Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults.

April 20, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Ashwagandha is a very useful herb.  The following information shows its possible use for improved physical endurance and to help with strength.

Several medicinal plants have been described to be beneficial for cardiac ailments in Ayurveda like Ashwagandha and Arjuna. Ashwagandha-categorised as Rasayanas, and described to promote health and longevity and Arjuna primarily for heart ailments. coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia, anginal pain and can be considered as a useful drug for coronary artery disease, hypertension and ischemic cardiomyopathy.

OBJECTIVE:

There are no scientific clinical studies showing effect of both these drugs on exercise performance after regular administration when given as supplements The present study was therefore designed and performed to assess the effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) individually and as a combination on maximum velocity, average absolute and relative Power, balance, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and blood pressure in humans.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Forty normal healthy. Subjects (either sex, mean age 20.6 ± 2.5yrs and mean Body Mass Index 21.9 ± 2.2) were recruited after written informed consent was obtained. Institutional Ethics Committee permission was also obtained. Thirty participants were assigned to experimental group of which 10 received standardized root extracts of Withania somnifera, 10 received standardized bark extract of Terminalia arjuna and the rest of the 10 received standardized root extract of Withania somnifera in addition to bark extract of Terminalia arjuna both. Both the drugs were given in the form of capsules (dosage 500mg/day for both the drugs). Ten participants received placebo (capsules filled with flour). All the subjects continued the regimen for 8 weeks. All variables were assessed before and after the course of drug administration

OBSERVATIONS:

Our study showed that Withania somnifera increased velocity, power and VO2 max whereas Terminalia arjuna increased VO2 max and lowered resting systolic blood pressure. When given in combination, the improvement was seen in all parameters except balance and diastolic blood pressure.

CONCLUSION:

Withania somnifera may therefore be useful for generalized weakness and to improve speed and lower limb muscular strength and neuro-muscular co-ordination. Terminalia arjuna may prove useful to improve cardio-vascular endurance and lowering systolic blood pressure. Both drugs appear to be safe for young adults when given for mentioned dosage and duration.

Anti-acne activities of pulsaquinone, hydropulsaquinone, and structurally related 1, 4-quinone derivatives.

April 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Pulsatilla is a beautiful flower with powerful medicine.  The following shows its antimicrobial uses in the treatment of acne.

Quinone type compound, pulsaquinone 1, isolated from the aqueous ethanol extract of the roots of Pulsatilla koreana exhibited antimicrobial activities against an anaerobic non-spore-forming gram-positive bacillus, Propionibacterium acnes, which is related with the pathogenesis of the inflamed lesions in a common skin disease, acne vulgaris. Compound 1 was unstable on standing and thus converted to more stable compound 2, namely hydropulsaquinone by hydrogenation, whose activity was comparable to mother compound 1 (MIC for 1 and 2 against P. acnes: 2.0 and 4.0 microg/mL, respectively). Other structurally-related quinone derivatives (3-13) were also tested for structure-activity relationship against anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, and fungi. The antimicrobial activity was fairly good when the quinone moiety was fused with a nonpolar 6- or 7-membered ring on the right side whether or not conjugated (1,4-naphtoquinone derivatives 3-5), while simple quinone compounds 6-9 showed poor activity. It seems that the methoxy groups at the left side of the quinone function deliver no considerable antimicrobial effect.

The Antioxidant Activity and Thermal Stability of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) Infusion.

April 4, 2011 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Lemon Verbena is not only an herb with a delecious flavor but as the article below states, it is used for its antioxidant consitutents.

Abstract Because of its good sensorial attributes, lemon verbena is used as a primary ingredient in infusions and nonalcoholic drinks. The present study was designed to assess the antioxidant activity (AA) of lemon verbena infusion (LVI) as well as the thermal stability of its AA and the content of polyphenolic compounds. The values reflecting the AA of LVI, including AA index, fast scavenging rate against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, and hydroxyl radical scavenging, are higher than those of many herbal infusions and antioxidant drinks estimated from reported data. In addition, the slope lag time and specific oxyradical antioxidant capacity values of LVI are comparable to those of a commercial antioxidant drink based on green tea. Hence, LVI is a source of bifunctional antioxidants, and thus in vivo studies of the antioxidant capacity of LVI would be useful to evaluate its potential as an ingredient in antioxidant drinks.