Chamomile: Traditional Use and Therapeutic Indications

Traditional Use Chamomile has been known for centuries and is well established in therapy. In traditional folk medicine it is found in the form of chamomile tea, which is drunk internally in cases of painful gastric and intestinal complaints connected with convulsions such as diarrhea and flatulence, but also with inflammatory gastric and intestinal diseases such as gastritis and enteritis. Externally chamomile is applied in the form of hot compresses to badly healing wounds, such as for a hip bath with abscesses, furuncles, hemorrhoids, and female diseases; as a rinse of the mouth with inflammations of the oral cavity and the cavity of the pharynx; as chamomile steam inhalation for the treatment of acne vulgaris and for the inhalation with nasal catarrhs and bronchitis; and as an additive to baby baths. In Roman countries it is quite common to use chamomile tea even in restaurants or bars and finally even in the form of a concentrated espresso. This is also a good way of fighting against an upset stomach due to a sumptuous meal, plenty of alcohol, or nicotine. In this case it is not easy to draw a line and find out where the limit to luxury is. Clinic and practice Preliminary remark The suitability of the empirical Read more […]

Healing Powers of Aloes: Pharmacology and Therapeutic Applications

Constipation Aloe latex possesses laxative properties and has been used traditionally to treat constipation. The old practice of using aloe as a laxative drug is based on its content of anthraquinones like barbaloin, which is metabolised to the laxative aloe-emodin, isobarbaloin and chrysophanic acid. The term ‘aloe’ (or ‘aloin’) refers to a crystalline, concentrated form of the dried aloe latex. In addition, aloe latex contains large amounts of a resinous material. Following oral administration the stomach is quickly reached and the time required for passage into the intestine is determined by stomach content and gastric emptying rate. Glycosides are probably chemically stable in the stomach (pH 1–3) and the sugar moiety prevents their absorption into the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and subsequent detoxification in the liver, which protects them from breakdown in the intestine before they reach their site of action in the colon and rectum. Once they have reached the large intestine the glycosides behave like pro-drugs, liberating the aglycones (aloe-emodin, rhein-emodin, chyrosophanol, etc.) that act as the laxatives. The metabolism takes place in the colon, where bacterial glycosidases are Read more […]

Taxol and Cancer Chemotherapy: Natural Products

Vinca Alkaloids The vinca alkaloids (vinblastine, vincristine, and vindesine), which bind to tubulin, block mitosis with metaphase arrest. Vinca alkaloids are used for the following types of cancer: • Acute lymphoid leukemia: In the induction phase, vincristine is used with prednisone. • Acute myelomonocytic or monocytic leukemia: Cytarabine, vineristine, and prednisone. • Hodgkin’s disease: Mechlorethamine, Oncovin (vincristine), procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP). • Nodular lymphoma: Cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), and prednisone (CVP). • Diffuse histiocytic lymphoma: Cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP); bleomycin, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), and prednisone (BACOP); or cyclophosphamide, Oncovin (vincristine), methotrexate, and cytarabine (COMA). • Wilms’ tumor: Dactinomycin and vincristine. • Ewing’s sarcoma: Cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, or vincristine. • Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma: Cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, or vincristine. • Bronchogenic carcinoma: Doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine. The chief toxicity associated with vinblastine use is bone marrow depression. Read more […]

Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)

Clinical Uses Feverfew is used to prevent and treat migraine headaches. Historical Uses Traditionally, feverfew was used to manage labor pains, to reduce fevers, and to repel insects. Growth Feverfew is a member of the daisy family and may be grown in herb gardens in the spring. The plant prefers dry soil and sun. Feverfew: Part Used • Leaves Major Chemical Compounds • Sesquiterpene lactones, primarily parthenolide Feverfew: Clinical Uses Feverfew is used to prevent migraine headaches and also to treat migraine headaches. Mechanism of Action The mechanism by which feverfew works is not fully understood. It may act like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by interfering with the first step of thromboxane synthesis (inhibiting prostaglandin biosynthesis), but it differs from salicylates in that it does not inhibit cyclo-oxygenation by prostaglandin synthase. Feverfew inhibits serotonin release from platelets and polymor-phonuclear leukocyte granules, which benefits patients with migraines or arthritis (The Lawrence Review of Natural Products, 1994). It has shown antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in animals. Feverfew: Dosage To be effective at preventing migraines, the parthenolide Read more […]

GASTRIC SECRETION INHIBITORS

GASTRIC SECRETION INHIBITORS act at some stage in the control process to inhibit the enzymic or gastric acid secretions of the stomach, with the latter being a major therapeutic target. The neuronal, hormonal and paracrine control of gastric acid secretion from the parietal cells of the gastric mucosa is complex. The pathways involved include acetylcholine via the parasympathetic innervation of the stomach, the hormone gastrin. the paracrine agent histamine and possibly the paracrine hormone gastrin-releasing peptide. Anticholinergic agents have not proved very valuable in the long-run, having a limited ability to reduce acid secretion at doses that can be tolerated in view of widespread side-effects. Some more recently developed agents show gastric-selectivity (they are Mrcholinoceptor-preferring ligands, which may be the reason for their selectivity), e.g. pirenzepine and telenzepine: see muscarinic cholinoceptor antagonists. Gastrin receptor antagonists and gastrin-releasing peptide antagonists have now been developed for experimental use, but it is not yet clear if either will be useful clinically. See BOMBESIN RECEPTOR ANTAGONISTS; CHOLECYSTOKININ RECEPTOR ANTAGONISTS. Histamine H2-receptor antagonists Read more […]

White Deadnettle (Lamium Album)

Family: Lamiaceae Part used: aerial parts Lamium album L. is a spreading perennial, common in Britain, found by roadsides and on rough ground in »ny and shady sites. The Flora of Turkey gives 27 Lamium species, including Lamium album and Lamium purpureum. Erect, pubescent, square stems (to 25 cm) bear opposite, fresh-green, dentate, stalked leaves. White flowers occur in whorls. The tubed corolla (2 cm) has a curved upper lip, the lower lip has two to three teeth on each side and the calyx is five-toothed. The flowers are creamy-yellow in bud. It flowers for long periods from early spring. Other species used Culpeper lists white, yellow and red deadnettles. Yellow deadnettle Lamium galeobdolon, syn. Lamiastrum galeobdolon or Galeobdolon luteum is a perennial plant of woodlands. It has yellow flowers and taller stems than the white deadnettle. Culpeper describes red deadnettle as an annual with pale, reddish flowers. This is probably Lamium purpureum L, which is a common weed. The Galeopsis genus is closely related and some descriptions could be of common hemp-nettle, Galeopsis tetrahit L, which is native to Europe and Western Asia and grows on disturbed sites or roadsides. It is a herbaceous annual with hairy Read more […]

Heartsease: Modern Applications

Grieve offers many more names for this plant, among them: love lies bleeding, love idol, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Kit run in the fields, stepmother, pink-eyed John, bouncing Bet. Discussing the names, she tells how the plant was prized for its potency as a love charm ‘in ancient days’, hence perhaps its name heartsease. Along with the uses familiar from the Renaissance authors, Grieve records the flowers were formerly considered cordial and good in diseases of the heart, attributing to this use a further possible origin of the name heartsease. Grieve offers no source for use of the plant as cordial. There is no obvious mention of this in our authors up to this point. Perhaps it stems more from a folk tradition, or perhaps even from a misinterpretation somewhere of the word angina. Leyel (1949) accords the herb cordial properties. She cites the past uses as in our authors, adds ‘a good herb in disorders of the blood’, and mentions its use in ‘moist cutaneous eruptions in children’, particularly crusta lactea and tinea capitis. Then she continues ‘it has derived the name heartsease partly from its early use as a heart tonic and it can be taken quite safely to relieve palpitation of the heart and to soothe a tired and Read more […]

Heartburn

Heartburn (Gastroesophageal Reflux) In Pregnancy Heartburn is caused by a reflux of gastric acids into the lower esophagus, usually occurring after meals or when lying down. The gastric acids irritate the esophagus, causing a burning sensation behind the sternum that may extend into the neck and face, and may be accompanied by regurgitation, nausea, and hypersalivation. Inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus may result. Up to two-thirds of women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Only rarely it is an exacerbation of preexisting disease. Symptoms may begin as early as the first trimester and cease soon after birth. Most women first experience reflux symptoms after 5 months of gestation; however, many women report the onset of symptoms only when they become very bothersome, long after the symptoms actually began. The prevalence and severity of heartburn progressively increases during pregnancy. The exact causes(s) of reflux during pregnancy include relaxed lower esophageal tone, secondary to hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly the influence of progesterone, and mechanical pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach which contributes to reflux of gastric acids into the esophagus. However, some 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 […]

Basil: Current Views

Looking for references to basil in more current texts, the herbals which do not mention it are far greater in number than those which do. Bairacli Levy (1966) is fascinated by the herb and recommends it for culinary use, as an insecticide and as a powerful tonic stimulant and nerve remedy. It is advised for nausea, severe vomiting and indigestion, as well as topically for snake and spider bites and scorpion stings. Schauenberg & Paris (1977) list the infusion of the entire dried plant as a gastric antispasmodic, carminative and galactogogue. Ody (1993) has a more extensive monograph, listing the actions of basil as antidepressant, antiseptic and tonic, stimulating the adrenal cortex and preventing vomiting, while acting as a carminative, febrifuge and expectorant. She proposes several combinations: as a tincture with wood betony and skullcap for nervous conditions, or with elecampane Inula helenium and hyssop Hyssopus officinalis for coughs and bronchitis; as a juice mixed with honey in a syrup for coughs, or the juice in a decoction of cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum and cloves Syzygium aromaticum for chills. Topically, it can be mixed with honey for ringworm and itching skin or the fresh herb can be rubbed on Read more […]