Mugwort
A herb for women
Artemisia vulgaris L. (Compositae)
Part used: Leaves.

This perennial plant is found in many parts of the world. While it is used for different purposes in certain areas, in Europe it has proven effective chiefly in treating menstrual disorders. It has been shown to be helpful in regulating menstruation, and is therefor of value in the following conditions: amenorrhea (absence of menstrual flow), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), menopause, pre-menstrual tension.

Mugwort provides an excellent example of how a certain herb can be used differently in different parts of the world. In Europe, it is widely used for menstrual difficulties. In China, recent research indicates it may be of value against malaria. In Java, poultices of the herb are applied to old sores, scurvy, and other skin conditions. In the Philippines, it is used as an emmenagogue (an agent to induce menstruation). American indians have used it for bladder ailments, bronchitis, cold, colic, dysmenorrhea, epilepsy,fever, gout, hysteria, kidney ailments, poisoning, rheumatism, sciatica, worms and wounds.Interestingly enough, the Russians use it for many of these same conditions, but add fever, gallstones, gastritis, rickets and tuberculosis to the list. In Sumatra, it is smoked as an opium substitute. In other areas, sleeping on a pillow stuffed with Mugwort leaves is claimed to provoke dreams that reveal one's future.

Mugwort owes its properties principally to the essential oil it contains at levels between 0.02 to 2%(1). The composition of this oil has been recently studied(2); its principal constituents are cineol (or eucalyptol) with traces of thujone. A sesquiterpene lactone is also found. But Mugwort is also rich in mineral salts: potassium, phosphorus, iron...(4) Mugwort has always been a popular emmenagogue in Western Europe. It is effective in cases of dysmenorrhea, functional amenorrhoea,insufficient periods, menstrual pain and menopause.Besides these properties, it is interesting to note that according to latest scientific studies coming from China, Mugwort could contain an effective element against malaria.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H. in "Matiere Medicale", Tome III, P. 419,Masson Ed., Paris, 1971.
  2. Nano G.M. et al. Planta med., 1976, 30, 211.
  3. Geissman T.A. Phytochemistry, 1970, 9, 2377.
  4. Saint Paul A. Plantes Med. et Phytoth., 1982, 1, 46.
  5. Weiss R.W. in "Lehrbuch der Phytotherapie, P. 100, Hyppokrates Verlag Ed., Stuttgart, 1980.

Olive Tree
The traditional supplement for high blood pressure.
Olea europea L. (Oleaceae)
Part used: Leaves

Historically, the olive tree has played a central role in Mediterranean civilization. Remember, for example, that Moses exempted from military service those men who worked at cultivating olive trees. In Scriptural and classical writings, olive oil is mentioned as a symbol of goodness and purity, and the tree as representing peace and happiness.

The value of olive oil as a food and cosmetic are well known; the medicinal qualities of the olive leaf, however, should not be overlooked. Modern investigation has confirmed its value in treating mild case of hypertension (high blood pressure). It is widely used in Europe for this purpose. Interestingly enough, it does not exert this action when taken as a tea. Only when the whole leaf is used does its hypotensive activity manifest itself.

The most valuable known constituents of the Olive leaf(1) are: flavonoid pigments, choline, abundant triterpenic derivatives (3 to 4%) including oleanolic acid, and above all iridoids, of which one,oleuropeoside, acts on the smooth musculature. The hypotensive action of the leaves of the Olive Tree is due to the oleuropeoside mentioned above. This activity has been confirmed by many famous researchers: Leclerc(4), De Nunno and Capretti(5), Balensard(6) and Petrov(7) can be mentioned among others. Besides this major action, it has been shown that the Olive leaf is endowed with hypoglycemic properties(8). The Olive leaf is also diuretic(3); it has been demonstrated that the diuresis is not caused by the water absorbed with Olive leaf in an infusion, as it is manifested only after ingestion of the powder(6). Finally it has been proven that oleuropeoside is coronary-dilatory, anti-arrhythmic and spasmolytic(7). It would therefore be worth using Olive leaves in cases of: - Moderate hypertension, as well as when the following properties are indicated: mild diuretic and hypoglycemic.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Matiere Medicale', T3, P. 27, Masson Ed., Paris, 1971.
  2. Panizzi L., Scarfati M., Gazz. Chim. Ital., 1960, 90, 1449; 1965, 95, 1279
  3. Mazet M., Gas. Med. de France, 1.1 1938.
  4. Leclerc H., Revue de Phytotherapie, 1944, 48, 3.
  5. De Nunno et Capretti, Produits pharmaceutiques, 1951, 7, 733.
  6. Balensard J. et Delphant J., Revue de Phytotherapie, 1953, 17,
  7. Petrov V. et Manolov P., Arzneim Forsch., 1972, 22, 9, 1476.
  8. Jardou P., Th. Doct. Pharm., Strasbourg, 1938.

Orthosiphon
Orthosiphon staminus Benth. (Lamiaceae)
Part used: leaves

This medicinal herb has been used for many centuries in its country of origin, that is to say in Indonesia. It is appreciated for ailments of the bladder and kidney.

Orthosiphon began to interest researchers as early as the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, its diuretic properties and its cholagogue activity have been used in Europe. Some of its chemical components are well-known, even if they do not explain perfectly the therapeutic action of the plant. There are many potassium salts, saponosides, choline, betaine, triterpenic alcohols and flavonoids. It would be worth prescribing Orthosiphon in case of water retention, especially as a complementary treatment of obesity.

Bibliography

  1. Bezanger-Beququesne, Les plantes dans la therapeutique moderne, 1986, p. 304.
  2. Walter H. Lewis & Memory P.F. Elvin-Lewis, 1977, p316.

Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata L. (Passifloraceae)
Part used: stalks and leaves

A certain number of pharmaceutical specialities with a sedative action are based on the Passion Flower; its chemical compound has been well studied. It includes:

  • Indolic alkaloids: harman, harmine, harmol(1),(2)
  • Flavonoids: quercetol, haempferol...(1)
  • C. heterosides: vitexine, isotexine... -Maltol (4).

In fact, it seems impossible to attribute the sedative action of the Passion Flower to one or more of these components. This is another example illustrating the role of the synergy of all the ingredients in a whole plant. All these principles seem to work together towards its sedative action whose mechanism has been studied by pharmacologists. The Passion Flower has antispasmodic properties (rabbit intestine)(5); it diminishes the mobility of mice and rats(6).

The Passion Flower is reputed to help people to have a restful sleep without any 'narcotic' hangover. Naturally, it would be worth prescribing the Passion Flower in cases of: -Nervousness -Distress -Anxiety -Insomnia.

Bibliography

  1. Lutomski et Wrocinski T. Biul. Dis. Roslin Leczn, 1960, 6, 176.
  2. Bennati E. et Fedeli E., Boll. Chim. Farm. 1968, 107, 716.
  3. Lohdefink J., Dtsch Apoth. Ztg. 1976, 116, 557.
  4. Ayoagi N. et col., Chem. Pharma. Bull., 1974, 22, 1008.
  5. Paris R.R., Moyse H., in 'Matiere medicale' T.II, P. 457, Masson Ed., Paris, 1981.
  6. Paris R., Ann. Pharm. Franc. 1963, 21, 5, 389.

Red Poppy
A traditional remedy for hyperactive children.
Papaver rhoeas L. (Papaveraceae) Part used: Petals

In some parts of the world, Red Poppy is considered merely a weed. But in other areas, it has been used as a mild sedative for centuries. And in parts of Europe, it is even cultivated as a food. It has been shown to sooth irritable coughs and other respiratory problems. And it helps to calm over-active children, and has been used as a sedative, particular for the young and elderly.

Although the Red Poppy is considered to be a weed by harvesters, it has genuine medicinal properties that have been used for centuries. Its main chemical components include an isoquinoleic alcaloid,(called rhocadine), flavonoids and anthocyanosides. They explain the sedative action of the Red Poppy. It is especially recommended for children and old people. The Red Poppy is also known for its anti-tussive quality; it belongs to the famous mixture of the 'pectoral plants' which includes 7 medicinal herbs of which the activity is linked to the respiratory system.

    It would be worth using Red Poppy Arkocaps in cases of:

  • Insomnia, especially of children and old people.
  • Cough.

Bibliography

  1. David Hoffmann, the holistic herbal, 1984, P.216.
  2. Bezanger-Beauquesne, 'Plantes Medicinales des regions temperees',1980, P. 120.
  3. Resources Medicinales de la flore francaise, 1980, PP. 487-488.

Red Vine
Vitis vinifera L., var. tinctoria (Ampelidaceae)
Part used: leaves

The principal constituents isolated in the leaves of the Red Vine are of three types: -Vitamin C -Tannin(1). It is known that these substances, of a polyphenolic nature, have the capacity of fixing proteins. This permits them to be used in therapy as astringents for external application and as anti-diarrhoeics internally.

Anthocyanins, pigment which give the color red to fruit and leaves. These anthocyanins are responsible for the vitamin P action of the Red Vine. It is known that this vitamin P action does not correspond to a chemically defined vitamin, but represents a group of properties which provide vascular, capillary and venous protection(2),(3). A certain number of researchers have studied the mechanism of this action.For Hamond(4) the anthocyanins act on the cytoplasmic and lysosomial membranes of the cell,thus inhibiting the liberaion of enzymes which increase capillary permeability. Thus it would be worthwhile to use Red Vine principally for troubles of the venous circulatory system: -Varicose veins - Haemorrhoids -Capillary Fragility (rosacea)-Circulatory troubles associated with menopause and puberty. - Secondary use as an astringent in menorrhagia and in mild diarrhoea.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Traite de matiere medicale, T.2, P.334, Masson Ed., Paris, 1981.
  2. Bastide P., Bull. soc. Pharm. Marseille, 1968, 17, 209.
  3. Pourrat H., Plantes Med. Phytother., 1977, 11, 143.
  4. Harmand M.F., Blanquet P. et Masquelier J., Proc. 5th Hungarian
  5. Bioflavonoides Symposium, 1977, Matrafured, Hungary.

Rosemary
Rosemarinus officinalis (Labiatae)
Part used: flowering tops

This very traditional European medicinal herb is rich in essential oils (cincole, borneol and terpenic carbons), flavonoids, phenolic acids and diterpenic lacone.This variety of components gives it a diversity of therapeutic uses. Among them, we can mention migrainous and hypertensive headaches. So, Rosemary Arkocaps may be advised in association with feverfew Arkocaps.

But the best known use of Rosemary concerns the digestive sphere. Thanks to its many phenolic acids, Rosemary has been known for a long time, as choleretic and cholagogue. It is interesting to use its stimulant action to help liver function, the production of bile and proper digestion. Finally, Rosemary is also diuretic. To resume, Rosemary Arkocaps are available as a complementary herb for some forms of migraine and as a basic herb for hepatic infections, spasms and digestive troubles.

Bibliography

  1. Fitoterapia, 1984, n.4
  2. Al Biruniya. Rev. mar. Pharm., Tome 2, n.2, P. 79.
  3. Z.Lebensm. Unters Forsch, 1983, 176: 116-119.

Sage
The "vegetable estrogen"
Salvia officinalis L. (Labiatae)
Part used: Leaves

Sage was the "Sacred Herb" of the Greeks, who considered it a panacea, a cure for all ills. "Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto? (Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?) The corresponding English proverb states: "He that would live for aye, Must east Sage in May."

As might be expected, Sage has been recommended at various times as a cure for almost any problem conceivable. But certain uses of the plant have stood the test of time. A solution of sage (dissolved in water) is an effective cure for various mouth and throat conditions. Internally, it has been shown to be effective in reducing sweating and perspiration (caused by fever, etc). And because of its "estrogen-like" activity, it has been used to normalize menstrual problems, induce menstrual flow, dry up breast milk flow when time to wean, and alleviate other female disorders.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was noticed that the appearance of certain plants, either by their shape or color, resembled the human body, or a certain part of the body. In those days, there was a good measure of mysticism involved in the field of herbal medicine, and it was thought that this resemblance, or "signature" dictated the therapeutic use of the herb in question. This is the doctrine of "signatures." Probably the best known example of this is Ginseng. Because the root is shaped like a man's body, it was deemed useful in treating numerous "general" afflictions. Surprisingly, even though this sounds simplistic, it turns out that many of the conclusions drawn by these early herbalists have been shown to indeed result in effective remedies.

Sage was the sacred plant of the Greeks, who considered it to be a panacea. Modern chemists have defined its composition, and pharmacologists have confirmed many of the properties attributed to it by popular medicine. A table can be drawn up as follows (1): -An essential oil (1 to 2%) containing thujone, responsible for its anti-perspirant action (which has been studied by several researchers (2) and for its emmenagogic properties. Although Sage contains thujone, it has not been reported to be toxic.

Numerous polyphenois and flavonoids, most likely responsible for the choleretic (3), anti-spasmodic (4) and hormonal action. The hormonal action is of the oestrogenic type (someone has recently (5) described Sage as a typical 'Plant oestrogen').

Tannin, which give Sage - when used externally - astringent and healing properties (6). -A bitter principle: picrosalvin, to which Sage owes its anti-microbial action.

It would thus be worth prescribing Sage capsules in cases of:

  • Difficult periods and menopause
  • Nursing mothers
  • Feverish states
  • Difficult digestion

Bibliography

  1. Bezanger-Beauquesne L. et col., in 'Plantes medicinales des regions temperees', P. 338, Maloine Ed., Paris, 1980.
  2. Leclerc H., in 'Precis de phytotherapie', P. 90, Masson Ed., Paris
  3. Brieskorn C.H. et Biechle W., Arch. der Pharm., 1971, 304, 557.
  4. Debelmas A.M. et Rocha J. Plantes Med. et phytother., 1967, l, 23.
  5. Bourret J.C., 'Les nouveaux succes de la medecine par les plantes', P. 281. Hachette Ed., Paris, 1981.
  6. Murko D, Ramic S., Kekik M., Planta Medica, 1964, 25, 295.
  7. Dobrynin V.N. et col., Prir. Soedin, 1976, 5, 686.

Sarsaparilla
Smilax medica (Liliaceae)
Part used: roots

Used commonly as a flavoring component in major categories of nonalcoholic beverages, Sarsaparilla benefits from a long tradition of folk medicine. It has even been used to treat syphilis. Its effectiveness has not been substantiated in the treatment of this acute ailment. However,Sarsaparilla has been proven to have real properties in the case of gonorrhea and certain skin conditions.

Sarsaparilla contains both male and female hormones (testosterone, progesterone and cortim) which explain its various capacities. Among the other components the most interesting are the steroidal saponins, of which the principal one is sarsapogenin(1). These saponins are responsible for the pharmacological effects to which

Sarsaparilla owes its reputation as a "depurative", diuretic and sudorific drug. The mechanism of these diverse effects is still not fully understood, but it is believed(2) that these saponins favor the elimination of metabolic waste products.

Sarsaparilla capsules may be given to treat a wide range of disorders such as: Pre-menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome, Chronic Rheumatism Forms of Dermatosis.

Bibliography

  1. Devys M. et Col. Chem. Abstr., 1970, 72, 75627.
  2. Leung A.Y. in "Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients", P. 293, Joh Wiley & Sons Ed., Chichester, 1980.
  3. Lucas R., in "Nature's Medicines", P. 55, Wilshire Book Company Ed., Hollywood, 1977.

Kelp
Fucus vesiculosus L. (Facaceae)
Part used: thallus

Seaweed constitutes a real concentration of the marine environment. It is rich in trace-elements, vitamins and mineral salts. Its iodine content can reach 1% of its dry weight(1). This richness in iodine permits the use of Seaweed in treatment of hypothyroidism(2); the totality of the elements it contains can have a favorable effect in activating and stimulating certain endoctrine glands, osmotic exchanges and the elimination of waste materials(3).

Seaweed also has polysaccharides(4) which form mucilage in contact with water; this mucilage distends the stomach without being assimilated, thus inducing reduction in appetite and a slight laxative effect. For this reason it would be worth using Seaweed in the following cases:

  • General fatigue due to its stimulating action on the general metabolism.
  • In certain hormonal deficiencies, when an iodine supplement is necessary to treat obesity.
  • In case of a slimming diet, as a hunger-suppressant due to the mucilage which gives a feeling of fullness.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R., Moyse H., in 'Matiere medicale'T.l,P.350,Masson Ed., 1976.
  2. Bezanger-Beauquesne L. et col., in 'Plantes medicinales des regions temperees', P.13, Maloine Ed., 1980.
  3. Bezanger...'Pl.Med. et phyto.', 1982, 1, 73.
  4. Medcalf D.G. et Larsen B., Carbohyd, res. 1977, 59, 2, 531.

Senna
Cassia angustifolia Vahl. (Leguminosae)
Part used: foliols

We are concerned with the variety of Senna called 'Tinnevelly Senna' or 'Indiana Senna'. The laxative and purgative properties of Senna were discovered in the 9th century by the Arabs, who spread its use to Europe. Even though Senna pods (called follicules) are also active, the foliols (division of the compound leaf) are used in preference. Their chemisty has been studied extensively. Their action is due to free anthraquinones, that is to say anthraquinone glycosides called sennosides, of which several types have been identified: A, B, C, D(1).

The laxative action of Senna is well-known, numerous researchers having studied the action of the anthraquinone compounds of Senna, classified as 'peristaltic laxatives'(2). Its laxative action works at the level of the colon and rectum. Among these researchers, Fairbairn(3), Hardcastle and coll.(4), Lemmens(5), Kisa and coll.(6), Kobashi and coll.(7) can be quoted.

It is very likely that whole Senna powder, while having an effective action, is less irritant for the intestines than anthraquinones in isolation(8). Thus Senna capsules should be temporarily given in cases of:

  • Sluggish intestine
  • Constipation. However, in order to complete the stimulation of the laxative activity of Senna, it would be good to associate it with a mechanical action plant such as Ispaghula.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Matiere Medicale, T.2,P.358,Masson Ed., Paris, 1981.
  2. Tasman-Jones C., Drugs, 1973, 5, 220.
  3. Fiarbairn J.W., Pharm. Weekblad, 1965, 100, 1493.
  4. Hardcastle J.D. et Wilkins J.L., Gut, 1970, 11, 1038.
  5. Lemmens L., Pharm. Weekblad, 1976, 111, 113, Pharm. Weekblad, 1979, 1, 178.
  6. Kisa K. et col., Planta Medica, 1981, 42, 302.
  7. Kobashi K. et col., Planta Medica, 1980, 40, 3, 225.
  8. Nelemans F.A., Pharmacology, 1976, 14 (Suppl. 1) 73.

Siberian Ginseng
Nature's energy booster.
Eleutherococcus senticosus
Part used: Root.

Siberian Ginseng belongs to the same family as ginseng from Korea and China. It is a common plant in Siberia, and during the past few years it has been studied extensively in the Soviet Union. The results of this investigation by the Russians have been extraordinary, showing that Siberian Ginseng causes an increase in both physical and intellectual capacities. It has become the anti-fatigue supplement "par excellence" in Russia, and is given to cosmonauts, olympic athletes and workers doing heavy physical work.

The terms most often associated with Ginseng are "fatigue" and "stress." Exactly who benefits from an agent that counters these conditions? - anyone who has been "burning the candle from both ends" - the athlete seeking improved performance - the harried business executive - the student cramming for exams - the person who is always sick, always "getting over" a cold - anyone who "feels tired all the time"

The traditional term used to describe ginseng is adaptogen." An adaptogen is an agent that "produces a state of increased resistance of the body to stress, overcoming disease by building up our general vitality and strengthening our normal body functions." Even the critics have to admit that "...favorable modification by ginseng of the stress effects of temperature changes, diet, restraint, exercise, and the like have been recorded. Moreover,useful pharmacologic effects in such conditions as anemia, atherosclerosis, depression, diabetes, edema, hypertension, and ulcers have also been documented." (Tyler) One example of the beneficial effects of Siberian Ginseng was reported in the medical literature by German investigators (Bohn) in October 1987. They demonstrated its beneficial effect on the immune system by conducting a double-blind, placebo controlled study on 36 healthy volunteers. Their results showed "a drastic increase in the absolute number of immunocompetent cells" in the blood of those taking the ginseng. In another study, from Russia, it was shown that children with dysentery recovered more quickly when they were given Siberian Ginseng. (Veresch) Siberian Ginseng, therefor, can be considered useful in conditions of stress, infection, fatigue, healing, improved performance.

What exactly is "fatigue?" If you look in the index of medical text books, you probably won't even find it listed. But doctors hear the term all the time-->Fatigue, of course, is a very real symptom of numerous well recognized medical disorders, and a thorough medical evaluation of the patient complaining of this problem is an absolute necessity. Because conventional explanations are often not found, however, less conventional approaches are gaining acceptance (food allergy,vitamin deficiencies, etc). Herbal supplements can be extremely helpful. Perhaps no other material has as long and successful as history of helping this problem as does Siberian Ginseng, the adaptogen and general tonic herb. The herb Hawthorn has been used for cases of fatigue caused by stress or nervous tension (often in conjunction with Ginseng). Eschscholtzia, for adults, and Red Poppy, for children, are often used to help alleviate sleeping problems. Hemp Agrimony is helpful from fatigue resulting from illness, and Green Tea is commonly used to fight the fatigue of travel (jet lag).

The chemical compound of Siberian Ginseng is complex. Among the many active substances which have been isolated, the most important seem to be 6 glycosides called eleutherosides(1), but vitamins,amin-acids and other principles are also found. It is difficult to dissociate the different components in the overall action of the plant. It has a non-specific stimulant action on physical and intelectual capacities. It differs from that of the traditional stimulants (caffeine or amphetamine type) which produce a "lift" followed by a depression. Siberian Ginseng is the "anti-fatigue" and "anti-stress" drug par excellence. It was for this type of action that Brekhman(1) created the ideas of an 'adaptogen', whereas Fulder(2) preferred the name "Biological optimiser". Dansberg(3) has confirmed this stimulating action experimentally on rats. It is a known fact that the Russian athletes use this herb during international sport meetings in order to benefit from its stimulating properties. For that reason, it was interesting to prove scientificaly the effects of the powder of Siberian Ginseng on athletic performances. In 1984, the research staff of Arkopharma Laboratories studied(8) a group of sprinters and long distance runners. Half of them took Siberian Ginseng Arkocaps every day, the remainder took nothing and served as witness group. Both groups were equally fit. After one month, the conclusion was as follows: out of the two identically matched groups subjected to the same practice during one month, only the group treated with Siberian Ginseng Arkocaps powder improved its "maximum" strength in a significant way. The stimulating action is reinforced by a protective action against various outside stresses: hard work(2), chemical stress -toxic and adrenal glands(6). It has an anabolic action(6) and Lazareff has even found an anti-tumor(7). Thus Siberian Ginseng can be beneficially used in all cases of: Overwork Convalescence Preparation for Examinations or Physical effort (in sport(8) or intensive work).

Bibliography

  1. Brekhman I.I. et Dardymovi. V An. Rev. Pharmacol. 1969, 9, 419.
  2. Fulder S. New Scientific 1987, 1215, 576.
  3. Sandberg F. Planta Medica, 1973, 24, 4, 392.
  4. Yamomoto M., Kumagaya A., Yamamura Y. Arzneim Forsch. 1977, 27, 1404.
  5. Bekhman I.I. Izdatelstvo "Nauka", 1968, Leningrad 186.
  6. Meerson F. Izdatelstvo "Nauka", 1967, Moscou 317.
  7. Lazarev N.V. Vopr. Onkol. 1965, 1, 12, 48.
  8. Stephan H., Jousseline E., Questel R., et Lecomte A. Cinesiologie, 1984, 92-93, p. 97.

Nettles
Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae)
Part used: whole plant

Nettle leaves are an excellent source of chlorophyll, which is widely used as a deodoriser in toothpaste, lotions, chewing- gum...(1). Besides chlorophyll, Nettle is rich in mineral salts, particularly iron and silica. It also contains vitamin C. The rest of their chemistry has been little studied, but experience has shown that Nettle has astringent, hemostatic, diuretic, and anti-rheumatic properties. The astringent and hemostatic properties are used in external applications(2); internally, the diuretic, anti-rheumatic and anti-gout properties are utilized. Several researchers, indeed, have proven experimentally that Nettle increases the elimination of uric acid(3).

It would be worth using Nettle internally as a:

  • remineralizing agent (anemia, general fatigue, devitalized hair)
  • rheumatic ailments
  • gout
  • Diuretic
  • Urico-eliminator in case of cutaneous eruptions, nervous eczema.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Matiere medicale', T.2,P.95,Masson Ed., Paris, 1981.
  2. Aliev R.K. et Damirov I.A., Chem. Zentralbl., 1967, 4437.
  3. 3)Weiss R.F., in 'Lehbuch der Phytotherapie', P. 296, Hippokrates Verlag Ed., Stuttgart, 1980.

Tabashir
Bambousa arundinacea (Graminae)
Part used: sap

The siliciou resin found in the joints of the female bamboo is used. Tabashir is a traditional natural remedy in the south of India and in Bengale. The great interest of Tabashir in phytotherapy is due to its silica content (97%). Silica is one of the most important components of the connective tissue: cartilage, articulation tendon, and some elements of the arterial walls, skin, hair and nails. Besides silica, Tabashir contains iron, calcium, choline and betaine. Tabashir Arkocaps have an effective re-mineralizing action that is very useful in cases of arthrosis, painful joints, fragility of the cartilage (osteoporosis), hair or nails and in prevention of the consequences of atherosclerosis. In general, Tabashir stimulates the natural defense of the organism (during growth, pregnancy, repair of fractures, senescence). See the following chapter on silica and its value for chronic and acuted vertebral ailments.


Silica

Silica is a very common mineral element and is found everywhere on earth. For a long time, its role in human pathology was neglected. But recently, Western researchers have been studying it closely. Silica is one of the most important components of the connective tissue, and we are finally beginning to understand the consequences of its deficiency on health. Studies have been particularly concerned with the role of silica in rheumatic diseases (arthrosis) and arterial illness (atherosclerosis).

Silica is necessary for the bones to fix calcium and improves the texture of collagen and, therefore, the suppleness of the body tissue. It has been established that in the case of demineralization of the bones, silica loss comes before calcium loss. Moreover, since silica is an element of structure, tissue depends on it for its elasticity. As soon as the amount of silica in the body tissue decreases, the calcium level goes up and elasticity is reduced. Also, silica accelerates the consolidation of fractures, probably due to the role it plays in fixing calcium.

A 25 year study in Finland has demonstrated that a deficiency in silica could increase the risk of coronary problems. As a matter of fact, the elasticity of the arterial walls is essential to absorb the variations in blood pressure. A supplement of silica is often necessary to restore a normal tonicity to the arteries. Silica is primarly provided by water, numerous vegetables and fruit. It is concentrated in skin peelings and in the integuments of cereals. But, as water may be deficient in silica, especially in chalky areas, and as modern nutrition, based more and more on refined food, no longer fulfills nutritional needs, there is a deficiency in silica.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was noticed that certain plants, either by their shape or their color, brought to mind a detail of the human body or a disease. By virtue of the quasi-occult properties which were given to vegetable herbs at that time, it was thought that this signature defined the therapeutic action of the herb in question. This is what one calls the doctrine of signatures. Even if there is obviously a lack of scientific sense in this doctrine, we may be surprised by the coincidence in the case of Tabashir, bamboo resin. Indeed, doesn't bamboo look like a spine? Its knots are like vertebras and its essential quality is to straighten itself after being bent. The famous Dr. Hauschka sets forth this doctrine to explain his interest in bamboo as he found its qualities effective against degenerative processes in the cartilages and conjunctive tissue. Whatever it may be, every prescriber, and especially those who work on spinal problems, can find in Tabashir Arkocaps an excellent source of aid.

Bibliography

  1. Chopra's "I.D. of I.", PP. 446, 568.
  2. New Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1980, P. 502.

Green Tea
Camellia Thea (Ternstreimiaceae)
Part used: buds and the first two leaves of the branch

Green Tea is tea in its natural state that has not undergone fermentation. Generally, it is the fermentaion process that releases the aroma and makes tea a pleasant drink. Only Green Tea (unfermented tea) has medicinal properties.

The main components of this tea are natural xanthines such as caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and tanni. The association of tannin with caffeine allows the caffeine to be released slowly into the blood. It is absorbed in small quantities and therefore does not cause insomnia. Green Tea is also diuretic. It fights against water retention. The slimming activity of this tea is probably due to another property: the caffeine of Green Tea helps in the secretion of adrenalin and keeps it at a high level. It is known that adrenalin is the hormone that frees fatty acids of the adipose tissues. This slimming activity has been proven in a double blind against placebo study conducted by Arkopharma Laboratories: 60 overweight women were divided into two equal groups. One took Green Tea Arkocaps and the other a placebo. Both groups followed a 1,800 calorie diet. This 30 day-long study concluded that the group who tested the Green Tea Arkocaps, had a significant weight loss and a reduction of waist measurement. Moreover, a significant decrease of the rate of blood triglycerides proved to be particularly active in the mobilization of fats. The clinical and biological tolerance levels were perfect, no side effects or sleep loss was reported.

Bibliography

  1. Planta Medica, Journal of Medicinal Plant Research, 1981, vol. 42, pp. 75-78. Dr. Rombi, 'Maigrir de plaisir', 1986, p. 21.
  2. Leitschrift fur Phytotherapie N.2, 1985.
  3. Revue de l'Association Mondiale de Phytotherapie, N.1, juin 1985.

Wall Germander
The "indigestion" herb.
Teucrium chamaedrys L. (Labiatae)
Part used: Flowering plant.

The ancient herbalists quickly recognized the digestive properties of this plant. It is now used in certain vermouths and liqueurs. Germander is classified as a bitter tonic and anti-spasmodic. As a bitter tonic, it stimulates the digestive functions. Its healing functions have been confirmed in the laboratory through recent animal studies. One report showed it to possess remarkable ulcer- healing qualities. In Europe, Germander has been used with success as part of various weight reducing regimens, helping to stimulate the reduction of fatty deposits and cellulitis. In one book, it is referred to as the "fat-eater herb." Wall Germander can thus be used effectively for digestive disorders, ulcers and weight loss.

There are many Germanders, but the medicinal plant is the "chamaedrys". The latin word means "little oak" because of its dentate leaves which recall those of the oak. Its chemical compound has been thoroughly studied. Germander contains: -an important proportion of tannin(1), -a bitter principle identified as marubiin(2), -abundant flavonoids(3), -phenol acids, -a little essential oil, -diterpenic principles called teuchrine and teuchamaedrine(5).

Modern research has shown that Germander possesses some interesting pharmacological properties: -Germander is a bitter tonic(1), -it has an anti-spasmodic action(6)(7). These properties make Germander an interesting herb to stimulate the digestive functions and the metabolism of the tissues, -it is a complement in slimming diets thanks to its tannin. The tannin allows a decrease in fatty deposits in obesity and cellulitis. The major indications for use of Wall Germander will thus be: Digestive Troubles, in particular dyspepsia and stomach gas. In the Treatment of Obesity as a back-up treatment.

Bibliography

  1. Bezanger-Beauquesne L. et col. in "Plantes medicinales des Regions Temperees", p. 343, Maloine Ed. Paris, 1980.
  2. Balensard J. et Rizzo C.C.R. soc. Biol., 1934, 116, 1041.
  3. Aliev R.K. et Damirov I.A. Pharmazie, 1966, 21, 458.
  4. Litvinenko V.I. et col. Planta Medica 1970, 18, 243.
  5. Papanov. G.Y. et Malakov P.Y., Z. Naturforsch., 1980, 35, b, 764.
  6. Neumann K., Planta Medica 1965, 13, 331.
  7. Debat J. et col. Brevet Belge n.859721 du 1.2.78.

White Birch
Betula alba (Betulaceae)
Part used: leaves

The leaves of the White Birch have always been known for their diuretic and choleretic properties(1). In the old days, writers attributed the diuretic effect of White Birch to betulin(2) which is a terpenic alcohol. Today, it is a known fact(3)(4) that White Birch owes its properties to flavonoids of which the most important is hyperoside (or quercetol 3-galactoside). These active principles are mainly found in old or yellowing leaves(5). This effective diuretic principle has the reputation of eliminating oedema of heart and kidneys, of decreasing the quantity of albumine without causing any irritation of the urinary tract. White Birch is particularly recommended to patients who suffer from gout. Besides, this popular medicinal herb is a component of a number of pharmaceutical specialities in Western Europe(5). Therefore, White Birch is useful in cases of: -Oedema -Retention of metabolites -Cellulitis -Urinary colic -Gout -Arthritis.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Matiere Medicale', T.2,P.92,Masson Ed., Paris, 1981.
  2. Leclerc H., Rev. Phytotherap., 1938, 2, 65.
  3. Ellianowska A. et Kaczmarek F., Herba pol., 1966, 11, 47.
  4. Tissut M. et Ravanel P., Phytochemistry, 1980, 19, 2077.
  5. Bezanger-Beauquesne L. et col., in 'Plantes medicinales des regions temperees', P.71, Maloine Ed., Paris, 1980.

Willow
Salix alba L. (Salicaceae)
Part used: bark

The chemical composition of Willow is well-known. The bark of this tree contains principally what has become a famous active ingredient, salicoside, the basis of salicylic acid (aspirin), before it was synthesized. Among other ingredients, we can mention oxalates and tannin.

But this salicoside is turned into salicylic acid by oxydizing in the organism. This explains the effectiveness of Willow bark in treating rheumatic pain. Moreover, salicylic acid has a sedative effect on the thermoregulation system and also causes a dilation of blood vessels. Consequently, the bark of Willow is often used in case of fever.

Bibliography

  1. Dr. E. Schneider, 'Des plantes pour votre sante', 1980, 187.
  2. J.Chromatog, 25(1966), 362-372
  3. Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 8, 35-37 (1937).

Yarrow
Achillea millefolium L. (Compositae)
Part used: flower heads

Yarrow is a plant with a good reputation in popular medicine. It is for this reason that its composition has been relatively well studied; it is complex and includes(1): An essential oil containing azulene, as found in Camomile, which has an anti-inflammatory action -Polyphenols: tannin, caffeic acid, flavones...-Sesquiterpene lactones -Nitrogenous compounds of the betaine group.

All these compounds are responsible for the different pharmacological actions of Yarrow which are: -An anti-inflammatory action due to its essential oil(2)(3). -A spasmolytic and choleretic action(4) due to its flavonoids. -A tonic and lightly antipyretic action(5). Consequently, Yarrow is useful in the treatment of: -Painful or insufficient periods -Digestive difficulties -Inflammation of the venous system (varicose veins, haemorrhoids) - Light fever and thrombotic conditions with hypertension.

Bibliography

  1. Paris R.R. et Moyse H., in 'Matiere medicale', T.3,P.420,Masson Ed., Paris, 1971.
  2. Golden A.S. et Mueller E.C., J. Pharm. Sci, 1969, 58, 938.
  3. Verzar-Petri G. et Banh-Nhu C., Sci Pharm., 1977, 45, 25.
  4. Bezanger-Beauquesnes L. et col., in 'Plantes medicinales des regions temperees', P.371, Maloine Ed., Paris, 1980.
  5. Kudrzicka F.W. et Glowniak, Diss. Pharm. Pharma, 1966, 18, 449 (Chem. abstr., 1967, 67, 62837v).

Fatty Acids

First, let us give fat its correct name: lipid. Now, let us examine the chemical composition of lipids. Lipids are composed of three fatty acids joined to a glycerol spine. These fatty acids are not similar, insofar as each of them can have a various number of carbon atoms. You can imagine the number of possible combinations with three different fatty acids and their respective position on the molecule. This gives rise to the vast range of fats and oils that are in existence. Fatty acids are functionally the most important part of lipids. They are responsible for the role lipids play in the organism. Fatty acids consist of a number of carbon atoms, each one joined by several hydrogen atoms. Fat is "saturated" when carbon atoms have no double bond joining them together. This is generally the case in animal fat. When the molecule of fatty acid has one or more double bonds between two carbon atoms, fat is "unsaturated" or "polyunsaturated". Therefore, it is necessary to analyze this chemical compound molecularly because the effect fat has on the body depends on its structure.

At this stage, we can notice a difference in the physiognomy of a saturated and a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Saturated fatty acids are flat; unsaturated fatty acids are loop-shaped since they have double bonds binding two carbon atoms. We encounter the latter shape in the physiognomy of prostaglandins. It is the second bond between two carbon atoms which allows other atoms to attach themselves to them in order to produce prostaglandins whose role will be described later. Now, we can understand why plyunsaturated fatty acid is called the "precursor of prostaglandins".

This is a gimmick to identify saturated and poly)unsaturated fats: we must remember that the more double bonds there are, the lower the melting point is. If fat is solid at room temperature, it is saturated. If it is in liquid form, it is unsaturated or polyunsaturated. We must point out that two fatty acids are as important in the human diet as vitamins: linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid. The organism is unable to synthesize them. Therefore, they must be provided by food. They are common constituents of plant lipids and of some fish oils. We can say, in order to simplify, that lipids of animal origin are saturated. But there is one exception, which is extremely interesting: fish oils consist of both polyunsaturated and unsaturated fatty acids. We will se why they are so interesting later.

It is not necessary to report in detail the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol. Just let us remember that LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins) tends to increase the risks of atherosclerosis, as it transports cholesterol to the body tissues. However, HDL cholesterol (High Density Lipoproteins) tends to diminish them, as it transprts cholesterol away from the tissues. Many studies have demonstrated that polyunsaturated fatty acids have an action in lowering the cholesterol level. Even if this action has not yet been clearly explained, it is presumed to be due to the combination of three different processes: decreasing the absorption of cholesterol, affecting the distribution and metabolism of cholesterol and increasing the excretion of cholesterol. Studies have shown that saturated fats play an energetic role. They are either "burned" in order to give off heat and energy or are "stored". When there is too much saturated fat in the diet, this excessive storage results in atherosclerosis, thrombosis, gall-stones or obesity. Polyunsaturated fats play a very different and even more healthy role. They are called essential fatty acids. They take part in structuring the organism, as they act in the building of certain essential molecules, such as prostaglandins or lecithin. They make up the membrane of all cells. Moreover, they are the basis of lipoproteins which are the vehicle carrying cholesterol in the blood. In this way, cholesterol cannot be deposited on the arterial walls.

Consequently, it is recommended to have essential fatty acids as a dietary supplement. It is important to note that this supplement must be made with natural products. The modern manufacturing process of some products. The modern manufacturing process of some products reputed to be "healthy" (like margarines, for instance, that need hydrogenation), transform the molecules in such a way that they loose their properties and, are no longer recognized by the organism. As they are not metabolized, they are stored and cause damage.


Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil is extracted from the seeds of this plant (Oenothera biennis Lamarkiana) by simple pressure without the use of heat, solvents, etc. This oil gives the body essential Omega-6 fatty acids: linoleic and gamma-linolenic.

Premenstrual syndrome disrupts the life of many women. It is characteized by headaches or migraines, painful tension in the breasts, bowel problems, irritability and anxiety. These troubles have been recently attributed to a deficiency of some fatty acids: gamma-linolenic and linoleic acids which are precursors of type 1-prostaglandins. The vegetable oil used in food and margaines could normally give linoleic acid. But the technological manufacturing process and cooking modify it in such a way that the organism is unable to produce type 1-prostaglandin with it. In order to avoid premenstrual syndrome troubles, it is obviously important to take some natural elements necessary to produce these prostaglandins: linoleic and gamma-linolenic acids.

Primrose Oil is an ideal nutritional supplement, because it give 72% of linoleic acid and 10% of gamma-linolenic acid. Moreover, these fatty acids are natural. This oil is particularly effective in treating the following disorders: -premenstrual and hormonal troubles, -circulatory troubles: varicose veins, hemorrhoids.


Borage Seed Oil

Borage Oil is extracted from the seeds of borage (Borago officinalis) by first cold pressing. Borage Oil gives the body two essential Omega-6 fatty acids: gamma- linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Borage Oil is the richest natural source of gamma-linolenic acid. Primrose oil also contains this acid. Gamma-linolenic acid is very useful as a direct precursor of type 1-prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are essential for a good activity of the skin cells. These functions concern, not only skin tissues, but also the nervous tissue, the circulatory system and the reproductive organs. We know that the organism is able to transform linoleic acid into gamma-linolenic acid. But the enzyme responsible for this action is often subjected to the influence of an unbalanced diet or weakened by old age. This is why it is recommended to take borage oil for the necessary gamma-linolenic acid which the body needs.

A supplement of borage oil is useful in cases of: -skin troubles (premature wrinkles, lack of elasticity) -to fight against aging of tissues -nervous troubles (stress, anxiety). Borage Oil can be applied externally by piercing the capsule with a needle, then spreading on the face and other parts of the skin that need to be treated (wrinkles, eczema, dry areas, stretch marks, etc.).


Castor Oil

Castor Oil is obtained from the husked seed of Ricinus communis. Castor Oil has been traditionally used for several generations, in order to alleviate constipation. Its action is immediate. It is also used externally to tone down skin freckles. In this way, one only has to pierce the capsule with a needle and to apply the oil to the skin with light, gentle massages.


Olive Oil

Olive Oil is extracted from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). It contains 70 to 85% unsaturated oleic acid and 9 to 14% unsaturated linoleic acid. In addition to its nutritional value (more than 85% unsaturated fatty acids), olive oil is commonly used in order to facilitate elimination of bile, digetion or to relieve the liver. When it is taken in the morning on an empty stomach, olive oil causes the gall bladder to contract, which facilitates the elimination of bile. Olive oil is also used in case of moderate arterial hypertension.


Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil possesses very long carbon chairs which cannot be assimilated by the organism. Mineral Oil is calorie free and is traditionally used in treating disorders of the intestinal transit such as constipation. It coats the walls of the bowels, makes the transit faster and decreases the assimilation of food. Consequently, Mineral oil is effectively used in weight loss diet.


Salmon Oil

Salmon Oil is obtained from salmon caught out at sea during the cold season. In a natural way, Salmon Oil brings essential Omega-3 fatty acids to the body: eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA). EPA and DHA

It has been observed that the Eskimos of Greenland do not suffer from cardio-vascular troubles. Recently, research has proven that certain fatty acids in fish oil - fish is the favorite food of Eskimos - increase the protection of the organism against cardiac troubles and improve the glandular, nervous and enzymatic functions. These Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. EPA allows the production of type 3-prostaglandins which have an action on the vicosity of blood, the arteries, cholesteol and triglycerides. DHA is an essential constituent of the cells' membranes, especially in the brain and retina. The organism is not able to produce enough type 3-prostaglandins for its needs because of a possible excess of saturated fats in the diet or due to old age. Prostaglandins are very important for our well-being. It is essential to avoid the physiological disorders that can result from a deficiency in prostaglandins. Our body must be able to provide their direct precursor: EPA.

Salmon Oil supplies 12% of untreated EPA. The value of EPA and DHA is proven at four different levels: -heart (protection against excess cholesterol, atherosclerosis, cardiac attack, angina pectoris). -blood circulation (varicose veins, sensation of heaviness in the legs, hemorrhoids). -aging (to fight cellular aging). -troubles due to unbalanced diet (obesity, inflammatory cases, rheumatism, cellulitis).


Herbs and Smoking

Certain herbs have been used throughout history to alleviate coughs, treat asthma, and relieve the symptoms of bronchial infections of many types. One such herb, Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara), is very popular for this purpose. In fact, a replica of the coltsfoot flower used to be placed above the doorway of Pharmacies in Paris, as an emblem of effective medicine. Coltsfoot combines an expectorant action with a soothing, healing quality thought to be due to its high mucilage content. What is interesting about coltsfoot, is that one of the ways it was used was to smoke it as tobacco. The smoke from the herb has been shown to be medically beneficial. Interestingly enough, the healing nature of coltsfoot smoke has shown benefit in a related, but perhaps unexpected area--as a tobacco substitute for those who want to stop smoking! Cigarettes made with Coltsfoot do not contain nicotine, but resemble regular cigarettes in most other ways. Thus, a person can smoke a herbal Coltsfoot cigarette and derive all of the same sensations of smoking a tobacco cigarette, except for the nicotine. This is very helpful, because most physicians feel that the smoking habit is composed of two factors: (1) the nicotine addiction (2) the mental habit, or "feel" of smoking . Being able to continue to enjoy the habit of handling, lighting, puffing, etc., the cigarette while breaking the nicotine addiction greatly increases the smokers ability to deal with the problem. Studies have shown that the gradual replacement of regular cigarettes with non-tobacco herbal cigarettes is an effective aid in tobacco detoxification. A study in France compared three groups of smokers. One group received only acupuncture and counselling. The second group received the same, but also received lobeline. The third group used herbal Coltsfoot cigarettes instead of the lobeline. After one month, the success rate on the third group (Coltsfoot cigarettes) was twice as good as the other two groups.

**Note, since these was written the cigarettes have been reformulated, and no longer contain Coltsfoot.

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