Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.

November 5, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science, Top Stories

The following shows that Elderberry would be an excellent choice to use to strengthen the immune system in preparation for the coming cold and flu season.

A ionization technique in mass spectrometry called Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART TOF-MS) coupled with a Direct Binding Assay was used to identify and characterize anti-viral components of an elderberry fruit (Sambucus nigra L.) extract without either derivatization or separation by standard chromatographic techniques. The elderberry extract inhibited Human Influenza A (H1N1) infection in vitro with an IC(50) value of 252+/-34 microg/mL. The Direct Binding Assay established that flavonoids from the elderberry extract bind to H1N1 virions and, when bound, block the ability of the viruses to infect host cells. Two compounds were identified, 5,7,3′,4′-tetra-O-methylquercetin (1) and 5,7-dihydroxy-4-oxo-2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl)chroman-3-yl-3,4,5-trihydroxycyclohexanecarboxylate (2), as H1N1-bound chemical species. Compound 1 and dihydromyricetin (3), the corresponding 3-hydroxyflavonone of 2, were synthesized and shown to inhibit H1N1 infection in vitro by binding to H1N1 virions, blocking host cell entry and/or recognition. Compound 1 gave an IC(50) of 0.13 microg/mL (0.36 microM) for H1N1 infection inhibition, while dihydromyricetin (3) achieved an IC(50) of 2.8 microg/mL (8.7 microM). The H1N1 inhibition activities of the elderberry flavonoids compare favorably to the known anti-influenza activities of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu; 0.32 microM) and Amantadine (27 microM).

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

October 26, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The following shows the possible use of Pulsatilla in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

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.

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Borage oil in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

October 13, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

Borage oil has shown promise in the treatment of some topical skin conditions.

Nutritional supplementation with omega-6 essential fatty acids (omega-6 EFAs) is of potential interest in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. EFAs play a vital role in skin structure and physiology. EFA deficiency replicates the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and patients with atopic dermatitis have been reported to have imbalances in EFA levels. Although direct proof is lacking, it has been hypothesized that patients with atopic dermatitis have impaired activity of the delta-6 desaturase enzyme, affecting metabolism of linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). However, to date, studies of EFA supplementation in atopic dermatitis, most commonly using evening primrose oil, have produced conflicting results. Borage oil is of interest because it contains two to three times more GLA than evening primrose oil. This review identified 12 clinical trials of oral or topical borage oil for treatment of atopic dermatitis and one preventive trial. All studies were controlled and most were randomized and double-blind, but many were small and had other methodological limitations. The results of studies of borage oil for the treatment of atopic dermatitis were highly variable, with the effect reported to be significant in five studies, insignificant in five studies, and mixed in two studies. Borage oil given to at-risk neonates did not prevent development of atopic dermatitis. However, the majority of studies showed at least a small degree of efficacy or were not able to exclude the possibility that the oil produces a small benefit. Overall, the data suggest that nutritional supplementation with borage oil is unlikely to have a major clinical effect but may be useful in some individual patients with less severe atopic dermatitis who are seeking an alternative treatment. Which patients are likely to respond cannot yet be identified. Borage oil is well tolerated in the short term but no long-term tolerability data are available.

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Antioxidant and antifungal activity of Verbena officinalis L. leaves.

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following provides evidence that Verbena officinalis would be an excellent herb to use for skin conditions.

The scavenging activity against DPPH (1,1-diphenil-2-picrylhydrazyl) radical and the antifungal effect against chloroform, ethyl acetate and 50% methanolic extracts of Verbena officinalis leaves were investigated. The activity of different fractions of 50% methanolic extract and some isolated compounds were also investigated. The results suggest that 50% methanolic extract and caffeoyl derivatives could potentially be considered as excellent and readily available sources of natural antifungal and antioxidant compounds.

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Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses.

September 6, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following article shows the importance of lemon balm in the treatment of the herpes simplex virus, (HSV).

Extracts and essential oils of medicinal plants are increasingly of interest as novel drugs of antimicrobial and antiviral agents, since herpes simplex virus (HSV) might develop resistance to commonly used antiviral agents. Melissa officinalis essential oil was phytochemically examined by GC-MS analysis, its main constituents were identified as monoterpenaldehydes citral a, citral b and citronellal. The antiviral effect of lemon balm oil, the essential oil of Melissa officinalis, on herpes simplex virus was examined. The inhibitory activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was tested in vitro on monkey kidney cells using a plaque reduction assay. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of balm oil for herpes simplex virus plaque formation was determined at high dilutions of 0.0004% and 0.00008% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. At noncytotoxic concentrations of the oil,plaque formation was significantly reduced by 98.8% for HSV-1 and 97.2% for HSV-2, higher concentrations of lemon balm oil abolished viral infectivity nearly completely. In order to determine the mode of antiviral action of this essential oil, time-on-addition assays were performed. Both herpesviruses were significantly inhibited by pretreatment with balm oil prior to infection of cells. These results indicate that Melissa oil affected the virus before adsorption, but not after penetration into the host cell, thus lemon balm oil is capable of exerting a direct antiviral effect on herpesviruses. Considering the lipophilic nature of lemon balm essential oil, which enables it to penetrate the skin, and a high selectivity index, Melissa officinalis oil might be suitable for topical treatment of herpetic infections.

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Medicinal properties of neem leaves: a review.

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following review gives information on the neem plant.  Neem has a wide variety of medicinal usages as the article points out.

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, has attracted worldwide prominence in recent years, owing to its wide range of medicinal properties. Neem has been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. Neem elaborates a vast array of biologically active compounds that are chemically diverse and structurally complex. More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. All parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders. The medicinal utilities have been described especially for neem leaf. Neem leaf and its constituents have been demonstrated to exhibit immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. This review summarises the wide range of pharmacological activities of neem leaf.

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nvestigation of the tuber constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.).

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The information below gives us information on the currently popular herb, Lepidium meyennii, Maca.

Lepidium meyenii, known in South America as maca, has received attention worldwide as a powerful energizer that improves physical and mental conditions and increases fertility. Because of these reports, we investigated the secondary metabolites of the tuber of maca. The methanol extract of the tuber of maca contained, in addition to free sugars and amino acids, the following: uridine, malic acid and its benzoyl derivative, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and m-methoxyglucotropaeolin. Because glucosinolates and their derived products have received increasing attention due to their biological activities, the occurrence of glucosinolate degradation products in the hexane extract was also investigated, and benzylisothiocyanate and its m-methoxy derivative were isolated. The two glucosinolates were semiquantified by HPLC, and benzylisothiocyanate was semiquantified by GC/MS. The methanol extract of maca tuber also contained (1R,3S)-1-methyltetrahydro-beta-carboline-3-carboxylic acid, a molecule which is reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system.

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Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.

August 6, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The following information clearly states the effectiveness of Holy Basil in reducing the extent of lipid and protein oxidation and up-regulating antioxidant defenses.

The present study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of ethanolic Ocimum sanctum leaf extract against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes. Four different concentrations of ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract (100, 200, 300, and 400 mg/kg of body weight) were administered to Wistar rats by intragastric intubation for five consecutive days followed by intraperitoneal injection of DMBA (35 mg/kg of body weight) 90 minutes after the final dose of the extract. Administration of DMBA increased bone marrow micronuclei, phase I enzymes, lipid peroxidation, and protein carbonyl formation. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the activities of phase II detoxification enzymes and antioxidants in the liver, erythrocytes, and bone marrow. Pretreatment with ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract at a concentration of 300 mg/kg of body weight significantly reduced micronuclei formation and phase I enzymes as well as lipid and protein oxidation with enhanced antioxidant and phase II enzyme activities. The results of the present study suggest that ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract inhibits DMBA-induced genotoxicity and oxidative stress by modulating xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes, reducing the extent of lipid and protein oxidation and up-regulating antioxidant defenses.

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Flaxseed oil reduces the growth of human breast tumors (MCF-7) at high levels of circulating estrogen.

July 16, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Flax seed should be considered as a healthy addition to ones diet.  The following article shows its possible benefits in the prevention of breast cancer.

Flaxseed (FS) has been shown to attenuate mammary tumorigenesis, possibly due to its high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)-rich oil (FSO) content. This study determined the effect of FSO on the growth of estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumors (MCF-7) in ovariectomized athymic mice at high premenopausal-like estrogen (E2) levels. Mice with established MCF-7 tumors were fed basal diet (control) or basal diet supplemented with FSO (40 g/kg) for 8 wks. Compared with control, FSO reduced tumor size (33%, p<0.05) and tumor cell proliferation (38%, p<0.05) and increased apoptosis (110%, p<0.001). FSO also reduced human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (79%, p<0.05) and epidermal growth factor receptor (57%, p=0.057) expression, which then may have led to a reduction in Akt (54%, p<0.05) and phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) to phosphorylated MAPK (pMAPK, 28%, p<0.05). Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, MAPK and phosphorylated Akt were not affected. FSO increased (p<0.001) serum ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and, in vitro, ALA reduced MCF-7 cell proliferation (33%, p<0.001). Thus, FSO regressed estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumorigenesis at high E2 levels via downregulation of the growth factor mediated pathway, likely through its ALA content, and may explain the anti-tumorigenicity of FS.

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Inhibitory effects of rosemary extracts, carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid on the growth of various human cancer cell lines.

July 7, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Rosaemary is a very useful herb for many conditions.  The following article shows us the importance of this herb in the prevention of cancer.

The leaves of Rosmarinus officinalis harvested from three different locations of Turkey were extracted by both methanolic and supercritical CO(2) extraction. Subsequently, six extracts and the active compounds, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid were applied to various human cancer cell lines including NCI-H82 (human, small cell lung, carcinoma), DU-145 (human, prostate, carcinoma), Hep-3B (human, black, liver, carcinoma, hepatocellular), K-562 (human chronic myeloid leukemia), MCF-7 (human, breast, adenocarcinoma), PC-3 (human, prostate, adenocarcinoma) and MDA-MB-231 (human, breast, adenocarcinoma) by MTT assay. Supercritical CO(2) extracts had superior antiproliferative effect compared to the soxhlet extracts. Although the extracts exhibited various cytotoxic effects against different cell lines, comparatively low IC(50) values ranging between 12.50 and 47.55 microg/ml were attained against K-562, being the most sensitive cell line. Moreover, carnosic acid caused the lowest cell viability with values ranging from 13 to 30 % at a concentration of 19 muM after 48 h of treatments, resulting in superior antiproliferative effect. Rosemary extract is a potential candidate to be included in the anti-cancer diet with pre-determined doses avoiding toxicity.

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