; plants with white, rose or lilac-colored flowers are seldom. Ajuga reptans grows on all kind of soils, especially under trees and in grasslands. It produces stolons, from which the floral shoots stand up. Normal leaves have a peduncle; leaves from flower shoots have no peduncle. Hybrids between Ajuga reptans and Ajuga genevensis and between A. reptans and A. pyramidalis are also known. Ajuga reptans has been used in treating lung diseases, for gargling, as an astringent, and has bile-stimulating activity. Together with mint leaves, it has been used as an anti-dispepticum (). In some regions, the young plants and sprouts Read more […]

Artemisia Annua in Chinese Traditional Medicine

Yeung (), in a short monograph on Qing Hao gives A. apiacea Hance as a synonym for Artemisia annua and describes the taste and property of the herb as bitter, pungent and cold. Its functions are antimalarial, to reduce the heat caused by deficiency of Yin, and to clear the summer heat. The medicinal uses of Qing Hao are given as malaria, febrile diseases, tidal fever, low grade fever and summer heat stroke. Although Qing Hao may be used as a cooling herb for the relief of symptoms, traditional chinese medicine places great emphasis on treating the underlying cause of an illness and as explained above, diagnosis is often much more precise than it is in western medicine. This helps to explain why complex combinations of Chinese herbs are used; additional herbs (which may be referred to as “minister”, ” assistant” or “guide” herbs are added to the principal (or “emperor” herb) in order to complement or modify its action so that the traditional chinese medicine prescription is tailored for the needs of the individual patient. An example of a prescription for the treatment of malaria using traditional chinese medicine is the classical formula Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang (decoction of Carapax Trionycis and Qing Hao) which is Read more […]

Blood-Pressure Lowering Activity of Tea

Hypertension is a common disorder in humans. Te a drinking can lower blood pressure. There are many Chinese traditional prescriptions, with tea as a major constituent, used in the treatment of hypertension and coronary disease in Chinese traditional medicine. A survey on the relationship between hypertension and tea drinking in 964 adults was carried out by Zhejiang Medical University of China during the 1970s. Results showed that the average rate of hypertension was 6.2% in the group who drank tea as habit, and 10.5% in the group who did not. Clinical experiments showed that hot water extract of green tea possessed a degree of blood pressure lowering effect. An experiment in vivo carried out on rats fed with diet supplemented with 0.5% crude catechins showed that the blood pressure in treated rats was 10–20 mm Hg lower than that in the control group (). A clinical experiment using green tea on high blood pressure patients was conducted at the Anhui Medical Research Institute of China. Results showed that a 10 g tea intake daily treatment over half a year, decreased the blood pressure by 20–30% (). A study was conducted to determine whether the effect in vitro is reflected in the lowering of blood pressure of Read more […]

Obesity-Depression and Prevention of Cardiovascuear Disorders

Excessive lipid induces obesity. This is a physiologically abnormal phenomenon in modern society. Obesity is closely related to excessive serum lipid. Experiments show that tea drinking plays an obesity-depressing role via an increase of fundamental metabolic rate and the degradation of fat. Investigations carried out by French, Japanese and Chinese scientists have also shown that Pu-Er tea and Oolong tea possess a significant obesity depressing effect (). Researches using different kinds of tea revealed that the serum lipid depressing and obesity depressing effects of compressed tea was greater than that of green tea and black tea (). High levels of blood cholesterol induce the deposit of lipid on the vessel wall and cause the constriction of coronary arteries, atherosclerosis and thrombus formation. It is related to the fact that tea drinking decreases the serum lipid and cholesterol level. In the past, atherosclerosis was thought to result from a level of serum cholesterol above 200dl and a relatively low level of high-density cholesterol and high level of LDL. Current views are that it is induced by the oxidation of low-density cholesterol cholesterol that leads to foci of endothelial abnormalities associated Read more […]

Flax (Linum Usitatissimum)

Medical Uses Flaxseed is used for constipation and for intestinal cleansing in diverticulitis. It is also used for menopausal symptoms and sore throats and for its antioxidant effects. Historical Uses Flax is one of the earliest foods known to humans. It is also a textile fiber used to make linen. The seed is used in paints (linseed oil). Flax has also been used to make paper. Growth Flax is cultivated as a crop. Flax: Part Used • Seeds Major Chemical Compounds • Alpha-linolenic acid • Lignans • Fiber • The best source of omega-3 essential fatty acids Flax: Clinical Uses Flaxseed is used for constipation and for intestinal cleansing in diverticulitis. It is also used for menopausal symptoms and sore throats and for its antioxidant effects. It may help to prevent or decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed is approved by the German Commission E for “chronic constipation, irritable colon, diverticulitis and as mucilage, externally for inflammation”. Mechanism of Action Essential fatty acids reduce the risk of blood clotting and thus decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are building blocks of prostaglandins, which help to reduce pain and inflammation; help promote Read more […]

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS

HAEMOSTATIC AGENTS enhance the process of haemostasis, which is the arrest of blood loss from damaged blood vessels, and is essential to life. It involves three key components and their processes: platelets, blood vessels (the vascular endothelium and smooth muscle of the wall), and the blood-borne coagulation cascade system. To an extent, these components can be separated, but proper formation of the haemostatic plug in vivo requires interaction of all. For instance, blood coagulation in vitro is rapid and efficiently forms a clot as such, but it is not the same entity as the thrombus of platelets enmeshed in fibrin that constitutes the functional haemostatic plug which is required in haemostasis to prevent haemorrhage. Similarly, in vivo, in a patient with a deficiency of platelets, there may be spontaneous bleeding giving a purple coloration in the skin (thrombocytopenic purpurea); though the clotting time of the blood is unchanged, the bleeding time is prolonged. The processes involved in formation of fibrin are described in more detail at ANTITHROMBINS and ANTICOAGULANTS. Briefly, some agents are direct-acting thrombin antagonists, binding avidly to this enzyme and thus preventing the key stage in blood coagulation Read more […]

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS

FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS help in the dissolution of thrombi or blood clots. Some agents used clinically are versions of endogenous agents, and others are agents foreign to the body, with a number of modes of action. Blood coagulation involves the conversion of fluid blood to a solid gel or a clot. The formation of a clot helps in the process of haemostasis (see HAEMOSTATICS). The formation of fibrin filament, together with the adhesion and activation of platelets, helps form the haemostatic plug, which serves to block the damaged blood vessel wall. The actual elements of the clot, insoluble strands of fibrin, are the end-product of a cascade largely involving serine protease enzymes, notably thrombin, and blood-borne proteins. A thrombus is the unwanted formation of a haemostatic plug in blood vessels, often within the veins or arteries of the heart, commonly in pathological conditions associated with arterial disease or where there is stasis. Pieces of the thrombus may break off and form an embolism, which may lodge in vessels in the lungs or brain causing damage to the tissues supplied. Thrombolytic drugs are able actually to dissolve thrombi. In contrast, neither antiplatelet drugs nor anticoagulants are necessarily Read more […]

Betony And The Nervous System

When Musa includes three treatments with betony for the nervous system, one concerns trauma and probably both the other two bear some relation to indications contemplated by modern practitioners. Firstly, the leaves powdered and applied heal severed nerves. Other traumas appearing elsewhere in Musa’s list of conditions are ruptures, and in those who have tumbled down from a high place, for which 3 drachms (12 g) in old wine is used. It is not clear whether internal or external administration is meant here, but the former is presumed, since The Old English Herbarium specifies internal ruptures and Dioscorides mentions ruptures with spasms, uterine problems and suffocations, for which cases he advises 1 drachm of the powdered leaves in water or honey water. We have already noted, too, when discussing mugwort, that uterine suffocations are renamed hysterical affections in the later tradition. To this supposed nervous state we can add Musa’s ‘unnerved’ or enfeebled condition (Bauhin’s ‘resolutos’), unless another traumatic injury such as the wrenching of a joint is meant. The Salernitan herbal, however, advises betony for those in a weakened state, where 1 drachm (4 g) in 3 cyathi (135 mL) of good wine taken daily for 5 Read more […]

Wormwood: Bitters

By Cullen’s time the bitters were acknowledged as a particular group of plants with specific actions. Cullen lectured on their capacities under both bitters and tonics, and he divides the bitters into hot and cold, amara calida and amara frigida, wormwood, of course counting among the calida. Bitters are seldom simple, he says, but combined with other qualities. More recently Schulz et al (1998) differentiate simple, aromatic, astringent and acrid types. ‘Proper tonics are bitters’ Cullen says. His appraisal both encompasses the applications we have met through the tradition above, other uses from the past to be covered below, and anticipate our modern conception of their bitter actions. On the common qualities he discusses, he offers his own experience, which does not always corroborate the general claim. The ‘common qualities’ include: 1. action on the stomach; increasing appetite for food and promoting digestion of it, the improvement depending upon an increase in tone of the muscular fibres, hence ‘restoring tone to that organ'; correcting acidity and flatulence, checking fermentation, and relieving the stomach from abundant mucus or phlegm. This improved state, communicated to other parts of the system improve Read more […]

Descriptions of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy

Descriptions of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy by Classification and General Conventional Treatment Approaches A great deal of debate and uncertainty surrounds the etiology, classification, and medical treatment of pregnancy hypertensive disorders. The following discussion provides a brief overview of the salient points of each of the pregnancy hypertensive disorders and their specific medical treatments based on current recommendations. Preeclampsia Preeclampsia is a disease specific to pregnancy, with “cure” occurring only upon delivery of the placenta. The etiology of preeclampsia remains unknown, although there are numerous theories. It appears that it is a complex, multifactorial condition with genetic factors, immunologic factors, altered inflammatory pathways, insulin resistance (obesity, hyperlipidemia, glucose intolerance), endothelial dysfunction, macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies, altered placental angiogenesis, and subclinical infections possibly participating in the risk of developing this condition. Advanced maternal age, first pregnancy, poor nutrition, residence at high altitudes, and lack of adequate prenatal care have also been associated with increased risk. There is a common thread Read more […]