Traditional Uses of Neem

The therapeutic efficacy of neem must have been known to man since antiquity as a result of constant experimentation with nature. Ancient man observed the unique features of this tree: a bitter taste, non-poisonous to man, but deleterious to lower forms of life. This might have resulted in its use as a medicine in various cultures, particularly in the Indian subcontinent and later on in other parts of the world. Ayurveda The word neem is derived from Sanskrit Nimba, which means “to bestow health”; the various Sanskrit synonyms of neem signify the pharmacological and therapeutic effects of the tree. It has been nicknamed Neta — a leader of medicinal plants, Pichumarda — antileprotic, Ravisambba — sun ray-like effects in providing health, Arishta — resistant to insects, Sbeetal — cooling (cools the human system by giving relief in diseases caused by hotness, such as skin diseases and fevers), and Krimighana — anthelmintic. It was considered light in digestion, hot in effect, cold in property. In earlier times, patients with incurable diseases were advised to make neem their way of life. They were to spend most of the day under the shade of this tree. They were to drink infusions of various parts of Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Schisandra

Schisandra chinensis K.Koch (Schisandraceae) Synonym(s) and related species Gomishi (Japanese), Magnolia vine, Wu-Wei-Zi (Chinese). Kadsura chinensis Turcz. Schisandra sphenanthera Rehder & EH Wilson is often used with, or substituted for, Schisandra chinensis. Other species of Schisandra are also used medicinally in China. Constituents The major active components of the fruits of Schisandra chinensis are dibenzocyclooctene lignans. The identity and nomenclature are confusing, because, when originally isolated by different researchers, the same compounds were given different names. The main groups of compounds are the schisandrins (schizandrins) and the gomisins (some of which were originally called wuweizu esters) and their derivatives. Schisandrin is also referred to in the literature as schisandrol A, gomisin A as schisandrol B, deoxyschisandrin as schisandrin A or wuweizu A, and schisantherin B as gomisin B or wuweizu B, for example. An essential oil contains borneol, 1,8-cineole, citral, sesquicarene and other monoterpenes. Extracts of Schisandra sphenanthera are reported to have a fairly similar chemical composition. Use and indications Schisandra is a very important herb in Chinese medicine. Read more […]

Tribulus: Clinical Use. Dosage

APHRODISIAC The observed pharmacological effects on androgen status provide a theoretical basis for this activity, but little clinical testing has been conducted. Results from a 2002 animal study have produced positive results suggestive of aphrodisiac activity. The study compared the effects of subcutaneous testosterone, an orally administered tribulus extract containing protodioscin (45% dry weight) or placebo over 8 weeks in castrated rodents. Both testosterone and tribulus treatment significantly improved sexual behaviour compared with controls, although testosterone was the more effective treatment. A follow-up study by the same research team added further data. In this study rats were treated with 2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg once daily for 8 weeks. The results showed a considerable increase in sexual behaviour and slight weight gain compared to controls. Interestingly, the results were more pronounced at the lower dose range. Despite positive data from animal studies, a recent small controlled clinical trial of tribulus in young men aged between 20 and 36 years showed no statistical increase in testosterone levels in the treated group. Men were divided into two treatment groups (each n = 7) and one control group Read more […]