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History of a plant: The example of Echinacea

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Abstract

In comparison with other medicinal plants, the history of use of Echinacea is relatively short. The plant originates from North America and was employed by the indigenous Indians. The first archaeological evidence dates from the 18th century. Included in the name Echinacea or purple coneflower are several species of the Asteraceae family: Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench, Echinacea angustifolia DC. and Echinacea pallida (Nutt.) Nutt. Information about the use of the plant from traditional healers ranges from external application for wounds, burns and insect bites to the chewing of roots for toothache and throat infections, and internal application for pain, coughs, stomach cramps and snake bites. The interest of white settlers was also drawn to this medicinal plant. The first Echinacea preparation, known as Meyers Blood Purifier, arrived on the market around 1880, with rheumatism, neuralgia and rattlesnake bites as indications. At the beginning of the 20th century, Echinacea was the most frequently used plant preparation in the USA. Commercial cultivation was started in Germany around 1939. The introduction and cultivation of Echinacea in Switzerland by A. Vogel was around 1950. Chemists and pharmacologists became interested in Echinacea and many constituents are now known, such as polysaccharides, echinacoside, cichoric acid, ketoalkenes and alkylamides. The extracts exhibit immunostimulant properties and are mainly used in the prophylaxis and therapy of colds, flu and septic complaints. Although there are over 400 publications concerning the plant and dozens of preparations of Echinacea n the market, the true identity of the active principles still remains open. Copyright 2003 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg

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... Shivering and other so called "influenza-like" symptoms were also encountered ocasionally. This fever was considered by some of the researchers as an indicator of the biological activity of compounds such as polysaccharides, glycopeptides, proteins, as a result of their action in inducing an increased secretion of γ-interferon and interleukin 1 by the macrophages (Hostettmann K., 2003, Wang et al., 2005. ...
... Thus, some alcoholic extracts (Calendula officinalis, E. angustifolia, E. purpurea) demonstrated beneficial immunological effects in chickens, but the stimulation degree was very different. During antigen priming, the stimulating activity could be reversed, the extractions proving modulating effects (Hostettmann K. , 2003). ...
... The polyholosides isolated from the Urtica dioica plant roots showed in other experiments immune stimulating and anti inflamatory effects, diminishing in a dose-dependent manner the haemolysis, by activating the classical pathway of the complement (Hostettmann K., 2003). This pathway might habe been influenced the high values for the nettle plant treated samples. ...
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The experiment was carried out to investigate the immunestimulating/modulating potential of certain alcoholic vegetal extractions (Calendula officinalis, Echinacea angustifolia, Urtica dioica) on the in vitro phagocytic activity in farmed herbivores. The spontaneous in vitro phagocytic activity was the highest in bovine, followed by horses and goats, with a various distribution within the two periods of reading.The alcoholic Calendula officinalis extraction was more active in bovine than in goats while the Echinacea angustifolia extraction was more active in large ruminants (bovine) during both periods of reading. The nettle plant (Urtica dioica) extraction was inhibiting during the first and stimulating during the second period of reading in horses. All alcoholic extractions were either inhibiting or stimulating, showing a rather an immunomodulating than a stimulating potential. Numerous researches describe the immunostimulating activity of certain vegetal compounds, mainly polysaccharides and carotenoids. Thus, polyholosides isolated from thirteen vegetal extractions frequently used as immune stimulants were tested and showed a capacity to increase the micro phagocytosis, depending on product and concentration (Audibert and Lise, 1993). Pharmacologically active, sugar macromolecules represent non-specific immune stimulants, in other words parammunity inductors. What remains to be clarified is to establish the degree of preservation of the immune stimulating capacity of natural products administered orally, given the fact that not all of them cross the intestinal barrier (Bauer, 2002). Recent studies certify the antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti venomous and insecticidal activity of various plant extractions (Calendula, Echinaceea, etc.). Side effects as well as risks of vegetal extractions' administration in animals and humans were investigated. Some of the reports indicated that the s.c., i.m. or i.v. injections caused an increase of the body temperature with 0.5 up to 1°C. Shivering and other so called "influenza-like" symptoms were also encountered ocasionally. This fever was considered by some of the researchers as an indicator of the biological activity of compounds such as polysaccharides, glycopeptides, proteins, as a result of their action in inducing an increased secretion of γ-interferon and interleukin 1 by the macrophages (Hostettmann K., 2003, Wang et al., 2005).
... Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench is a member of the family Asteraceae and originates from North America, where it was used by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. The Comanche tribe used coneflower for toothaches and sore throats, while the Sioux tribes used it for rabies and inflammation [1,2]. European settlers brought the plant to Europe and learned to grow and use it. ...
... European settlers brought the plant to Europe and learned to grow and use it. In Germany, England and France, coneflower did not gain popularity until the 1920s and 1930s, and in Poland not until the early 1990s [1]. Currently, preparations containing purple coneflower are used as herbal medicines and dietary supplements around the world [3]. ...
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Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench) is a plant in the family Asteraceae, mainly grown in North America. Echinacea purpurea has been used in conventional medicine. The plant has immuno-stimulating and antibacterial properties, but neither mold contamination nor a mycotoxin presence have been evaluated. Our goal is to determine the degree to which molds and mycotoxins contaminate dietary supplements based on purple coneflower distributed on the Polish market. We analyzed 21 samples divided into four groups: sachets (n = 5), dry raw material (n = 3), capsules (n = 9), and tablets (n = 4). The mycological analysis of dietary supplements shows that the average number of molds is 1012 cfu/g, and the most common molds are Aspergillus spp., Phoma spp. and Eurotium spp. The mycotoxins most common in the samples are ZEN (18/21), DON (5/21) and T-2 toxin (3/21).
... The Echinacea species have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects and pharmacological actions. Modern interest in Echinacea is focused on its immunomodulatory effects, particularly in the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (Barrett, 2003; Hostettmann, 2003; Charrois et al., 2006). The three species of Echinacea, Echinacea angustifo*Corresponding author. ...
... The Echinacea species have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects and pharmacological actions. Modern interest in Echinacea is focused on its immunomodulatory effects, particularly in the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (Barrett, 2003; Hostettmann, 2003; Charrois et al., 2006)lia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea are most widely used herbal medicines. E. angustifolia, commonly known as Narrow-leaved purple coneflower and blacksamson Echinacea, is an herbaceous medicinal plant used by all Indians of the Great Plains to treat a wide range of ailments, from venomous bites and stings, to infectious or inflammatory conditions such as cold and flu, toothaches, cough, sore eyes, and rheumatism (Kindscher, 1989; Barnes, 2005). ...
Article
We established an improved method for shoot organogenesis and plant regeneration from stem cultures of Echinacea angustifolia DC. The regenerated shoots obtained from stem cultures on solid MS medium containing different concentrations of BAP and kinetin. The highest number of shoots per explant (3.2) and shoot length (1.3 cm) was obtained on MS medium containing 2 mg/l BAP. The addition of auxins in MS medium containing 2 mg/l BAP substantially improved the shoot regeneration of E. angustifolia and at the optimal concentration of 0.5 mg/l IBA was the most suitable auxin for the highest number of shoots per explant (4.6) and shoot growth (1.5 cm). Plant regeneration was found to be more efficient when Phytagel was used as the gelling agent. The number of shoots produced per leaf explant was 12% higher, and the growth of shoots was 11% greater, on 3 g/l Phytagel compared to 7 g/l Phytagar. The rooted plants were hardened and transferred to soil with an 80% survival rate. The production of E. angustifolia regenerated plants could be used as a possible transformation protocol.
... Currently popular as an immune stimulant, Echinacea species were used by North American Indigenous Peoples as a treatment for throat infections, wounds and pain, and was historically used in Eclectic medicine for septic conditions (Shemluck 1982). Related pharmacological activities and therapeutic uses continue to be explored, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and antimicrobial activities (Hostettmann 2003;Abbasi et al. 2007a;Haller et al. 2013;Cruz et al. 2014;Shin et al. 2014). The main bioactive compounds present in Echinacea extracts are the phenolics, alkylamides and polysaccharide/glycoproteins ( Figure 1). ...
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Context: Plants of the genus Echinacea (Asteraceae) are among the most popular herbal supplements on the market today. Recent studies indicate there are potential new applications and emerging markets for this natural health product (NHP). Objective: This review aims to synthesize recent developments in Echinacea biotechnology and to identify promising applications for these advances in the industry. Methods: A comprehensive survey of peer-reviewed publications was carried out, focusing on Echinacea biotechnology and impacts on phytochemistry. This article primarily covers research findings since 2007 and builds on earlier reviews on the biotechnology of Echinacea. Results: Bioreactors, genetic engineering and controlled biotic or abiotic elicitation have the potential to significantly improve the yield, consistency and overall quality of Echinacea products. Using these technologies, a variety of new applications for Echinacea can be realized, such as the use of seed oil and antimicrobial and immune boosting feed additives for livestock. Conclusions: New applications can take advantage of the well-established popularity of Echinacea as a NHP. Echinacea presents a myriad of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and antibiotic activities that have yet to be fully translated into new applications. The distinct chemistry and bioactivity of different Echinacea species and organs, moreover, can lead to interesting and diverse commercial opportunities.
... Confirming the established chemical composition for the Kazakh extract CSHE was an important step because the major constituents present in it have already had their antinociceptive/anti-inflammatory actions somehow confirmed. For example, echinacoside was established as one of the active principles responsible for the antinociceptive action of Echinaceae (Hostettmann, 2003). Also, a previous study by Schapoval and coworkers (Schapoval et al., 1998) pointed out acteoside as one of the main active principles in an ethanol extract prepared with Stachytarpheta cayennensis as assessed by paw oedema and hot plate models. ...
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Herba Cistanche (Cistanche species) in Traditional Chinese Medicine is used for the treatment of several diseases and symptoms, to include pain. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antinociceptive effect of the hydroethanol extract of Cistanche salsa (C.A.Mey.) Beck, Orobanchaceae, stolons in animal models of pain. Chemical composition of Herba Cistanche was analyzed by HPLC-UV. Mice Swiss Webster (25–30g, n=6) were orally pre-treated with Herba Cistanche (10, 30 or 100mg/kg) and evaluated in the formalin test and in the capsaicin- or glutamate-induced licking response. Kazakh Herba Cistanche is composed mainly by phenylpropanoid glycosides, from which echinacoside, acteoside and tubuloside B are the main constituents. When Herba Cistanche was administered to mice it had an effect in both phases of the formalin test (77% activity at 30mg/kg for phase 1 and 62% activity at 100mg/kg for phase 2) suggesting analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Kazakh Herba Cistanche was able to reduce the animals licking time after injection of glutamate (81% reduction at 30mg/kg) and capsaicin (81% reduction at 100mg/kg). We conclude that phenolics present in the hydroethanol extract of C. salsa could be responsible for its pharmacological profile. In order to source a good quality raw material for Traditional Chinese Medicine we recommended this Kazakh species to be standardized using echinacoside and acteoside as markers.
... The extracts exhibited immunostimulant properties and are mainly used in the prophylaxis and therapy of colds, flu and septic complaints (Hostettmann, 2003). The Indian plants are used it as an antiseptic, an analgesic, and to treat poisonous insect bites, toothaches, sore throat, wounds and communicable diseases such as mumps, smallpox, and measles. ...
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Snake bite is a major health hazard that leads to high mortality and great suffering in victims. The remedies are of great interest since they may have recognizable therapeutic or toxic effects and are steeped in cultural beliefs that invariably conflict with formal health care practices. The study of the interaction between plants and people is invaluable in discovering new herbal medicines and plant-derived drugs. The present study was aimed at conserving largely herbal drug knowledge and availing to the scientific world the plant therapies used as antivenom in the society. The long-term goal is to actualize conventional snake bite therapy options with effective, cheap, accessible and less allergic plant compounds.
... The oleo-gum-resin is used in traditional medicine of India for reducing obesity, as well as in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and sciatica [203] Commipheric acid (in guggulipid, the ethyl acetate extract of the gum of the tree) [210] Cornus alternifolia L.f. (Cornaceae) Used in TCM as tonic, analgesic, and diuretic [211,212] Kaempferol-3-O-b-glucopyranoside (in 90% methanol extract from dried leaves) [211] Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf (Poaceae) In traditional medicine of India the leaves are used as stimulant, sudorific, antiperiodic, and anticatarrhal; the essential oil is used as carminative, depressant, analgesic, antipyretic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent [203] Citral (in lemongrass oil) [213] Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench (Asteraceae) Used in indigenous medicine of the native American Indians: external application for wounds, burns, and insect bites, chewing of roots for toothache and throat infections; internal application for pain, cough, stomach cramps and snake bites [214] Alkamides (in n-hexane extract of the flowers) [215] Elaeis guineensis Jacq. (Arecaceae) In traditional African medicine different parts of the plant are used as laxative and diuretic, as a poison antidote, as a cure for gonorrhea, menorrhagia, and bronchitis, to treat headaches and rheumatism, to promote healing of fresh wounds and treat skin infections [216] Tocotrienols (in palm oil) [217] Elephantopus scaber L. (Asteraceae) Different parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine of India as astringent agent, cardiac tonic, diuretic, to treat ulcers and eczema, in rheumatism, to reduce fever, and to eliminate bladder stones [203] Deoxyelephantopin [218] Epimedium elatum C. ...
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Agonists of the nuclear receptor PPARγ are therapeutically used to combat hyperglycaemia associated with the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In spite of being effective in normalization of blood glucose levels, the currently used PPARγ agonists from the thiazolidinedione type have serious side effects, making the discovery of novel ligands highly relevant. Natural products have proven historically to be a promising pool of structures for drug discovery, and a significant research effort has recently been undertaken to explore the PPARγ-activating potential of a wide range of natural products originating from traditionally used medicinal plants or dietary sources. The majority of identified compounds are selective PPARγ modulators (SPPARMs), transactivating the expression of PPARγ-dependent reporter genes as partial agonists. Those natural PPARγ ligands have different binding modes to the receptor in comparison to the full thiazolidinedione agonists, and on some occasions activate in addition PPARα (e.g. genistein, biochanin A, sargaquinoic acid, sargahydroquinoic acid, resveratrol, amorphastilbol) or the PPARγ-dimer partner retinoid X receptor (RXR; e.g. the neolignans magnolol and honokiol). A number of in vivo studies suggest that some of the natural product activators of PPARγ (e.g. honokiol, amorfrutin 1, amorfrutin B, amorphastilbol) improve metabolic parameters in diabetic animal models, partly with reduced side effects in comparison to full thiazolidinedione agonists. The bioactivity pattern as well as the dietary use of several of the identified active compounds and plant extracts warrants future research regarding their therapeutic potential and the possibility to modulate PPARγ activation by dietary interventions or food supplements.
... Different species of Echinacea are used in North America for treating snake bites.[61] The plant contains echinacoside, cichoric acid, ketoalkenes, alkyl amides and polysaccharides.[62] Anisodamine, an alkaloid isolated from Anisodus tanguticus with the chemical structure and pharmacological action similar to atropine and scopolamine, has been proposed to be an effective drug for snake bites.[63] ...
Article
Snake envenomation is a global public health problem, with highest incidence in Southeast Asia. Inadequate health services, difficult transportation and consequent delay in antisnake venom administration are the main reasons for high mortality. Adverse drug reactions and inadequate storage conditions limit the use of antisnake venom. The medicinal plants, available locally and used widely by traditional healers, therefore need attention. A wide array of plants and their active principles have been evaluated for pharmacological properties. However, numerous unexplored plants claimed to be antidotes in folklore medicine need to be studied. The present article reviews the current status of various medicinal plants for the management of snake bite.
... Dr. H.C.F. Meyer learned of the uses of Echinacea from the native Indians of Nebraska around 1870, and later introduced it in Europe (Ernst 2002, Hostettmann 2003, Skopińska-Różewska et al. 2008b. ...
Article
Echinacea purpurea (EP) and Echinacea angustifolia (EA) are ones of the most important world's herbs with immunotropic activity. They were traditional medicinal plants used by North American Indians for the treatment of various illnesses. Now they are cultivated in many countries and are used mainly to treat respiratory tract infections. Rhodiola rosea (RR) and Rhodiola quadrifida (RQ) are medicinal plants originated from Asia and used traditionally as adaptogens, antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory remedies. We previously reported, that extracts of underground parts of RR and RQ exhibited immunotropic activity. We have demonstrated in pigs that in vitro RR or RQ supplementation of blood lymphocyte cultures stimulated T cell proliferative response to Con A in lower, and inhibited it in higher Rhodiola extract concentrations. The aim of this work was to evaluate the in vivo effect of these herbal remedies on the in vitro proliferative response of mouse splenic lymphocytes to another T-cell mitogen- Phaseolus vulgaris haemagglutinin (PHA). We have found significant stimulation of proliferative response, in comparison to the controls, in mice fed lower doses of tested remedies, and inhibition, no effect or lower stimulation, in mice fed higher doses of these drugs.
... In particular, the roots of Echinacea angustifolia were used to treat snake bites, tooth aches, and fever. At the end of the 19th century numerous plant-based tinctures found their way on to the market as so-called "wonder drugs" and the Echinacea angustifolia tincture (Meyer's blood purifier) was successfully marketed in the United States as a "tonic" to treat neuralgia, rheumatism, and snake bites (Hostettmann, 2003). Echinacea finally also attracted the interest of the herbal medicine industry in Europe (Schulten et al., 2001;Schoop et al., 2006a). ...
Article
In traditional medicine, numerous plant preparations are used to treat inflammation both topically and systemically. Several anti-inflammatory plant extracts and a few natural product-based monosubstances have even found their way into the clinic. Unfortunately, a number of plant secondary metabolites have been shown to trigger detrimental pro-allergic immune reactions and are therefore considered to be toxic. In the phytotherapy research literature, numerous plants are also claimed to exert immunostimulatory effects. However, while the concepts of plant-derived anti-inflammatory agents and allergens are well established, the widespread notion of immunostimulatory plant natural products and their potential therapeutic use is rather obscure, often with the idea that the product is some sort of "tonic" for the immune system without actually specifying the mechanisms. In this commentary it is argued that the paradigm of oral plant immunostimulants lacks clinical evidence and may therefore be a myth, which has originated primarily from in vitro studies with plant extracts. The fact that no conclusive data on orally administered immunostimulants can be found in the scientific literature inevitably prompts us to challenge this paradigm.
... Furthermore, based on data from different research groups, the anti-inflammatory nature of Echinacea FAAs is now well documented [71], [121], [126], [142] and the view of Echinacea is in a process of change from an immunostimulatory agent into an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine. The latter seems to make sense in the light of the documented traditional use of Echinacea by North American Natives for the treatment of pain and infections [143]. Given the fact that FAAs are quickly resorbed and found in bioactive concentrations in human whole blood it seems feasible that these compounds contribute to the systemic effectiveness of Echinacea herbal medicines. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading throughout the world, infecting thousands of people every day. This public health emergency has got world and regional organisations, governments and health care systems working tirelessly to try to control the spread of the virus and managing the already infected individuals adequately. These events have made everyone realise the policy of “Prevention is better than cure”, as the best way to fight this pandemic. There are many guidelines for common people, issued by many respected organisations, but most of them are focused on personal hygiene and prevention of the spread the virus. Only minimal focus has been given towards the role of immunity in this scenario and more importantly the role of nutrition in supporting immunity. In this article, it has been attempted to describe the term ‘Nutraceuticals’ and discuss in detail a few nutraceuticals which are well documented to support immune functions of the body. The article has tried to shed some light on the fact that these nutraceuticals deserve to be promoted amongst the masses, to support the immunity required against infectious diseases.
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Snake bite envenoming cause high rates of morbidity and mortality and is one of the serious health related concern all over the globe. Around 3200 species of snakes have been discovered till date. Amid these species, about 1300 species of snakes are venomous. On account of its severity, World Health Organization (WHO) recently included snake bite envenoming in the list of neglected tropical diseases. Immunotherapy has partially solved the issues related to snake bite envenomation. However, it is associated with numerous adverse effects, due to which alternative treatment strategies are required for the treatment of snake bite. Traditionally, a large repository of herbal medicinal plants is known to possess activity against snake venom. An exploration of the therapeutic benefits of these medicinal plants used for the treatment of snake bites reveals the presence of various potential phytochemicals. The aim of the present review is to provide an outline regarding poisonous snakes all over the world, various compositions of snake venom, adverse effects related to anti-snake venom and numerous medicinal plants used for anti ophidian activity.
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A rapid and sensitive method based on liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) for the determination of echinacoside in rat plasma was established and fully validated. A single step of liquid-liquid extraction with n-butanol was utilized. Chromatographic separation of the analyte and the internal standard (IS), chlorogenic acid, from the sample matrix was performed using a Capcell-MG C(18) analytical column (100 2.0 mm x 5 microm), with a gradient of acetonitrile and water containing 0.1% acetic acid as the mobile phase. Detection was performed on a triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometer equipped with electrospray ionization source operated in negative ion selected reaction monitoring mode. The method was linear in the concentration range 10-2500 ng/mL. The deviations of both intra- and inter-day precisions (RSD) were 7.1% and the assay accuracies were within 99.2-106.5%. Echinacoside proved to be stable during sample storage, preparation and analysis when an antioxidant solution was used. The method was successfully applied to a pharmacokinetic study in rats after an intragastric administration of echinacoside (100 mg/kg). With the lower limit of quantification at 10 ng/mL, this method proved to have sufficient selectivity, sensitivity and reproducibility for the pharmacokinetic study of echinacoside.
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