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 […]

Treating The Common Cold

When using herbs to treat the common cold, the aim is to support the body’s fight against the infection and speed recovery, while at the same time relieving the often annoying symptoms. Echinacea is one of the prime cold remedies that has received much press coverage over the last few years. Research shows preparations made from the pressed juice of the flowering aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea are an effective supportive treatment of common viral infections of the upper respiratory tract and can diminish the severity and the length of common colds significantly. Taking 2.5 ml of the tincture at the onset of infection and taken every 2 hours until all symptoms have cleared, can certainly stop a cold from progressing. At the first signs of infection, hot herbal infusions (sweetened with honey or flavoured with unsweetened blackcurrant / apple juice or liquorice if required) can be given to ease the symptoms and if taken every 2 hours can speed infection on its way. Equal parts of the four following herbs or any of them given singly as hot infusions can be taken in the same manner: 1. Yarrow stimulates the circulation and induces sweating, helping to reduce fevers, clear toxins, decongest the airways and soothe Read more […]

Sinusitis

If the sinuses become congested and inflamed following a cold, flu or chronic catarrh, this can predispose to a sinus infection, either viral or bacterial. The resultant pain and swelling around the nose and eyes, as well as headaches and even toothache, can be quite distressing for children. Nasal congestion, sinusitis, postnasal drip and the irritating cough that can accompany it respond well to herbal treatment and dietary changes. Chronic sinusitis can also be related to overproduction of mucus in an attempt by the body to cleanse itself of toxins that are not being adequately eliminated elsewhere. Lack of fresh air and exercise, constipation and insufficient fluid intake and urination can all be contributory factors. Sinusitis can also be caused by atmospheric pollution such as passive smoking. Alternatively blockage and infection in the sinuses can be related to over-production of mucus due to food intolerance, most often to cow’s milk and milk products. Atopic diseases such as rhinitis are a common feature of cow’s milk allergy. A diet that reduces mucus, avoiding milk, sugar, wheat and excess red meats, and includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds, and essential fatty acids is recommended. Read more […]

The Bach Flowers in practice

In complementary medicine there is an emphasis on the treatment of the person as a whole rather than as a collection of symptoms. This extends to addressing the emotional state because there is such a strong relationship between the physical body and a person’s state of mind. There is plenty of evidence that emotions will affect the body in a tangible and physical way. A good example of this is nervousness. On a physical level nervousness can manifest as trembling, nausea, perspiration and diarrhoea. Each of these symptoms can be treated, but the cause of the nervousness has not been addressed. Even a prescription that addresses all of these symptoms will not ‘cure’ the person experiencing them. A person feeling nervous may be thinking ‘what if I make a mistake?’ or ‘everybody will be looking at me’. It is these thoughts that are causing the physical symptoms. Going a level deeper might determine that it is the ‘fear’ of making a mistake or a lack of self-confidence that is causing the thought process. So, although the physical symptoms of nervousness can be similar for many people, the underlying thoughts can be very different. The physical manifestations of these thoughts over a period of time will affect the body Read more […]

Nervous Affections

There are writers other than Grieve who consider mugwort a nervine. Ibn Sina records the benefit of artemisia in headache due to a cold cause and in nasal catarrh while the Salernitan herbal, reflecting Arabic influences, recommends a hot opiate taken with a decoction of artemisia for migraine. Bauhin cites the empiric Wirtemberg, who guarantees relieving within an hour a headache due to cold by washing the head with a decoction of mugwort in wine, then laying on the hot leaves. This is a version of a cure for migraine from Arnold de Villanova, Bauhin points out, mentioning also that mugwort in wine or lavender water can be used in cases of paralysis. Other uses in Bauhin’s day include inducing sleep, treating scabs on the head, clearing jaundice and preventing dropsy, and reversing prolapse of the anus. In this last case, the anus is first fumigated with myrrh Commiphora molmol and colophonia before a hot poultice of mugwort cooked in red wine is applied. Quincy classifies uterine medicines under nervous simples, where these ‘hysterics’ must be differentiated from carminatives and from cephalics and cordials, now under one heading for ‘what is cordial must be cephalic as the head hath a principal share in agreeable 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 […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cola

Cola acuminata Schott & Endl. or Cola nitida Schott & Endl. (Sterculiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Guru nut, Kola. Garcinia kola Heckel, Sterculia acuminata Beauv. Pharmacopoeias Cola (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents Cola seed contains xanthine derivatives, mainly caffeine (1.5 to 3%) to which it may be standardised, with traces of theobromine and theophylline. Other constituents include flavonoids from the flavanol group (such as catechin and epicatechin), amines, an anthocyanin pigment (kola red) and betaine. Use and indications The main use of cola seed is as a stimulant for depression, tiredness and poor appetite, and as a diuretic. Both uses can be attributed to the caffeine content. Cola is also used as flavouring agent in the manufacture of soft drinks. Pharmacokinetics For the pharmacokinetics of caffeine, see caffeine. For information on the pharmacokinetics of individual flavonoids present in cola, see under flavonoids. Interactions overview Cola contains significant amounts of caffeine, therefore the interactions of caffeine, should be applied to cola, unless the product is specified as decaffeinated. By Read more […]

Rue

Ruta graveolens The genus includes six species found in Europe. The Flora of Turkey gives two Ruta species, not including Ruta graveolens. Ruta graveolens L. is a native of southeastern Europe but is widely naturalized in southern Europe and cultivated worldwide. It is a shrubby perennial with a distinctive smell. Smooth erect stems (14-45 cm) bear alternate, stalked bluish-grey-green pinnate leaves with deeply lobed obovate leaflets. Shiny yellow flowers with four spoon-shaped petals occur in terminal umbel-like groups in June-August. A smooth green capsule containing many seeds develops in each flower while other flowers around are still coming into flower. Other species used Ruta angustifolia Pers. and Ruta chalepensis L. are found in southern Europe and are similar but with fringed cilia on the petal edge. Quality All Ruta species are associated with phytophotodermatitis (see below) and plants should not be touched with bare hands, especially on sunny days. Rue is included among the plants discussed in this book not because we ourselves use it, but because of its reputation as a great healing medicine in the Western herbal tradition and the suspicion that it is a neglected remedy. Its application extends Read more […]

Rue: Anthelmintic And Spasmolytic

Another traditional use for rue is as an anthelmintic. Dioscorides wants it boiled in olive oil and drunk to remove intestinal worms. This indication passes down through the Arabic and Renaissance sources, then is rarely mentioned, although Cullen recommends a strong decoction as an enema for ascarides in the rectum. Williamson states that the herb is reportedly anthelmintic and recent ethnobotanic research shows that rue is a popular traditional medicine in rural parts of Italy for worms and externally against head lice and parasites. Despite being a non-indigenous herb, it is also in much demand by the people of the Bredasdorp/Elim area of South Africa not only for worms but also for bladder and kidney problems, convulsions, diabetes, fever, headache, stomach complaints and sinus problems, in doses of 1 teaspoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water. An anthelmintic action is derived from the volatile oils and bitterness of rue and leads us to consider the plant’s actions in the digestive tract. Dioscorides notes that eaten or drunk it stops diarrhoea and, taken with dried dill Anethum graveolens, abdominal colic. Pliny says that the pounded leaves in wine with cheese are given to patients with dysentery. Rue soon Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Guarana

Paullinia cupana Kunth (Sapindaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Brazilian cocoa. Paullinia sorbilis. Constituents Guarana seeds contain xanthine derivatives; principally caffeine (also known as guaranine, up to 7%), with theobromine, theophylline and others, and small amounts of flavonoids, from the flavanol group, such as catechin. Other constituents include saponins and an essential oil containing estragole and anethole. Use and indications The main use is as a tonic or stimulant for tiredness and to promote alertness, which can be attributed to the caffeine content. Pharmacokinetics The pharmacokinetics of caffeine are discussed under caffeine. Interactions overview Guarana contains significant amounts of caffeine, therefore the interactions of caffeine, are relevant to guarana. Two case reports describe muscular disorders, which were related to the use of guarana-containing herbal supplements. For mention of a study in which a herbal supplement containing guarana and black tea, among other ingredients, slightly increased blood pressure, see Tea + Antihypertensives. Guarana + Antihypertensives For mention of a study in which a herbal supplement containing guarana and black tea, among other ingredients, Read more […]