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Rational phytotherapy — A physician's guide to herbal medicine

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... Treatment of disease began long ago with the use of herbs[1]. Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H.Wigg. ...
... Taraxacum officinale has been used in folk medicine for its different medicinal properties[2]. In addition to its known health benefits[1,2], T. officinale whole plant decoction has been traditionally used in Jordan to enhance sperm parameters such as concentration and motility[13]. However, recent studies have proved that the whole plant or leaves aqueous extracts decrease male fertility instead of improving it[3,4]. ...
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Purpose: To investigate if T. officinale root aqueous extract has anti-spermatogenic activity similar to that of the whole plant which was shown previously to inhibit spermatogenesis. Methods: T. officinale aqueous extract was prepared by soaking 100 g of dried materials in 1 L distilled water for two days at 45°C. Fifty adult male rats were divided into five groups and treated for 60 days. Four groups were gavaged with the whole plant or root aqueous extract in low or high doses. The male rat rats were allowed to mate with female rats. The control group received distilled water. Sperm count, motility and morphology as well as chromatin integrity were evaluated. Results: Serum testosterone level, sperm parameters, pregnancy rate and average number of fetuses per pregnant females decreased significantly in the treated groups compared to control and in the root-receiving rats compared to the whole plant-receiving rats. Female rats which were mated with high dose root-receiving males did not deliver fetuses. Cross sections of seminiferous tubules of T. officinale-treated rats showed lesions and disorganized germinal epithelium. Late spermatogenesis maturation arrest (spermatid stage) was observed in all of the treated groups except the high dose root-receiving group which showed early maturation arrest (spermatocyte stage). In addition, the mRNA level of two spermatogonial stem cell markers responsible for self-renewal and proliferation of spermatogonia increased in high dose-receiving rats. Conclusion: T. officinale root aqueous extract has inhibitory effects on spermatogenesis. Further studies are required to identify specific ingredient(s) in T. officinale that may be useful as male contraceptive(s). © Pharmacotherapy Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, 300001 Nigeria. All rights reserved.
... Many well-established medicines come from plants, for example, aspirin from willow bark and digoxin from foxglove [1]. Traditional herbal medicine is just one of the many different approaches to the use of plants as remedies [2]. Today, herbal remedies are a common therapy. ...
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Traditional herbal medicine is just one of the many different approaches using plants in the remedy of diseases. Carthamus tinctorius (CT) or safflower is a popular plant that is used for coloring and flavoring in food industries. The effect of CT on spermatogenesis and sperm parameters has been reported in traditional medicine but has not yet been confirmed scientifically. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the effects of CT on spermatogenesis and the male reproductive system in an animal model. Sixty male rats were divided into five groups. Four groups were injected with 5 mg/kg of busulfan as a model of partial infertility. Then, the experimental groups were treated with 10 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, or 50 mg/kg of CT extract for 35 days. The control was treated with busulfan (infertile control) or distilled water only. After this period, the animals were sacrificed and blood samples were taken for hormonal assay. The semen was collected from the epididymis and the reproductive organs were assessed. Sperm count and motility were measured and smears were prepared for assessment of the other parameters. The results indicated that the percentage of sperm with good morphology, motility, and count increased significantly in the group treated with 10 mg/kg CT (p=0.002, p=0.03, and p=0.00001, respectively). The effects on hormonal changes and genital organ weights were also positive. It is probable that the CT extract affects spermatogenesis and as a result sperm quality. Further studies are needed.
... Herbal medicine appeals to consumers who believe that natural herbal products are preferable to synthetic pharmaceuticals (Kaptchuk et al., 1998). Usually herbal preparations are well thought-out more safe than pharmaceutical drugs although there are some potential adverse reactions from taking both together (Schultz et al., 1998). A relevant safety concern associated with the use of herbal medicines is the risk of interaction with prescription medications (Ernst et al., 2000). ...
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Many people have the mistaken notion that, being natural, all herbs and foods are safe; this is not so. Very often, herbs and food may interact with medications you normally take, result in serious reactions. During the latter part of this century the practice of herbalism has become mainstream throughout the world. This is due remove to the recognition of the value of traditional medical systems in the world. Herbal medicines are mixtures of more than one active ingredient. The multitude of pharmacologically active compounds obviously increases the likelihood of interactions taking place. Hence, the likelihood of herb-drug interactions is theoretically higher than drug-drug interactions because synthetic drugs usually contain single chemical entity. Case reports and clinical studies have highlighted the existence of a number of clinically important interactions, although cause-and-effect relationships have not always been established. Herbs and drugs may interact either pharmacokinetically or pharmacodynamically. The predominant mechanism for this interaction is the inhibition of cytochrome P-450 3A4 in the small intestine; result in a significant reduction of drug presystemic metabolism. An additional mechanism is the inhibition of Pglycoprotein, a transporter that carries drug from the enterocyte back to the gut lumen, result in a further increase in the fraction of drug absorbed. Some herbal products (e.g. St. John's wort) have been shown to lower the plasma concentration (and/or the pharmacological effect) of a number of conventional drugs including cyclosporine, indinavir, irinotecan, nevirapine, oral contraceptives and digoxin. The data available so far, concerning this interaction and its clinical implications are reviewed in this article. It is likely that more information regarding such interaction would crop up in the future, awareness of which is necessary for achieving optimal drug therapy.
... This statement was corroborated by Samojlik et al. [3], who additionally found that HMs are used in the modern day for health maintenance, the treatment or prevention of minor ailments and some chronic diseases, and they are often taken in addition to conventional medicine in the more serious and/or chronic conditions. However, complementary medicine, including herbal remedies, is certainly not a modern day phenomenon and has historically been used in the pharmacological treatment of disease [4], when it may have more commonly been known as traditional folk healing. Much of the population in developing countries still relies on traditional medicine practitioners and their collection of medicinal plants to meet all manner of healthcare needs. ...
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Background: Herbal medicines are commonly used in Saudi Arabia alongside conventional drug therapy. However, special attention must be paid when using such medicines and supplements with other drugs. Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the consumer awareness surrounding herbal remedies and the safety of herbal dietary supplements, as well as the sources of recommendation for their use and common beliefs regarding the combining herbals and drugs during therapy. Materials and methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to capture data from 420 participants that purchased herbal medicines and/or herbal dietary supplements based on convenience sampling method from seven private pharmacies in Riyadh during 2013. The questionnaire included four parts: the socio-demographic characteristics of the consumer, the source of recommendation for the use of the purchased herbal products, the consumer’s attitude towards the safety of herbal remedies and herbal dietary supplements and their combination with conventional drugs, and assessment of the purchased herbal products. The data from each of the returned questionnaire were coded and entered into (SPSS) version 15.0 software which was used for statistical analysis. Response rate was 70%. The majority of participants were highly educated. Result: The study results show that 91.1% of the participants did not consult or take advice from a pharmacist or physician prior to purchasing herbal remedies for concurrent use alongside conventional medication. The study shows 8.8% used herbal medicines or herbal dietary supplements following advice from a physician or pharmacist, 66.2% of them on their friends or relatives, while 24.9% was based on the independent internet research, advertisements, etc. According to the study results, 81.2% believed that herbal medicines and herbal dietary supplements are harmless; however, 49.5% of participants acknowledged that combining herbal remedies and conventional drugs may be unsafe. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that public awareness regarding the use of herbal medicines and supplements, especially alongside other medication, is lacking. It is the responsibility of pharmacists and physicians to provide patients with comprehensive advice regarding the use of herbal medicines and herbal dietary supplements to ensure their safe use.
... The pharmacological treatment of disease began long ago with the use of herbs (Schulz et al., 2001). Herbal medicine is the use of plants, plant parts, their water or solvent extracts, essential oils, gums, resins, exudates or other forms of advanced products made from plant parts used therapeutically to provide proactive support of various physiological systems; or, in a more conventional medical sense, to treat, cure, or prevent a disease in animals or humans (Weiss and Fintelmann, 2000). ...
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Physiologically, it is known that thioacetamide (TAA) toxicity is generally associated with hepatic fibrosis induction, complicated metabolic disorders and health problems. The capability of extracts of olive and rosemary leaves to attenuate the severe physiological disturbances induced by thioacetmaide (TAA) intoxication in male rats has been evaluated. Healthy male Wistar rats were used in the present study and were divided randomly into eight groups. Rats of the first group were served as normal control. Rats of the second group were administrated with TAA. Rats of the third, fourth and fifth groups were exposed to TAA plus olive leaves extract, TAA plus rosemary leaves extract and TAA plus olive and rosemary leaves extracts respectively. The sixth, seventh and eighth groups were supplemented with olive leaves extract, rosemary leaves extract, and olive and rosemary leaves extracts respectively. After twelve weeks of experimental treatments, the levels of serum glucose, total protein, albumin and high density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly decreased, while the levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein cholesterol, creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase were statistically increased in rats exposed to TAA. Administration of the studied extracts inhibited the hematobiochemical parameters and improved the physiological disturbances induced by TAA intoxication. Additionally, the most improvements were noted in rats administrated with rosemary leaves extract followed by olive and rosemary leaves extracts and olive leaves extract. These results suggested that the effect of these extracts might be due to their antioxidant activities against TAA toxicity.
... Figure 6 shows that the maximum number of species were used for urinary disorders (11 species) followed by skin infections (8 species) and digestive disorders (7 species). These predominant disorders were also reported in the valley by the health department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan Demographic and Health survey (PDHS) [43]. The main reason for the use of medicinal plants by the inhabitants of the valley is the lack of basic health units, rich diversity of medicinal plants and the area is far away from the city. ...
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This paper represents the first ethnobotanical study in Chail valley of district Swat-Pakistan and provides significant information on medicinal plants use among the tribal people of the area. The aim of this study was to document the medicinal uses of local plants and to develop an ethnobotanical inventory of the species diversity. In present study, semi-structured interviews with 142 inhabitants (age range between 31-75 years) were conducted. Ethnobotanical data was analyzed using relative frequency of citation (RFC) to determine the well-known and most useful species in the area. Current research work reports total of 50 plant species belonging to 48 genera of 35 families from Chail valley. Origanum vulgare, Geranium wallichianum and Skimmia laureola have the highest values of relative frequency of citation (RFC) and are widely known by the inhabitants of the valley. The majority of the documented plants were herbs (58%) followed by shrubs (28%), trees (12%) and then climbers (2%). The part of the plant most frequently used was the leaves (33%) followed by roots (17%), fruits (14%), whole plant (12%), rhizomes (9%), stems (6%), barks (5%) and seeds (4%). Decoction was the most common preparation method use in herbal recipes. The most frequently treated diseases in the valley were urinary disorders, skin infections, digestive disorders, asthma, jaundice, angina, chronic dysentery and diarrhea. This study contributes an ethnobotanical inventory of medicinal plants with their frequency of citations together with the part used, disease treated and methods of application among the tribal communities of Chail valley. The present survey has documented from this valley considerable indigenous knowledge about the local medicinal plants for treating number of common diseases that is ready to be further investigated for biological, pharmacological and toxicological screening. This study also provides some socio-economic aspects which are associated to the local tribal communities.
... Achillea millefolium is a perennial herb that had been used for hundreds of years in folk medicine in several countries. Teas from the aerial parts are widely used to treat spasms (Yaeesh et al., 2006), pain, digestive complaints and other ailments (Schulz et al., 2001). Data from the literature report the presence of terpenoids, sesquiterpene lactones, essential oils (Agnihotri et al., 2005; Heinrich et al., 1998), flavonoid aglycones, flavonoids di-O-glycosides and di-C-glycosides, and two caffeic acid derivatives, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid and chlorogenic acid (Si et al., 2006; Benedek et al., 2007; Innocenti et al., 2007) in A. millefolium. ...
Article
The hydroalcohol extracts of Achillea millefolium L. (AM) and Artemisia vulgaris L. (AV), both belonging to the Asteraceae family, were evaluated by the hot plate, writhing, formalin and intestinal transit tests in an attempt to confirm their folk use as analgesic, antiinflammatory and antispasmodic agents. AM 500 and 1000 mg/kg significantly inhibited abdominal contortions by 65% and 23%, respectively, whereas AV 500 and 1000 mg/kg inhibited them by 48% and 59%, respectively. None of the extracts produced differences in the intestinal transit in mice, nor in the response time in the hot plate or in the immediate or late responses in the formalin test. In HPLC/DAD analyses 'fingerprint', monitored at 360 and 270 nm, both hydroalcohol extracts showed the same flavonoid glycoside as a principal constituent, which was identified as rutin. A high content of caffeic acid derivatives were also found in both extracts. The main differences were observed at 240 nm: AM had a higher content of rutin, while in AV the hydroxybenzoic acid derivative was the major component.
... There is strong evidence that hypericin and pseudohypericin [Figure 5] contribute to the antidepressant action. Inhibition of monoamine oxidase is one mechanism by which some antidepressants operate to increase levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine.[46] This chemical appears to block synaptic re-uptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.[47] ...
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Cognitive dysfunction is a major health problem in the 21st century, and many neuropsychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's Disease dementia, cerebrovascular impairment, seizure disorders, head injury and Parkinsonism, can be severly functionally debilitating in nature. In course of time, a number of neurotransmitters and signaling molecules have been identified which have been considered as therapeutic targets. Conventional as well newer molecules have been tried against these targets. Phytochemicals from medicinal plants play a vital role in maintaining the brain's chemical balance by influencing the function of receptors for the major inhibitory neurotransmitters. In traditional practice of medicine, several plants have been reported to treat cognitive disorders. In this review paper, we attempt to throw some light on the use of medicinal herbs to treat cognitive disorders. In this review, we briefly deal with some medicinal herbs focusing on their neuroprotective active phytochemical substances like fatty acids, phenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, terpenes etc. The resistance of neurons to various stressors by activating specific signal transduction pathways and transcription factors are also discussed. It was observed in the review that a number of herbal medicines used in Ayurvedic practices as well Chinese medicines contain multiple compounds and phytochemicals that may have a neuroprotective effect which may prove beneficial in different neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Though the presence of receptors or transporters for polyphenols or other phytochemicals of the herbal preparations, in brain tissues remains to be ascertained, compounds with multiple targets appear as a potential and promising class of therapeutics for the treatment of diseases with a multifactorial etiology.
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Analysis of the biochemical composition of Irvingia malayana was carried out. This Cambodian nut contains 7.5% water and 70% oil. Most of the fatty acids are saturated and include 42% C12:0 and 41.8% C14:0; the sterol composition is similar to that of other vegetable oils. This oil is less rich in alpha-tocopherol than in gamma-tocopherol. Analysis of the solid content of the oil with respect to the temperature by NMR shows a fast fall of solid content around its fusion range at 38-39 degrees C. The main differences in the properties of the indigenous Cambodia nut from other known oleaginous seeds are in its selenium content, fatty acid composition, fusion temperature profile, and content of antioxidants. These important characteristics can soon make possible its application in pharmacology, cosmetics, the margarine industry, etc.
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Whereas other components of the National Institutes of Health support the discovery and subsequent development of novel chemical entities into drugs, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) studies complex natural products that are marketed as dietary supplements. This article contrasts the regulatory framework for dietary supplements and drugs, outlines the challenges of evaluating dietary supplements for safety and clinical effectiveness, and describes the evolving drug model for botanicals.
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To review and evaluate the literature relative to the use of herbal therapies in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Literature was identified by MEDLINE, Embase, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements searches and through cross-referencing of selected articles. All articles identified from the data sources were evaluated and all information deemed relevant was included in this review. A large percentage of men >50 years old begin to experience signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Herbs hold promise in the treatment of BPH. Serenoa repens, Pygeum africanum, Urtica dioica radix, and Cucurbita peponis semen are some of the botanical therapies used in the treatment of BPH. There are many European studies examining efficacy, dose, and adverse effects of these plants in the treatment of BPH. However, numerous questions remain. These include issues concerning long-term beneficial and adverse effects of herbal therapy, prevention of complications, standardization of extracts, and concomitant use with "mainstream" medications. Based on the information available today, these botanical therapies can be used for treatment of a number of objective and subjective symptoms in patients with BPH, stages I and II.
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The study was conducted around Debre Libanos monastery from October 2005 to June 2006. A total of 250 villagers, 13 monks and 3 nuns were interviewed using semistructured questionnaire on the knowledge and use of medicinal plants. The informant consensus factor (ICF) and the fidelity level (FL) of the species were determined. Eighty medicinal plant species were reported. The average medicinal plant reported by a female is 1.67+/-0.33 and a male is 5.77+/-0.71 with significant difference between them (alpha=0.05, p=0.023). The ICF values demonstrated that local people tend to agree more with each other in terms of the plants used to treat 'Mich' and headache (0.69) and intestinal illness and parasites (0.68) but a much more diverse group of plants are cited to treat problems related to rabies (0.14) and unidentified swelling and cancer (0.11). The FL values are also similar to ICF values. The knowledge of the villagers close to the monastery is found to be higher than those distant from the monastery and the correlation between Abichu and Telaye (r=0.970, alpha=0.05, p=0.001), and Zegamel and Doreni (r=0.745, alpha=0.05, p=0.027) is significant indicating the relationships between the number of plants reported by the informants and the distance from the monasteries to the villages. This study was not able to determine the knowledge difference between the villagers and the monastery dwellers because the monks and nuns were not willing to give information on the knowledge and use of medicinal plants. This may result in the long run in loss of local knowledge in the surrounding area and the country at large for preparation of pharmacologically effective remedies.
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Chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and neutropenia are common side effects during cancer treatment. Acupuncture has been reported as an adjunct therapy for this complication. The current study reviewed published randomized controlled trials of acupuncture's effect and explored the acupuncture parameters used in these trials. We searched biomedical databases in English and Chinese from 1979 to 2004. The study populations were cancer patients who were undergoing or had just completed chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy, randomized to either acupuncture therapy or usual care. The methodologic quality of trials was assessed. From 33 reviewed articles, 682 patients from 11 eligible trials were included in analyses. All trials were published in non-PubMed journals from China. The methodologic quality of these trials was considerably poor. The median sample size of each comparison group was 45, and the median trial duration was 21 days. The frequency of acupuncture treatment was once a day, with a median of 16 sessions in each trial. In the seven trials in which white blood cell (WBC) counts were available, acupuncture use was associated with an increase in leukocytes in patients during chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy, with a weighted mean difference of 1,221 WBC/muL on average (95% confidence interval 636-1,807; p < .0001). Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced leukopenia is an intriguing clinical question. However, the inferior quality and publication bias present in these studies may lead to a false-positive estimation. Meta-analysis based on these published trials should be treated in an exploratory nature only.
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This study has been done in order to identify plants that were used to make traditional Turkish salves between 2007 and 2008. During the step of identification of plants, the informants from different cities of Turkey were asked questions about the salves they have made and which plants and materials they have used. In this study, a total of 105 people from 21 provinces (N = 5 each province) were interviewed. Information was gathered through scientifically guided questionnaires, interviews, and general conversations, and fidelity level (FL) of species was determined. According to the results of the identification, 68 plants are being used to make Traditional Turkish Salves for medicinal purposes in Turkey. Among them, 61 plants are wild and 7 plants are cultivated plants. Most used families were Asteraceae, Apiaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, and Rosaceae. Urtica dioica (100%) has the highest FL and Lawsonia inermis (33%) has the lowest. The data provided from our informants and analyzed in the present article clearly show that folk knowledge on medicinal plants and plant uses is still alive in the studied region.
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The increase of atmospheric CO2 due to global change and/or horticultural practices promotes direct effects on plant growth and development. These responses may occur in natural ecosystems, but also can be used to increase the production of some plants and some secondary compounds. Present work tries to study the effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment under greenhouse conditions on growth and in the concentration and composition of secondary metabolites of Taxus bacatta, Hypericum perforatum and Echinacea purpurea under Mediterranean environmental conditions. CO2 fertilization shows interesting perspectives to increase and improve horticultural techniques in order to increase plant medicinal productivity, in spite of clear differences among the species. In general this technique promotes important and significant increases in primary productivity and, in some cases, also in secondary compounds. This has a great horticultural relevance because the total productivity of this kind of products increase at crop level, directly because concentration is increased and /or indirectly because biomass is increased.
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Peppermint leaf and peppermint oil have a long history of use for digestive disorders. Recent evidence suggests that enteric-coated peppermint oil may be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A combination product including peppermint oil and caraway oil seems to be moderately effective in the treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia. Topical application of peppermint oil may be effective in the treatment of tension headache. Because of its relaxing effects on smooth muscle, peppermint oil given via enema has been modestly effective for relief of colonic spasm in patients undergoing barium enemas. Peppermint oil is well tolerated at the commonly recommended dosage, but it may cause significant adverse effects at higher dosages.
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